Israel backers celebrate death of Islamic State hostage Kayla Mueller

Kayla Jean Mueller

International Solidarity Movement

Hardline supporters of Israel are expressing joy over the death of 26-year-old humanitarian aid worker and sometime Palestine solidarity activist Kayla Mueller, who was killed while in captivity of Islamic State last week.

Islamic State (also variously abbreviated as IS, ISIS or ISIL) claimed that Mueller died in a Jordanian airstrike in Syria coordinated with the United States.

Although it has yet to verify the circumstances, the US government on Tuesday confirmed that Mueller was killed, prompting an outpouring of tributes from people around the world lauding her humanitarian activism.

But for Israel’s most hawkish supporters, Mueller’s solidarity work with Palestinians resisting Israeli occupation made her unworthy of sympathy and even deserving of death. 

Joel Pollak, editor-in-chief at Breitbart, called Mueller an “anti-Israel activist” who admired the terrorists who killed her. 

 “Another Rachel Corrie propaganda story”

In an opinion piece at the ultra-nationalist Israeli publication Arutz Sheva, anti-Palestinian activist Lee Kaplan called Kayla Mueller’s death “another Rachel Corrie propaganda story in the making, and the western media is falling for it again, or embracing it on purpose.” 

Rachel Corrie, an American human rights activist, was deliberately run over and killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in 2003 while defending a Palestinian home in Gaza from demolition.

Rightwing Zionists often refer to Corrie as a “terrorist” who deserved to die and characterize the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), the nonviolent solidarity organization she volunteered for in Palestine, as a supporter of terrorism. 

While in Palestine in 2010, Mueller, like Corrie, worked with ISM in solidarity with Palestinians resisting ethnic cleansing and dispossession in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem.

Mueller participated in nonviolent protests with Palestinians against Israeli home demolitions and walked Palestinian children to school to protect them from harassment by Jewish settlers — the kind of work ISM is known for. 

“As an ISM activist [Mueller] was a tool for the worldwide jihad,” wrote Kaplan, adding, “she paid the ultimate price for that choice.”

“Too Bad ISIS didn’t burn her alive”

American-born Rabbi Ben Packer shared Kaplan’s op-ed on his Facebook page along with the comment, “All sympathy - GONE!!

Packer, who served as the “Rabbi on Campus” at Duke University and the University of North Carolina (UNC) after a stint in the Israeli army, is currently “Supreme Commander” of “Heritage House,” a Jewish settlement in occupied East Jerusalem that provides lodging for Jewish tourists and “lone soldiers,” essentially foreign fighters recruited from abroad to participate in Israel’s military occupation in Palestine.

Packer went on to respond enthusiastically to a friend who remarked that Islamic State should have burned Mueller alive like it did the captured Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasassbeh. 

“Jew-hating bitch”

In a blog post titled, “Dead ISIS Hostage Was Jew-Hating, Anti-Israel Bitch,” conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel calls Mueller “a Jew-hating, anti-Israel piece of crap who worked with HAMAS and helped Palestinians harass Israeli soldiers and block them from doing their job of keeping Islamic terrorists out of Israel.”

Schlussel concludes her post with the following farewell: “Buh-bye, Kayla. Have fun with your 72 Yasser Arafats.”

Right-wing blogger Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit added his voice to the mix, accusing Mueller of “protesting Jews.” 

Erasing Mueller’s Palestine work

As right-wing Zionists and Islamophobes cheer Mueller’s death, mainstream media outlets are actively whitewashing her Palestine activism.

In a timeline of Mueller’s humanitarian work, USA Today completely erased her work in Palestine, saying only that between 2010 and 2011, she worked in “Tel Aviv, Israel, volunteering at the African Refugee Development Center.” 

Although a more in-depth USA Today article specified that Mueller worked with ISM for the Palestinian cause, the article claimed she did so in Israel, vaguely noting that Mueller “would walk to school with children in the morning and then make sure they returned home safely later in the day.” 

Mueller escorted Palestinian children to school in Hebron in the occupied West Bank, not “Israel,” to protect them from violent Jewish settlers. Leaving out such crucial details obscures the reality of Israeli violence. 

While some outlets shied away from emphasizing Mueller’s Palestine activism, others framed her death as a consequence of it.

The liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz implied that her involvement in Palestine led to her death with the headline, “US idealist Kayla Mueller’s road to ISIS captivity went through West Bank.” 

The Washington Post seemed to agree, with an article titled, “How Kayla Mueller’s pro-Palestinian activism led her to Syria.” 

Empty condolences  

Despite the gross displays of celebration from pro-Israel extremists, the vast majority of people have expressed sadness for Mueller’s death. However, it is difficult to take them all at face value. 

For example, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his condolences. “On behalf of the people of Israel, I wish to send condolences to President Obama, the American people and the family of Kayla Mueller. We stand with you,” he said. 

This is the same man whose army routinely targets and kills aid workers while obstructing desperately needed humanitarian assistance to Palestinians trapped in the besieged Gaza ghetto. 

Equally disingenuous were the remarks by US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, who enables American and Israeli atrocities for a living by vetoing any and all attempts to hold either power accountable for human rights abuses and war crimes.  

Between the Zionist backlash against Mueller, the outlets erasing her Palestine activism and those using her death to advance their own agendas, there is one constant: Mueller’s support for Palestinians against Israeli oppression is a taboo that must be ignored, obscured or ridiculed.




How do you guys write and report this material w/o succumbing to the urge to crawl up in a ball and die. This makes me hate life.


People who write this filth about a beautiful young woman who cared about human rights don't make me hate life. They make me hate Zionists.


