The Haifa court''s decision about Rachel Corrie, and the California court decision on Apple vs Samsung provoke me to think again about my former homeland.The Corrie decision received considerable attention in American media, at least for a day or two. Numerous Americans echoed the Corrie family litany of injustice, official cover-up, and biased courts.
In contrast, Israel''s response was modest, restrained, or indifference. An Israeli can only be amazed about Americans who think that a civilian political activist can go onto an active battlefield and expect soldiers concerned with their tasks and protecting themselves to stop their work on account of her. Israeli investigations that cleared personnel of improper actions and official expressions of regret compare favorably with other governments'' responses to episodes of "collateral damage" in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
The IDF''s investigation into Corrie''s death appears to have been more thorough than in most cases of complaints about soldiers, due to her being an American, appeals to Congress organized by her parents, and demands for an inquiry received from American government personnel.The Jerusalem Post blog section publishes my notes. Most attract three or fewer comments. The note dealing with Corrie and Migron attracted more than 80, almost all arguing among themselves about the Corrie verdict with no reference to what I had written. The site editor removed some of them, seemingly on account of nasty language.The family is also upset against the United States administration for its failure to support their claims against Israel.At one time the family received official word from the American government that Israel did not keep its promise to conduct a “thorough, credible and transparent” investigation. However, the government that has its own experience with civilian casualties appears to accept Israel''s responses.
Corrie is on track to become a latter-day USS Liberty. That was the ship attacked by Israel during the Six-Day war with numerous casualties. Israeli and American officials reached an amicable resolution (more or less) after years of investigations, discussion, and Israeli payments of compensation, but the Liberty remains a symbol for Americans unhappy about what Israel represents.Apple vs Samsung occurs against the complexity of electronic gadgets. A smartphone may involve more than a quarter million patents, and produce a plethora of claims, suits and counter-suits as to who owns rights to what.
It''s amazing that such issues can be assigned for decision by a jury, but that''s the American way. Reports about nationalist incitement in the court room, claiming Korean exploitation of American inventions, recall the trial of O.J. Simpson.Alongside the California court''s are Korean and Japanese court decisions favorable to Samsung.
A host of legal and technical issues keep me from assessing the justice of each decision, or its implications for this onging patent war.
Googling "apple vs samsung" produces 321 million results.Reading only a few of them leads to the view that Samsung, Apple, and other high-tech players all steal ideas from one another, and continue to cooperate on some issues while they do battle on others. I doubt that the Samsung treasurer has prepared a check for $1 billion. Appeals will hold things up, perhaps for years. The judge in the California case pressed the parties to reach an agreement, and an appeals court may try harder in that direction.
I have no loyalties in this contest. I''ve enjoyed both Samsung and Apple products, and recently chose a Galaxy over an IPhone on account of their features. My family is more American than Korean, but I have Korean in-laws. I have visited Korea several times, and enjoy good relations with Korean colleagues, including two of my PhD students. My senior grandson is a blend of Korea and the United States, with Jewish and a variety of other roots. His heritage includes Bialystok and Lithuania along with East Asia.The Chosen People of the Promised Land are by no means innocent of ethnocentrism or biased officials. However, the latest news about Rachel Corrie as well as Apple and Samsung reinforce my greater confidence in Israel''s professional judges over American juries.
It was understandable that framers of the US Constitution implanted trials by local juries into the national character, insofar as they were only a few years away from rebelling against distant authorities. However, the professionalization of the judiciary has come a long way since then. Trained panels of judges provide justice in almost all other democracies. Americans, too, would be better served by them, but pity me should I venture forth against a beast so sacred in that country as trial by jury.