Op-ed by LP Advisory Board member Assemb. Lancman, LP in the media, lawfare against the Palmer Report, and more…

Op-ed co-authored by LP Advisory Board member Assemblyman Rory Lancman in NY Daily News

Don’t reward the Palestinians’ ‘lawfare’ campaign with statehood: Make peace with Israel first

The United Nations‘ potential blessing of a Palestinian state in an end run around direct negotiations with Israel will add a dangerous new dimension to the Palestinians’ decades-long campaign of conventional and unconventional war against the Jewish state – the commencement of a full-blown “lawfare” campaign against Israel and its allies. Read more.

Lawfare in the Media

LP director Brooke Goldstein recently appeared on The Source (Canada’s Sun TV) discussing legal threats issued by Saudi Arabia against broadcasters of an EthicalOil.org television ad highlighting the kingdom’s treatment of women and alternatives for the purchase of oil. Watch the interview on YouTube.

Conference call briefing on Palestinian UDI: The Day After now available online

On September 15, The Lawfare Project hosted a telephone briefing on the issue of Palestinian UDI/UDS. The expert discussion regarding legal challenges that may arise following a UN vote on Palestinian Statehood was conducted by Ady Schonmann (Israel’s Legal Advisor to the UN), LP fellow David Benjamin (Israel-based attorney specializing in International Law, the Law of Armed Conflict and Counter-Terrorism) and Jeremy Rabkin (Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law), and moderated by Michael Schwartz (Of Counsel, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz). An mp3 digital recordingof the briefing, including the subsequent question and answer period, is now available on the LP website.

Blog: Lawfare against the Palmer Report

The Report of the Palmer Committee’s investigation into last year’s incident where Israeli troops were attacked while enforcing its naval blockade of Gaza, while critical of the incident itself, clearly acknowledged that “The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.” In other words, the Report stated that the counter-terror naval blockade was, and is, legal under international law. Despite the careful legal analysis contained in the Report, Turkey and several international organizations persist in decrying the blockade as ‘illegal’ in order to serve political goals. In “Lawfare against the Palmer Report,” LP Research Director Aaron Eitan Meyer explains how the pseudo-legal arguments against the Report substitute political doctrine for legal analysis, invert the rule of law, and constitute lawfare.

Lawfare implications of Unilateral Palestinian Action at the United Nations continued

The last Update on Lawfare addressed several issues that relate to planned Palestinian unilateral actions at the United Nations and how these actions appear designed to lead to increased capability to wage lawfare against the State of Israel. An Al Jazeera.com article, “Debating the UN bid for Palestinian statehood,” posed the question to several individuals, including a senior official in Fatah’s foreign relations department, Husam Zomlot, who acknowledged the Palestinian goal of pursuing cases at the ICC and other international fora, but claimed that “Our deterrent is international law.” In a Telegraph article “The Dilemma of Palestine and the United Nations,” Tim Mongomerie considered the same issue, and stated that “Hillary Clinton fears that a Palestinian delegation will harness the UN’s anti-Israel sentiment to pursue relentless acts of “lawfare”. Even observer status could give Palestine the right to attempt multiple, vexatious prosecutions of Israel through the International Criminal Court.” For more detail on how the planned Palestinian actions run afoul of the UN’s formative document, readers are strongly encouraged to read “Palestinians defy the U.N. Charter,” in the National Review’s The Corner by David French and LP adjunct fellow David Benjamin.

A call to protect freedom of thought

One of the goals of lawfare as outlined by The Lawfare Project is to “silence and punish free speech about issues of national security and public concern.” The right to speak freely is enshrined not only by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, but by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which protects one’s right to hold an opinion as well as the right to give that opinion voice. In “Freedom for Arab thought,” Kuwait Timescolumnist Fouad Al-Obaid called for “greater openness” and the need “to purge illogical radicalism” in order to bring about needed change. Al-Obaid made this call in response to the Arab Spring and the danger that the new freedom might be “stolen away by a new form of religious zealot tyranny.” He then made a critical point that there is a demonstrable need to create “an environment where ideas are able to compete freely with no restrictions placed on thought.” Such restrictions hinder the development of the rule of law; suppression in the form of such restrictions, especially by means of lawfare, would have the opposite effect.

Universal jurisdiction amended by the U.K.

In the May 5, 2011 Update on Lawfare, we commented on the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s military attaché Major General Yohanan Locker did not accompanythe PM to the UK due to a threat of a privately sought ‘war crimes’ arrest warrant. At that time, we noted that the “UK has stated for nearly three years that it would alter its much-maligned universal jurisdiction law to prevent such politically motivated threats, but has yet to implement any substantive legal change.” On September 15th, Jennifer Lipman reported this is no longer the case. In the Jewish Chronicle article “Universal Jurisdiction change becomes law,” she noted that the recently-enacted bill, entitled “The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act” provides that “the Director of Public Prosecutions will be required to give his consent when a group calls for an arrest warrant to be issued on the grounds of universal jurisdiction.” The revised law closes a significant loophole in UK law that has been particularly exploited against the State of Israel. Moreover, as Joshua Rozenberg noted in his June 23, 2011 Law Gazette article “It makes sense to restrict arrests for crimes of universal jurisdiction,” the new law will protect not only Israeli diplomats but American and Chinese officials as well. As Rozenberg opined “it is right that politicians and others who previously served as defence ministers or military officers should be able to attend meetings in Britain” without being subjected to the threat of arrest on spurious grounds. The UK should be commended for eliminating this lawfare option from its laws.

Benjamin Ryberg