Israel Lives in a Dangerous Neighborhood, Struggles Against Terrorism and is Engaged in a Battle for Justice at the United Nations

Over the past sixty five years, Israel has faced and continues to face momentous challenges including wars, skirmishes, rocket attacks, terrorist murderous suicide bombings and assaults on her citizens, challenges to her legal status, boycotts, threats, accusations and demonization.

In the summer of 2000, Chairman Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization met at Camp David with President Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The Prime Minister offered to the Palestinians an agreement that included the establishment of the Palestinian state based on territorial borders that essentially constituted approximately 96% of the land located west of the Jordan River, known as the West Bank and included the Gaza strip on the Mediterranean.

Much to the chagrin of President Clinton and disappointment of PM Barak, Chairman Arafat did not accept the proposal and left the President and the Prime Minister essentially standing alone at Camp David.

Shortly thereafter, in late September 2000, the Palestinian uprising known as the Second Intifada commenced, bringing with it murderous suicide bombings and other attacks inside Israel, targeting busses, shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, University cafeterias and attacking people in their homes and in the streets.

In response, in order to protect her people, the Israeli government commenced construction of a terrorism prevention security fence, parts of which include concrete barriers akin to what we know as Jersey walls on our expressways, although portions are quite high and obtrusive in order to provide safety to vehicles and persons below.

This terrorism prevention security fence is called by some a “wall”; and was the centerpiece of a request of the UN General Assembly referring to the International Court of Justice a legal question worded as follows:

What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?

Israeli student wins case against university


Kudos to United Kingdom Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) for their recent victory against anti-Israel bias at Warwick University.  In an interesting new case, UKLFI has achieved a measure of justice for an Israeli student who allegedly faced biased instruction at the English university.  UKLFI’s Jonathan Turner reports on the win:

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), which rules on complaints against British universities, has recommended that Warwick University make a full apology to Israeli student Smadar Bakovic, and pay her £1,000 in compensation.

Ms Bakovic studied for an MA at Warwick, writing her dissertation on the subject of the feelings of identity of Israeli Arabs. The University allocated as supervisor Dr Nicola Pratt, a proponent of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Ms Bakovic asked for a different supervisor at the outset but the University refused. Dr Pratt and another member of the department gave a mediocre mark, bringing Ms Bakovic’s average down below the level required for a distinction. They criticised a footnote, in which she referred to the fact that minorities in Arab countries do not have equal citizenship rights, as evidence of her “tendency … to adopt Israeli/Zionist narratives as though they were uncontested facts.”

Mr. Turner reports that Ms. Bakovic first appealed to the University’s complaints committee, which ruled in part in favor of Ms. Bakovic, permitting her to revise her dissertation, ordering the department to remark it, and leading to a 9% improvement in her mark.

Islamic Republic of Iran: The World’s Worst Sponsor of Terror Must Be Stopped

The Islamic Republic of Iran, a designated State Sponsor of Terrorism since 1984, remains the world’s “most active state sponsor of terrorism” according to the U.S. Department of State’s most recent Country Reports on Terrorism. Yet the world continues to turn a blind eye to Iran’s sponsorship of terror, ignoring the suffering of terror victims and the instability sown by terrorist groups acting at the behest of the Islamic Republic of Iran and continuing both threats and attacks throughout the world .

While the United States, Europe and the United Nations have imposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world has not stopped Iran’s continued development of its nuclear enrichment program. Sanctions, strong and clear, approved by the United States Congress and the White House, have not done the job. During his tenure as Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flaunted the international community’s repeated deadlines and there is no indication that Iran’s new President or its Ayatollah leadership will stop their drive to achieve nuclear capability. How can the world accept the prospect of a nuclear Iran, with its inherent real-time dangers, including its threats against Israel and the United States, particularly when viewed through the lens of Iran’s continued sponsorship of terrorist attacks? Indeed, separate from and in addition to the justified and crucially important ongoing focus on Iran’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threat, the time is ripe for the US and the world to take concerted steps to stop Iranian-sponsored terrorism.

SYRIA: A STATE SPONSOR OF TERROR NOW KILLING ITS OWN PEOPLE

The Syrian Arab Republic has been listed on the US Department of State List of State Sponsors of Terror since 1979 and continues today as one of the world’s worst sponsors of terror, funding and providing safe haven for Hezbollah, HAMAS and other terrorist organizations.

Support takes the form of money, passage through and across roads and airports, safe houses and providing safe haven for the training of terrorist organizations and their operatives.

