On Friday, with the passing of Rachel Abrams, the Beacon lost a dear friend. She will be missed for many reasons, but we will regret most the loss of her voice. It’s no accident that her personal blog was called “Bad Rachel,” a perfect title for a writer who did not care about politically correct conventions. She had a gift for saying the things the rest of us were not supposed to say with verve and wit.
Here she is in 2012 with a pointed message for Jewish liberals on the occasion of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust remembrance day: “While you’re whispering your ‘love’ for Israel in the tongue of anti-Semitism; while you’re sniffing the scent of our blood, we’ll be counting our dead, and when we’re done with that, we’ll be reminding you never to forget the mighty hand and the outstretched arm—and the long memory—of the Israeli Defense Forces.”
Bad Rachel had no patience for the kinds of fake compliments that are currency in polite Washington society. After a typical Andrew Sullivan post bemoaning the “greater Israel lobby” and the Emergency Committee for Israel (a group on whose board she served), Bad Rachel wrote, “The once sharp and clever Sullivan instrument has been blunted by four years of non-stop rutting in Sarah Palin’s uterus.”
When Kim Jong Il died in 2011, Rachel called him a “Faminist,” a term that fits perfectly a despot who presided over a malnourished nation that blackmailed the world to provide food he kept from whole provinces.
Rachel was fiercest when confronting Muslim and Arab societies' mistreatment of women. She described the photograph in this post as follows: “These are women demonstrating in Egypt—rounded up, lassoed like horses, and pulled along the street by a man who must be on his guard lest by some horrific accident they catch the eye of a passing male and ‘mix.’”
Our debate will suffer without Rachel’s voice. But for those of us who had the great pleasure of knowing her, we will be inspired by the example of her courage.
Here is a link to the Washington Post obituary.
And here is one of Rachel’s most charming pieces, a short story called "School Days," that was published in the July 1988 issue of Commentary.