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Rachel Corrie’s Case and Gilad Shalit’s Birthday

Making sense of this morning’s news

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On the Eastern hemisphere, news of the verdict exonerating the the Israel Defense Forces of wrongdoing in a lawsuit by the family of Rachel Corrie, the American pro-Palestinian activist who died a young, tragic, but avoidable death in Gaza, echoed with the same acrimonious howls that her death did nearly ten years ago.

“23 year old American activist murdered by the terrorist Israeli military,” commentator Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi tweeted to his 137,000+ followers.

A columnist for The Guardian wrote that the verdict “reveals the lie of the IDF’s claim to be the world’s ‘most moral army.'”

Others called the verdict proof of the erosion of Israel’s legal institutions, an insult to America, and even proof that non-violence resistance doesn’t pay dividends. Despite these pronouncements, the most basic facts of the case haven’t changed much in nine years:

Despite the warning by her own country’s state department against travel to Gaza, Rachel Corrie went anyway, entered a closed military zone where the IDF had been attacked hours before, and evaded prior efforts by the Israeli army to move her and other activists from the area. Judge Oded Gershon said as much in his 62-page decision: Corrie had put herself in danger. He also did not see evidence that proved Corrie had been in the line of sight of the driver of the bulldozer that struck her.

Her death was hailed as the ultimate martyrdom by Corrie’s group, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a pro-Palestinian organization that has been accused of–wittingly and unwittingly–running cover for Palestinian terrorists, speaking out in favor of Palestinian attacks on Israelis, and disrupting the security efforts of the Israeli Defense Forces, a foreign army. (The ISM has also had some of its members sexually assaulted, wounded, or killed by Palestinians with no real resulting cries of condemnation or ideological reconsiderations.)

Corrie’s death spawned a subculture of passion plays and tone deaf art, little of which bore the nuance needed to show the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as something other than a cartoonish battle between good and evil. To some of Corrie’s celebrators, she was human and she was killed by an evil machine. It seems to matter little to many of Corrie’s champions that the driver who accidentally killed her was, in all likelihood, a 19-year-old kid serving compulsory army service. Unlike Corrie, he had no choice but to be there in Gaza carrying the heavy burden of defending his country from the very real killers who stole their way into Israel during the Second Intifada, targeting civilians–far from closed military areas, in pizza parlors, cafes, and college cafeterias.

The Corrie verdict was announced in Haifa, not too far from the home of Gilad Shalit, who today celebrates his first birthday out of captivity since 2005. Shalit’s abduction from his own country by Hamas–a terrorist group running the very same Gaza that Israel left a few years after Corrie’s death–did not ignite any outrage from the many human rights satellites that decried Corrie’s unfortunate death. Even as Shalit was kept in a basement while his health deteriorated and his family knew nothing of his well-being, his very human cause did not make its way into much of the literature.

Meanwhile, the Israel that traded 1,000 prisoners for Shalit’s life is the same Israel that still lamented Corrie’s death even while deciding that it was not at fault. It is also the same Israel that, while extremely flawed, investigated the circumstances of Corrie’s death and carried out a long and painful trial that less moral countries wouldn’t have bothered with.

Haifa Court rules against Rachel Corrie family [JPost]
The peace group that embraces violence [Telegraph]

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Paul Brandon says:

And they call this a democracy?
Just because you knowingly put yourself at risk of being murdered doesn’t make it any less murder.

    Adam describes the IDF Bulldozer driver as “in all likelihood, a 19-year-old kid serving compulsory army service. Unlike Corrie, he had no choice but to be there in Gaza.” I agree.

    So, with just that as a starting point, it’s hard for me to get to “murder” as an obvious conclusion. Accidental Death seems much more likely.

    Apparently, though, you seem to have access to information to which the rest of us are not privy.

    Or maybe, just maybe, you don’t have any other information and are inherently biased? Maybe?

      Paul Brandon says:

      The usual — if you don’t completely agree with me about Israeli actions you must be antisemitic.
      It’s possible that the ‘dozer driver did not know what was in front of his blade, in which case he would be incompetent and it would be manslaughter, not murder.

        So now it’s “manslaughter” not murder. A huge difference. And, if it’s purely because he was an incompetent dolt — which falls into the “honest mistake” category, how does that morph into an accusation of murder?

        Antisemitic? I didn’t say that, and I don’t know. I don’t draw sweeping generalizations with limited data (sort of my original point, don’t you think?)

        I just think you’re biased against Israel. I never accused you of being antisemitic. A person can be biased for all kinds of reasons. I didn’t hazard a guess as to which one(s) you latched onto.

          Paul Brandon says:

          You’re still tap dancing.