Not sure what these people are thinking. They are singlehandedly destroying any hope for legitimacy of Zionism. The more they open their mouths, the more much of the world turns against Jews in general. An extremely stupid and venal bunch.


thankfully, someone has the courage to report "this stuff" because no one in America would know anything about what she really did.


I am so happy the ei gives us the truth here in North America


PLEASE stop saying "Israeli home demolitions"
It makes it sound like the homes being demolished as Israeli... the brainwashed-in-favor-of-Israel and automatically-considering-Arabs-to-be-the-violent-party public will automatically interpret things that way.
Combine this with the fact that the .01% of Americans who do read the news consider it like HW, and so they read half of what's written and have their brain unconsciously fill in the rest for them (something attested to by many Psychological experiments), and you get an understanding of the article as though the Palestinians demolished Israeli homes.
Please find a more effective phrase.


Kayla did what she had to do, ei does what it has to do and we must do what we have to do--resist the lies and lay bare the truth. The hate coming from these zionists is based on their greed for money, land that doesn't belong to them and power and to quote the Madwoman of Chaillot who was up against the power of the corporations and the media, "They're greedy? Ah, then, my friends, they're lost. If they're greedy, they're stupid. Don't worry, I know exactly what to do and the world will be saved. Let's get to work". Like Judo--you take them down using their own greedy momentum. True, they have cleverly controlled the narrative for a long time especially in the USA but not amongst the non-aligned and in Europe the tide is turning. So promulgate Kayla's story. Get it out there. I've divided Kayla's journal entry into a poem and sent it out in a defence of public radio in Canada. I hope Kayla's family publish her writings as Rachel Corrie's parents did. Let's get to work. Think I'll drop into Breitbart.


I am ashamed of the Jewish people who commented in such a horrible way. They are my people, but I am ashamed of them. What can I do to change them? What have I failed to do? I apologize to Kayla's family and her friends, as well as all those whose lives she touched, for the shameful comments. May her memory be a blessing for you.


What we all can do is to treat all terrorist organizations as terrorist organizations, not states. We should treat terrorist organizations that claim to represent Jews as we treat terrorist organizations that claim to represent Muslims.


I am moved by this story. Kayla Mueller was an idealistic young woman doing what she believed to be right in her own conscience. She was witnessing and trying to protect children. It is my belief that non-tactically trained personnel should not have access to travel into war zones and hot spots.

A shocking number of "aid-workers" are just the person sitting beside you in church or the college student with a zeal to make the world a better place. This woman was a human being. She was somebody’s daughter, sister, friend – she meant everything to somebody.
That she was killed by the people she came to help, taking her hostage and treating her like chattel, is horrific enough... her family should not have to hear despicable remarks wishing ‘she had been burned alive.’ It is with grave concern that I read reports that these remarks are made public by religious leaders. Where is God in that?

What is happening to us as a civilization when we become as vicious in our thinking, as callous in our words and deeds, as terrorists? If we are to have peace, we must choose NOT to diminish ourselves by letting go of our own humanity. Not even for a moment. Not in word and certainly not in deed.

My heart and prayers are with this family. I can only imagine what they are feeling and how they must suffer. I would appeal to those who have written insensitive remarks about this idealistic young woman, to take them down. I don’t have to agree or disagree with Kayla Mueller’s humanitarian efforts to understand that the loss of a woman who was capable of such empathy, is a loss we should all pause and consider.


Don't blame yourself! You are a far better person than most! You are separating yourself from these despicable people and being a fantastic human being.
Be proud of yourself and stand tall!


don't say that!
You can't be ashamed of the Jewish people - they taught me about Palestine, they work in the ISM, they helped break the siege of Gaza (briefly) on the first boats, they are a huge part of the BDS work, and they have some of the best radio coverage of Palestine!
After you know them like this, you will NEVER confuse "Jewish" with "zionist" and you will see clearly that the only ones who do - FALSELY - are zionists.

I don't mean to brush the feelings off, though. I've heard that sentiment from a Jewish friend or two. (being an American feels lousy to me sometimes.) But know that non-Jews don't think you should feel bad at all.


It seems to me that American Jews have a higher percentage of their community willing to criticize Israel than Americans generally do to protest American Foreign Policy. At one time this would also hold for Israel where Israelis themselves came out in droves to protest the war in Lebanon, though this no longer seems to be the case.


You can hate what people do without hating the people that do it. If this wasn't true nearly every parent would want to kill their child at some point. Extremists must be people without real joy. There are these sad people in every country and sometimes that leads to violence and death. It is up to every citizen to ensue they have a true democracy with proper safeguards to protect that democracy for every citizen otherwise the ensuing prejudice, violence, injustice creates bitterness and resentment that lasts far too long. I feel so sad that we have people who hate so much


Isn't it strange that these vile people do not question how ISIS even got a hold of her, or WHY? why would they choose to kill a woman who openly opposed zionism, unless they (ISIS) were zionist themselves? they shot themselves in the foot.


The right wing Israeli paper says the media is " falling for it again, or embracing it on purpose.” This suggests that Corrie was some sort of "put up" job and, more interesting, that the media are inclined to sentimentalize such cases because the media hates Jews!! What else does "embracing it on purpose" mean? I point this out because it is the old sickness again and again: Jews are innocent of everything but everybody hates Jews and there is no explanation whatsoever. That state is paranoid nuts as are the aging communities in the West living the same self-fulfilling prophecy. Poor Jews. Tsk Tsk.


This young lady did not carry a gun, etc. Just her heart which she kept open to all people. The Zionists like those who own the Washington Post hate for the thrill of it and the power they control. Sitting in their comfy homes, too cowardly to lend a hand, fat cat Zionists which control the US applaud death to anyone who disagrees with them, including GOD.

Rania Khalek

Rania Khalek's picture

Rania Khalek is an independent journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized.