By Ray Hanania
Born only a few months apart, Rachel Corrie and David Boim were both killed by violence between Palestinians and Israelis.
Boim was 17 when he was killed on May 13, 1996, when he was shot in the head during a drive-by shooting at a bus stop near the illegal Jewish settlement where he went to school, Beit El. The settlement near Ramallah was built on lands stolen by Israel from Christians and Muslims.
Corrie was 24 when she was killed on March 16, 2003, when she was crushed by a Caterpillar D-9 tractor driven by an Israeli soldier who was destroying a Palestinian home in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.
Although Palestinians identified and prosecuted Boim’s killers, the Israelis did everything to protect the soldier who crushed Corrie as she screamed for help.
Both Boim’s and Corrie’s parents filed lawsuits in the US courts. Corrie’s parents also filed a lawsuit in Israel. The Boims targeted Palestinian Americans and Palestinian organizations and named as defendants Muhammad Salah plus three organizations — the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, the American Muslim Society and the Qur’anic Literacy Institute.
After a highly-publicized trial covered by the mainstream American news media, the Palestinian groups were ordered in 2004 to pay the Boims $52 million for their son’s life. The federal judge in the case was not satisfied and ordered the punitive fines be tripled to $156 million.
Boim’s parents were able to use a law adopted by the US Congress to punish Arabs and Muslims, making them liable for “terrorism” committed abroad against Americans. Americans like Boim, not like Corrie.
The same American judicial system that allowed the Boim family to pursue Arab supporters of Hamas denied Corrie’s parents the right to apply the same principles against her killers.
There is no law that allows American victims of Israeli terrorism to seek compensation, as there is for Jewish victims of Arab terrorism.
So, the Corries went to Israel in 2010 and, at great expense, fought Israel’s judicial system and sued the Israeli military. Nearly 32 months later, the Israeli court system ruled Corrie’s death was an accident and that she was responsible because she put herself in a dangerous situation.
Is that not akin to Boim’s situation? David Boim also put himself in a dangerous situation — a war zone where Palestinians and Israelis continue to battle over who owns the land.
It is ironic that Boim’s killers were brought to justice by the Palestinian Authority, but that neither the US nor Israel have ever taken action against Corrie’s killer, the soldier driving the Caterpillar D-9 tractor or the armed Israeli soldiers who were nearby.
The US judicial system, the cornerstone of American democracy, is supposed to protect human rights based on principles, not politics.
But that is not what happens. Aided by the racist and discriminatory practices of the mainstream American news media, and by Israel’s subjugation of many American politicians, Israelis can commit crimes without repercussion. They can point false fingers of blame and get away with it by receiving the backing of the racist media, bought-off American elected officials and a judicial system that is rotten to the core.
Worse is that the same system can be used to bully and intimidate anyone who criticizes Israel, asserting that a feeble tie between a crime and any Palestinians can be turned into a major criminal prosecution case resulting in huge fines that thwart justice and silence legitimate protest.
The truth is that American democracy is not really honest, but a facade of distortions and politically motivated lies. There is no real freedom in America.
No one celebrates Boim’s murder, the victim of a war that has been raging in Palestine since Israel was established in 1948. Beit El was created in 1970, three years after Israel’s military occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem on land stolen by the Israeli government from the non-Jewish (Christian and Muslim) owners.
Since Boim’s murder, Israeli settlers and soldiers have murdered thousands of Palestinian teenagers, many of whom were Boim’s age.
Not surprisingly, Boim’s parents went back to the biased judicial system and filed new claims last week against more Palestinian organizations they assert are tied to the groups they sued and beat 13 years ago.
The new Boim lawsuit targets the American Muslims for Palestine group and the Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation, two groups that champion the rights of Palestinians victimized by Israeli aggression. Both are based in a Chicago suburb.
The Boims enjoy the support of a biased American judicial system that is corrupt and unjust.
All Corrie’s parents have is the memory of their young daughter and the knowledge that they have the moral high ground. Clearly, in America, morals are not enough.