In 2003, activist Rachel Corrie was run over and killed by an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) bulldozer. Last month, an Israeli court dismissed a lawsuit by her family. Rather than holding the Israeli government responsible for killing this woman, the court’s ruling blamed the victim.
Such victim blaming is appalling, but not surprising. The Israeli government was the arbitrator in a dispute about itself. Institutions cannot be held accountable for their abusive actions when they hold a monopoly on arbitration and legal accountability. We have seen this repeatedly in cases of police brutality, prosecutorial misconduct, and war crimes. The state holds a monopoly on law. When it commits crimes, it won’t hold itself accountable. Instead, it will blame the victim.