Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter inveighed last week against the Israeli justice system. His latest polemic against the Jewish state was of a piece with his reputation as a champion of perversely inverted human rights.
Haifa District Court Judge Oded Gershon ruled last week that the death of 23-year American Rachel Corrie in March 2003 “was a regrettable accident.” He thus dismissed her family’s civil lawsuit against the Israel Defence Forces.
Carter, on the other hand, having attended none of the court sessions, having heard none of the testimony given under oath, decided in his comfortable office in Atlanta many thousands of kilometres away from Haifa – and indeed from the war zone that the Philadelphi Corridor of Gaza was in March 2003 where Corrie plied her misguided notions – that the Israeli court’s decision was “unacceptable.”
“The killing of an American peace activist is unacceptable. The court’s decision confirms a climate of impunity, which facilitates Israeli human rights violations against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territory,” Carter said in a statement from the Carter Center.
In her mind, Corrie was a peace activist. In the minds, however, of the leaders of International Solidarity Movement (ISM), the radical, pro-Palestinian group who recruited her and encouraged her to travel to Gaza, she was a foot soldier in their struggle for Palestine’s “liberation.”
At the time of her death, Corrie was trying to deter an IDF bulldozer from advancing. She was acting as a human shield in what was an internationally acknowledged war zone where live fire had been exchanged almost daily. Palestinian terrorists had been shooting for years at Israelis from the very area that Corrie was trying to protect. The Israeli army was clearing away the terrorists’ cover.
At the time, ISM founder Thom Scafford responded to Corrie’s death by telling the Washington Post “It’s possible they [the activists] were not as disciplined as we would have liked. But we’re like a peace army. Generals send young men and women off to operations and some die.” How empathetic.
Relying on the testimony of the Corrie family’s own expert witness, the court decided that the driver of the bulldozer did not see Corrie when she fell from atop the mound of the earth the bulldozer driver was trying to move.
In the circumstances of the incident in 2003 and in light of the findings of fact by the Israeli court, Carter’s comments are repugnant and entirely contemptible. His broadside against the judge’s decision is unfair, unwarranted and unacceptable. It is simply another of his many vain, cheap attacks against Israel.
The ISM mercilessly exploited Corrie in life just as it has cynically exploited her death.
By accusing Israel, rather than the heartless individuals who sent Corrie into a very dangerous area, Carter simply abets the hard-hearted, anti-Israel zealots who were truly responsible for the young woman’s death.