. “Israel says “Rachel made me do it”
Lawrence Davidson argues that behind the Israeli court ruling that Rachel Corrie, the US peace activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer while trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home, lies a culture of pathological racism that considers all Palestinians and their allies as terrorists.
The judgment followed a long-standing practice of the Israeli military, reconstructing scenarios after the fact in order to rationalize just about any action soldiers take against the Palestinians, no matter how criminal. In the Rafah area during the years that Corrie and other ISM volunteers worked there, the Israeli military was in the habit of targeting Palestinian children, killing some 400 of them, one-quarter of whom were under the age of 12. In almost all cases there was no penalty for committing these murders. The practice of granting immunity has also been followed by Israeli police and courts in the case of crimes committed by Israeli civilians, especially settlers, against Palestinians. To date, “91 per cent of investigations of such criminal acts committed by Israelis against Palestinians and their property are closed without indictments being served.”
If you come across an individual who condemns an entire category of people and is also willing to violently act on the basis of that belief, you might call him or her a pathological racist, or a pathological xenophobe, or a pathological paranoid chauvinist. But what happens when those same sick sentiments get institutionalized in powerful bureaucracies? When, say, all Arabs (be they Muslim or Christian) are suspect and subject to government surveillance, segregation, collective punishment and worse. What then do you call this? National security? All too often that is exactly what we call it. The “we” here includes almost all politicians, media newscasters, security personnel, talking head “experts” and the like. What it comes down to is that, in the name of “national security”, we can justify almost anything, including killing kids in Gaza and torturing people to death in some dungeon, the whereabout of which is classified, as well as running over a 23-year-old peace activist with a massive bulldozer.
That is certainly what the Corrie episode has shown to be the case in Israel. And it does not matter what is driving this obsessive stereotyping of the Palestinians as collective enemies by both individuals and entire government departments. The Israelis and their Zionist supporters can evoke the holocaust (and, for that matter, the Americans can talk about 9/11) until the end of time. The actions stemming from such ultimately racist perspectives are still thoroughly dehumanizing and criminal. Such is perpetual “war”.”