Syria’s relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran has had Syria serving as a conduit for Iranian terrorist sponsorship, as well as the feeding of materials, men, munitions, training and activities in both Syria and Lebanon. Particular focus has been in Lebanon’s Bakaa valley where Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations have trained and operated for decades. Syria hosted the infamous Abu Nidal and his terrorist organization in Damascus and its military-style training camps which operated under Syria’s intelligence and from which the Abu Nidal Organization launched attacks on sites in Europe. Included in these terror assaults were the Rome and Vienna Airport Attacks in 1985 and the EgyptAir Flight 648 Hijacking, also in 1985.

Richard D. Heideman to Appear on the Brandeis Center Blog

We’re pleased to announce that Washington, D.C., lawyer Richard D. Heideman, a world-famous international lawyer, will appear as a guest on the Brandeis Center Blog in the coming week.

Heideman, the Honorary President of B’nai B’rith International,  is known as a tireless advocate for victims of terrorism around the world whose human and individual rights have been violated, as well as a strong supporter of the State of Israel.

Founder of the law firm of Heideman Nudelman & Kalik PC, Heideman serves as lead trial counsel on behalf of American victims of terrorism in claims brought against Libya, Syria, Iran and other organizations and financial institutions accused of providing material support for terrorism. In the past few years, his firm’s clients have been awarded Judgments against the Islamic Republic of Iran in the amounts of $1.27 billion and $813 million; and against Syria in the amounts of $601 million, $51 million and most recently a landmark Judgment of $3.58 billion.

Alice Walker Got What She Deserves

Bravo to the University of Michigan for disinviting Alice Walker – and shame on Walker for reportedly spreading false rumors about Michigan’s reasons for doing so.  The University of Michigan recently withdrew a speaking invitation to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple, who is now known not only for her literary work but also for her virulent anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism.  Walker says that the university was pressured to do so, but the university denies it.

Walker and her agent are spreading an apparently false rumor, which some news outlets continue to disseminate, to the effect that Michigan had disinvited her because of pressure from rich donors.  Calling this a “censorship by purse strings,” Walker and her agent insinuate that her disinvitation was brought on by supposedly inappropriate influence by wealthy Jews.  This charge seems to have traction with some media and internet sources, because it resonates with long-held beliefs about Jewish wealth, influence, and control of major instituitons.  

IAJLJ Seeks Lawyer Signatures for European Union Petition

The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists is circulating this lawyers’ letter, written by Ambassador Alan Baker, which calls upon the European Union to revoke its recent directive against Israeli settlements. The lawyers’ letter will be sent to EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton. If you are an attorney and would like to sign, the organizers request that you reply to office@haforum.org.il as soon as possible.

 

[Letter begins below]

H.E. Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs

Excellency

Re: EU directive regarding Israeli settlements

We, the undersigned, attorneys from across the world who are involved in international law issues as well as being closely concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, respectfully call upon you and the EU to revoke the abovementioned directive which we feel is based on legally flawed and incorrect assumptions regarding both the legality of Israel’s settlements and the status of the pre-1967 Armistice lines as Israel’s border.

Anti-Semitism Returns to the House of Commons

Less than six months after the Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, David Ward, was accused of anti-Semitism for the equating the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews with “the Jews” treatment of the Palestinians, yet another Liberal Democrat MP, Sir Bob Russell, has equated the victims of the Holocaust with the ‘plight of the Palestinians’ since the birth of the state of Israel.

This happened last week during a debate in the House of Commons on the national school curriculum. Given that English law requires the Holocaust to be taught to all school children as part of the History syllabus, Russell asked the Education Minister, Michael Gove, the following question: “On the assumption that [coverage of] the 20th Century will include the Holocaust, will he give me an assurance that the life of Palestinians since 1948 will be given equal attention?”

Bob Russell’s statement, just as David Ward’s, has caused offence to the UK Jewish community and embarrassment to the Liberal-Democrat Friends of Israel, but as yet there has been no apology from Russell and no indication of any censure by the Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.  There has even been little, if any, media attention given to Russell’s comments. It’s as if the ‘Nazification of Israel’, the idea that ‘the Jews are to the Palestinians what the Nazis were to the Jews’, has become so commonplace that it is no longer news worthy.

Yet the idea that the plight of the Palestinians should be given the same prominence in the school curriculum as the Holocaust is not only extremely offensive, but is also absurd. Russell’s equivalence, just like David Ward’s before him, relies on the re-writing of Jewish history and the misreading of the Israel-Palestine conflict. It represents a misjudgement which, like that of the anti-Dreyfusards whose faith in Dreyfus’s guilt contradicted all evidence to the contrary, can only flow from the willingness to believe the absolute worst about Jews. This is anti-Semitism.