Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Rachel Corrie court case and media repercussions

The Rachel Corrie court case and media repercussions

IDF D9 bulldozer
IDF D9 bulldozer like the one that ran over Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie, an American citizen, belonged to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), volunteering in Gaza at the height of the Second Intifada. She was accidentally run over and killed by an IDF bulldozer, and the ISM and Corrie’s family have claimed ever since that the bulldozer driver ran her over on purpose, and that this was IDF and Israeli policy.  They have been relentless in pursuing the soldiers involved in the incident through the Israeli court system.
Yesterday, the Haifa District Court dismissed the Corries’ civil suit against Israel and their claim for symbolic damages.
Corrie’s family sued Israel over her death, charging that soldiers had either killed her intentionally or acted with reckless neglect. They asserted that the Israeli military was responsible for Corrie’s life even though she had knowingly placed herself in danger to thwart a military operation.
They were seeking a symbolic $1 in damages and legal fees.
Judge Oded Gershon rejected all of the family’s claims. “This was a very unfortunate accident and not an action undertaken with intent,” Gershon said Tuesday in a courtroom packed with spectators and reporters.
“The deceased put herself into a dangerous situation. She stood in front of a large bulldozer in a place where the operator could not see her. Even when she saw the mound of earth approaching her she did not distance herself as a reasonable person would have done,” he said.
Corrie’s death, he ruled, was “the result of an accident she brought upon herself.” The family’s claim that her death was intentional was “baseless,” he said.
International reaction has been entirely predictable.  For a prime example see the Guardian (for whom Corrie is somewhat of a pet project) here and here and here.  There are probably more but that’s more than enough to digest. The links are too numerous to go into in detail, but for those who are interested, here is a quick roundup (and a roundup of roundups).
Honest Reporting have produced an excellent analysis of media reaction to the judgement. Their salient point:
Those that want to believe the worst of Israel will still do so despite this Israeli court verdict. Like other icons of the Palestinian movement such as Mohammad al-Dura, the death of Rachel Corrie will continue to be a stick with which to beat Israel irrespective of the facts or the investigations.
Elder of Ziyon’s post gives detailed background to the original incident, its repercussions, and media reaction today.  His accompanying picture of a D9 bulldozer (posted above) like the one which ran over Corrie demonstrates how impossible it would have been for the driver to spot Corrie.
CiFWatch has several excellent articles: “Put the ISM on trial” by Adam Levick; the ISM’s Fauxtography by Akus; and a thorough background of the ISM and its exploitation of Rachel Corrie by Hadar Sela.
Honest Reporting mention the following article in its report, but I read it before I saw HR’s post, and anyway I feel it deserves a separate mention: Brendan O’Neill in the Daily Telegraph wrote a sharp article on the secular beatification of Rachel Corrie.
This secular beatification of Corrie, who has effectively been turned into St Rachel of the Put-Upon Palestinians, captures everything that is wrong with modern-day solidarity with Palestine.
Corrie’s cheerleaders – which includes actor Alan Rickman, who turned her writings into a hit play – seem unaware of how much their sanctification of Corrie echoes the old crusading Christian desire to save foreigners from wickedness.
The transformation of Corrie’s life and death into a black-and-white morality tale – featuring a well-off white American who was pure of heart, poor little brown people who have no hope, and a Zionist entity that is supremely evil – sums up the boneheadedness of modern-day Palestinian solidarity.
Palestinian solidarity has become creepily anthropological. It increasingly treats Palestinians, not as a people who simply need more political independence, but as a threatened tribe that must be protected from further harm by “human shields” from the enlightened west.
They are effectively going to Palestine to find themselves, to try to give meaning to their potentially shallow lives through imagining that they can “save” an entire people and halt a “genocide” by standing in front of a tank or writing some blog posts about how tragic are the lives of cute Palestinian children. It is a peculiar form of solidarity that reduces an entire foreign people to the level of child-like victims who need the likes of St Rachel to save them.
Read it all.
As an antidote to all this poison, read Tom Gross’s “The Forgotten Rachels” about all the Israeli Rachels murdered by Palestinian terrorists.