          There’s a difference between being critical of specific actions by Israel’s in and out of the government, and being biased against Israel.
          BTW — have you read Bennie Morris’s revision of his history of the 1948 war?

    newyawkboy says:

    Your statement is simply fatuous. Rachel WANTED to be killed and she ensured she would be with her SHEER STUPIDITY. She bought into the Arab narrative that GLORIFIES the deaths of sui-Homicide bombers, the same ideology that has resulted in extraordinary carnage. Truth is, there is NO SUCH THING as a “Suicide Bomber.” There are only “sui-HOMICIDE BOMBERS” and they have killed people from ALL OVER THE WORLD–Americans, Brits, Aussies, Orientals and ANYONE who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. THESE VICIOUS ATTACKS are TOTALLY INDISCRIMINATE and ALWAYS ACTS OF MASS MURDER. Buddhism versus ISLAM: during the Vietnam War, many Buddhist monks protest by self-Immolating. THE NEVER EVER TOOK ANYONE ELSE’S LIFE. But ISLAM? IT SEEKS THE GREATEST NUMBER OF CASUALTIES, no matter who….EVEN MEMBERS OF THEIR OWN TRIBE. The Arab Bloc at the U.N. for Decades has PREVENTED THESE ACTS from being labelled “A Crime Against Humanity.” It SPEAKS VOLUMES about “ISLAM…..”

This *is* a war between good and evil. They just have it backwards. Rachel Corrie died because she was stupid and meanspirited. It was her own hatred that led her to put herself in mortal danger. The guy driving the tractor couldn’t see her, and she was too blinded with her own self-righteous anger to have the sense to move out of the way.

I shed no tears over her death. She was a bad person, and she essentially committed suicide by stupidity.

jacob_arnon says:

Corrie wasn’t murdered and the court’s verdict reflects that.

There is a difference between a deliberate act of murder and an accident.

Antisemites will never acknowledge that the cause of Corrie’s death was accidental.

The usual antisemitic papers are already publishing their anti-Israel diatribes.

The Guardian in England accused the US and Israel of covering up “state crimes.”

The seem to believe in the “ZOG” theory and would probably be on the side of the white soldiers arrested for planning to kill Obama.

February 10, 2013, which will mark the 10th anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s dearth on the Jewish calendar, is an Erev Shabbat. What if Jews all across America stood to say Kaddish in her memory that evening?

Thanks for that last paragraph, Adam. I think many people, including those who think the very worst of Israel, forget how much worse any other country in Israel’s neighborhood would treat someone like Corrie.

I would like to believe the judge was fair and just. I believe that is a defining characteristic of Judaism (no, not differentiating, defining).

Ironically, those who hate Jews, and Israel, think just the opposite of us.

    Paul Brandon says:

    So, if we’re better than the worst, that’s good enough?
    That’s not Judaism.

    newyawkboy says:

    The fact is that Rachel Corrie is the one responsible for her OWN death. She was a rabid leftist, a naive apologist for vicious Palestinian Terror attacks on Israeli citizens and was determined to allow herself to be USED BY THE PALESTINIANS as a poster child for their political ends. She paid for her OWN STUPIDITY in the end. She essentially wasted her life and then the PALs, naturally, tried to use her memory for their political B.S. She might have been alive if she had attempted to criticize the PALs for a Campaign of UTTER TERROR. She had no regard for the lives of the Jews…none. She was fixated on her revolutionary ideology and furthering even more Palestinian terror attacks. The PALs STILL portray themselves as “Victims.” Ridiculous. They live off of Western Welfare money and have for DECADES. I feel VERY sorry for her parents, but not for her whatsoever. SHE chose her path. But her parents have TOTALLY ignored the fact that she was absolutely irresponsible and DIED WITHOUT having accomplished ANYTHING. Bye bye Rachel, you were a fool and only fools will have any admiration for your actions and your pig headedness and self-righteousness. She might just as easily have carried a placard in the middle lane of a busy U.S. expressway. There isn’t a SINGLE ISRAELI in Gaza…Israel removed them all. In return for that, the greenhouses there that grew wonderful vegetables were turned into rocket launching areas overnight. Missiles fly over Israel still, almost everyday, released by Palestinians (those peace loving people). The word “Occupation” is ridiculous. Hamas, Iran’s Islamist THUGS controls the Palestinians, THEY ARE THE MASTERS. Worse, the Pals STUPIDLY initially ELECTED THEM TO RULE. TERROR=flight of Capital=Ultimate Poverty. Maybe you should have asked the PALs why they didn’t BUILD ANYTHING for all these years, Rachel and why they would randomly keep sending rockets upon Israeli citizens. Are THEIR lives less important, even those of Israeli young children who are 4 or 5 years old or less??????????

John Salisbury says:

While we’re at it lets release Yigal Amir

Binyamin says:

For those who have doubts about the Corrie’s claim, read the following account from another “19-year-old conscript” at the controls of a D-9 during the 2002 siege of Jenin:

“For three days, I just destroyed and destroyed. The whole area.
Any house that they fired from came down. And to knock it down, I tore down
some more. They were warned by loudspeaker to get out of the house before I
come, but I gave no one a chance. I didn’t wait. I didn’t give one blow, and
wait for them to come out. I would just ram the house with full power, to bring
it down as fast as possible. I wanted to get to the other houses. To get as
many as possible. Others may have restrained themselves, or so they say. Who
are they kidding? Anyone who was there, and saw our soldiers in the houses,
would understand they were in a death trap. I thought about saving them. I didn’t
give a damn about the Palestinians, but I didn’t just ruin with no reason. It
was all under orders.”


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Rachel Corrie’s Case and Gilad Shalit’s Birthday

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