Will President Obama summon his courage and utter a timid peep of protest at the Israeli court’s ruling in the Rachel Corrie case? As I write this it has been about 13 hours since the verdict was announced, and so far we’ve heard nothing. And my guess is we won’t.
In case you haven’t heard, the Haifa District Court has come to the conclusion that the Israeli military is not in any way liable for the death of 23-year-old Rachel, who was crushed beneath a Caterpillar bulldozer driven by an Israeli soldier on March 16, 2003.
Further, while allowing that her death was “regrettable,” Judge Oded Gershon asserted his view that Rachel, and Rachel alone, is to blame for what happened.
The accident was caused by the deceased,” he said.
We all know, of course, that the only reason the case got the attention it did is because Rachel was an American. Palestinians are killed virtually every day and the media barely yawn. But the verdict in this case highlights Israeli arrogance and impunity in perhaps new ways.
It was not of course as if finding in the Corries’ favor would have cost the state of Israel any money. The suit had sought a total of $1 in damages plus legal costs. So no. It was more an affirmation of Israel’s authority to steal as much land and demolish as many homes as it likes, along with the belief that no one has the right to challenge them on this.
“I reject the suit,” Gershon said. “There is no justification the state pay any damages.”
Not even one dollar.
Interestingly, just a day before the verdict came in, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz disclosed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had sought to browbeat UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon into cancelling his trip to the Non-aligned Movement conference in Tehran. Reportedly the Israeli leader’s “public appeal to Ban—delivered in what staffers viewed as a condescending tone—backfired, fortifying Ban’s resolve to go.”
The story goes on to report that Netanyahu, instead of exercising discretion about his phone call with Ban, issued a press release detailing everything he had said to the UN official. The prime minister then initiated “a social media drive, calling on Web surfers to send e-mails to the UN secretary-gernal asking him not to fly to Tehran,” the story says.
At the same time, a series of Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the World Jewish Congress issued press statements harshly criticizing Ban’s plan to travel to the conference in Iran. Ban’s associates were confinced that the attacks by Jewish groups had also been directed by the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.
So what does this have to do with the Corrie verdict? Probably nothing, other than it illustrates the arrogance constantly on display and emanating from the state of Israel. If you haven’t read my article Rachel Corrie and Daniel Pearl—a curious comparison, you might consider doing so. It’s an article I wrote over a year ago comparing the two cases—that of the Palestine solidarity activist and the Wall Street Journal reporter—both of whom died within 14 months of each other. In the Pearl case, justice was swift in coming. The killers were arrested less than two months after the reporter was killed. They were quickly brought to trial and found guilty, with one of them being sentenced to death. The court case was over less than six months after the crime was committed.
The Rachel Corrie case obviously did not go quite the same way. Criminal charges were never filed against the soldier operating the bulldozer, leaving the family with no other recourse than a civil suit as a means of holding the government of Israel accountable. The Corries filed their suit in 2005. It took seven years to hear the verdict we finally heard today. Seven years—just in order for a judge to say, “The accident was caused by the deceased.”
In the Jewish-dominated world we live in, justice is available to Gentiles only when it doesn’t come at the expense of a Jew. This is certainly the case in the “Jewish state,” and it is becoming increasingly so in America. As I’ve said before, apartheid will end up being Israel’s chief export to the rest of the world. This is why the struggle for justice for Palestine is so vital. It may sound ironic, but this isn’t just for the sake of the Palestinians anymore; it is for all of humanity. The creation of a Palestinian state—not just in the West Bank and Gaza, but all of Palestine—is the only way forward at this point. The Jewish state’s belligerence has repulsed people around the planet. Continuing to tolerate its disregard for international law will lead to disaster.
With the Rachel Corrie verdict the candle flame of its “legitimacy” has finally burned out; Israel has no right to exist.
In the video below, Rachel’s mother responds to the verdict: