Update on Lawfare from The Lawfare Project

1) Award-Winning Article on Lawfare by LP Student Fellow Maxwell Kligerman

Hamas’ Use of Lawfare During Operation CAST LEAD,” by Maxwell Kligerman, The Lawfare Project, May 4, 2011 (United States). Maxwell Kligerman is a Student Fellow of The Lawfare Project, and is currently a senior at Duke University, majoring in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. In this paper, he analyzes “the possibility of utilizing lawfare as a potential tool to explain the Palestinian civilian casualty rate during Israel’s three-week long campaign against Hamas known as Operation CAST LEAD,” and considers that “lawfare is an emerging threat that countries like the United States must be prepared to confront.” The paper received a 2011 Alona E. Evans Prize in International Law, which is awarded annually to papers written in the field of international law that reflect excellence in scholarship.

The abstract and entire paper are available on The Lawfare Project’s website at https://thelawfareproject.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=339:hamas-use-of-lawfare-during-operation-cast-lead&catid=31:articles-by-lp-staff&Itemid=46 and https://thelawfareproject.org/KligermanLawfare%20Paper.pdf, respectively.

2) Lawfare News

The following recent articles will serve to illustrate how lawfare is continuing to manifest around the world.

a. Osama Bin Laden Killed, Lawfare Potentially Developing
Late on May 1st, President Obama announced that a Navy SEAL team had killed Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, who had been located in Pakistan after a search that spanned nearly a decade. Despite considerable support of the action across the political spectrum within the United States and elsewhere, Stephanie Nebehay reported for Reuters that U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has already publicly called upon the US “to give the U.N. details about Osama bin Laden’s killing and said that all counter-terrorism operations must respect international law.” In response to a Der Spiegel article that cast doubt on the President’s statement that justice was served by Bin Laden’s death, law professor David Bernstein posted to The Volokh Conspiracy blog an entry that identified the mindset expressed in Der Spiegel as indicative of what he has termed the ‘cult of international law,’ in which “cultists are inclined to take the most restrictive, often extremely tendentious view of international law, in which international law becomes a substitute for otherwise passe leftist pacifism or anti-Americanism.” The articles are available in their entirety at http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/03/us-binladen-un-rights-idUSTRE7424Y220110503 and http://volokh.com/2011/05/03/the-cult-of-international-law-revisited/, respectively.

b. “’Litigating Palestine’ at a Public-supported Law School,” by Stephen Schwartz, American Thinker, April 24, 2011 (US). Stephen Schwartz, executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, reported on a controversial conference held at the University of California’s Hastings School of Law at the end of March. In the article he stated that hosting the conference “demonstrated its [the law school’s] utility in the “lawfare” offensive against Israel,” and concluded that “Hastings officials were correct in withdrawing their sponsorship and canceling the participation of their dean in this effort.” Although the article deals specifically with lawfare in the context of anti-Israel activity (due to the subject matter of the conference) the definition of lawfare linked to therein is that of The Lawfare Project. The article is available in its entirety at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/04/litigating_palestine_at_a_publ.html.

For a current example of how lawfare is actively employed against Israel, see “Netanyahu aide threatened with arrest,” which reports that the Israeli Prime Minister’s military attaché, Major General Yohanan Locker did not accompany Netanyahu to the United Kingdom due to the threat of arrest for ‘war crimes.’ 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. The article is available in its entirety at http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/05/05/Netanyahu-aide-threatened-with-arrest/UPI-20861304599106/.

Benjamin Ryberg