Gideon Levy: A Nobel Peace Prize laureate in prison
If the court indeed deports Mairead Corrigan-Maguire we’ll know that our court system is also tainted to the teeth
October 3, 2010
The photograph was recently distributed by the IDF’s propagandists: Mairead Corrigan-Maguire is seen being taken off the abducted ship Rachel Corrie at Ashdod port, as a soldier from the world’s most moral army holds out his hand to help the honorable woman disembark. It was not long after the IDF’s violent takeover of the Mavi Marmara, and Israeli propagandists were now hastening to peddle their cheap merchandise, showing how Israel treats “real” peace activists, as opposed to the Turkish “terrorists” on the earlier vessel.
Only four months have passed since the earlier event, and the very same lady has now spent a weekend in the deportees’ cell at Ben-Gurion Airport. While we were having another warm, pleasant weekend, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate sat in an Israeli jail and nobody seemed to care. We were not ashamed, we were not outraged, we did not make a sound. It was a spectacle that could only have taken place in Israel, North Korea, Burma (Myanmar ) and Iran – the state imprisoning and deporting a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize – and raised no more than a yawn here.
One court has already upheld the deportation, in a characteristically automatic action, and the Supreme Court will debate it today.
The new Israel is once again portrayed as an indrawn, detestable state, with a branch of the thought police at Ben-Gurion Airport. World-renowned intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, Spain’s most famous clown Ivan Prado and now Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, are deported from it shamefacedly only because they dared to visit the country. And all this is backed by pathological public indifference.
The Irish Corrigan-Maguire is the victim of state terror. A former secretary at the Guinness Brewery in Belfast, she had three nephews, all children at the time, who were killed during a British targeted assassination in Northern Ireland. Their mother, her sister, who committed suicide some time later, was also badly injured in the attack. Corrigan Maguire eventually married her sister’s widower and adopted his children. The frightful family tragedy turned her into a peace activist, and she began to hoist the flag of non-violent resistance. For this she won the Nobel Peace Prize for 1976 (awarded retroactively the following year ).
In recent years, Corrigan-Maguire has tried to hoist this flag in Israel, which knows a lot about state terror, assassinations and killing passersby, yet is now brutally closing its gates in her face.
Corrigan-Maguire demonstrated in Bil’in a few months ago and took part in two flotillas to Gaza. This is her sin. Israel is also claiming Corrigan-Maguire “ran wild” while officials tried forcibly to put her on an airplane. It is difficult to imagine this gentle woman running wild. She herself says she only tried to resist passively in order to complete the petition procedure granted her by law.
Israel, like North Korea, must have something to hide about its occupation regime and this is why it prevents people of conscience from entering and report about it to the world. Israel, like North Korea, is afraid of anyone who tries to protest against it or criticize its regime. No terrorists will enter here, but neither will anyone who opposes terror yet dares to criticize the occupation. For safety’s sake,let’s call them “terrorists” too, as we falsely called the Turkish activists. It will make it easier for us to deal with them. Yes, we prefer terror, because we know well how to handle it.
All those who are preaching sanctimoniously to the Palestinians to practice non-violent resistance had better take a look at the deportees’ prison in Ben- Gurion Airport. This is how non-violent protesters will be treated. A peace activist is being held there, a woman of conscience who was allowed to receive her personal effects over the weekend only after the invention of the district court in Petah Tikva. She awaits the ruling of our beacon of justice, the Supreme Court, which, one may guess, will also not dare to object to the deportation.
If the court indeed upholds the disgraceful act today, in response to the Adalah organization’s petition, then we’ll know not only what we’ve become – that this is how we treat those who advocate non-violence – but that our court system is also a collaborator in the treachery and is tainted to the teeth.
A Nobel Prize laureate sits in Israeli detention, a few days after Israel hijacked another Gaza-bound aid boat, whose passengers included a Jewish Holocaust survivor, an Israeli father who lost a child to terror, and an air force pilot-turned-conscientious objector. It hijacked the boat to prevent them from reaching their destination and reminding the world of the blockade. This is the portrait of Israel today.