The attorney representing Rachel Corrie’s family referred to Israel as a “monster” and compared the country’s establishment unfavorably with that of Nazi Germany in a TV interview two months ago, according to a video clip released Wednesday by an Israeli group that tracks Palestinian media.
The clip released by Palestinian Media Watch was taken from a July 2 interview given by the attorney, Hussein Abu Hussein, to Palestinian Authority TV.
Abu Hussein told the Times of Israel in response that the comments had been taken out of context and the content of his remarks distorted. The publication of the comments by Palestinian Media Watch was an attempt to attack his character and that of the Corrie family, he said.
Abu Hussein, a veteran attorney and an Arab citizen of Israel, represents the Corrie family in its legal fight to win damages from the Israeli government for the death of Rachel Corrie, an American pro-Palestinian activist who was crushed by an Israeli military bulldozer in Gaza nine years ago. The family’s efforts were handed a reversal Tuesday with a decision by Haifa District Court to reject the lawsuit.
In the Arabic television interview, Abu Hussein says Nazi Germany “was a state based on the rule of law for a short while,” while in contrast, Israel “was founded from the start on robbery and theft of a nation’s homeland.”
“We suffer from a great injustice from the giant monster,” he said in the excerpt. “This monster attacks us daily and bites into our flesh in the Negev, the Galilee, the Triangle, Jerusalem, and the occupied territories, the West Bank and Gaza. Every day it bites into our body.”
The interviewer, Israeli Arab actor and activist Mohammed Bakri, responded, ”I want to step on the head of this monster.”
“We all want to step on its head, but talking is not enough,” Abu Hussein said. “Everyone has their role.”
Abu Hussein said Wednesday that the comments were part of an hour-long interview that covered a wide range of topics and a discussion of lessons to be learned from history — including the Holocaust. Selecting several unrelated comments from the interview dramatically distorted the content of the conversation, he said.
“This clip was edited in a misleading and tendentious fashion by an anti-democratic organization whose goal is to harm the struggle for human rights and divert the discussion from the killing of the peace activist Rachel Corrie by a military bulldozer,” Abu Hussein told the Times of Israel.
“It should be remembered that the historical experience of humanity and of the Jews in particular shows that silence can lead to a bloodbath. As a human rights activist who works in the framework of the law, and as a lawyer in Israel, I fight for all human rights, and the attempt to present me as a Holocaust denier by tendentious editing will not deter me and will not deter those fighting for human rights in Israel, Palestine and the rest of the world,” he said.
The Corrie family says its legal battle is an attempt to uncover the truth about what happened to the activist, who was 23 when she was killed on the Gaza-Egypt border on March 16, 2003. In a press conference after Tuesday’s ruling, both the family and Abu Hussein described their efforts as a fight for human rights.
Many Israelis, however, have come to see the family’s campaign as an attack against Israel by ideological opponents using Corrie’s death for political ends.
The Corrie family’s foundation is a vocal advocate for a global anti-Israel boycott, and the family’s statements have gone beyond Corrie’s death to take on broader Israeli policies. The leaders of the organization that sent Rachel Corrie to Gaza, the International Solidarity Movement, have supported the use of deadly violence against Israeli civilians.
Judge Oded Gershon of the Haifa District Court ruled Tuesday that Corrie’s death was an accident for which she was responsible. The family said it would appeal the ruling within 45 days.