Does Israel Have a Right to Exist?
As bad as the settlements are–and as the video above makes clear, they have in essence destroyed any chance of peace–maybe the time has come to stop having debates about the settlements per se. Maybe the time has come instead to approach the problem from an entirely different perspective–maybe, rather than deliberate and wrangle over settlements, the real issue humanity should take up now, after witnessing 50 years of illegal occupation and land grabs, is the question of whether Israel should even have a right to exist at all.
A three-day conference entitled “International Law & the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism, and Responsibility” is scheduled to take place this spring in Ireland. (H/T Rehmat) A visit to the conference website would suggest that this indeed is the question, or at least one of the questions, the conference will attempt to answer.
This is a conference that was initially supposed to have been held in 2015 at the University of Southampton in the UK, but which had to be postponed–and eventually cancelled altogether–due to Zionist pressure applied to the university administration.
It has since been moved to University College Cork, in Cork, Ireland, where Zionists are still trying their utmost to abort it from happening, although so far they have not succeeded.
A statement by the organizers has been posted on their website which reads in part:
This conference will be the first of its kind and constitutes a ground-breaking historical event on the road towards justice and enduring peace in historic Palestine. It is unique because, while most attention today is directed at Israel’s actions in the 1967 Occupied Territories, the conference seeks to expand the debate surrounding the nature of the State of Israel and the legal and political reality within it.
The conference will raise questions that link the suffering in historic Palestine to the manner of Israel’s foundation and its nature. It aims to generate a debate on legitimacy, exceptionalism and responsibility under international law as provoked by the nature of the Israeli state. It will also examine how international law could be deployed, expanded, and even re-imagined, in order to achieve peace and reconciliation based on justice.
A “ground-breaking historical event” that will explore questions surrounding Israel’s “legitimacy” is something that is of course long overdue. Additionally the website states:
Legal scholarship on Palestine-Israel and international law, involving issues of self-determination, human rights and constitutional law, has largely focused on the Israeli occupation since 1967 of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza and on the illegality of Israel’s settlements and apartheid colonization in these territories.
Alongside these debates, there has been a persistent, if marginalized, scholarship examining and analyzing problems associated with the creation and the nature of the Jewish state itself and the status of Jerusalem. This research has combined historical scholarship and legal analysis of the manner by which the State of Israel came into existence as well as what kind of state it is. The issues explored hitherto linked reflections on the scholarship between international law and: identity and injustice; violence and morality; nationality and citizenship; self-determination and legitimacy; exceptionalism; and responsibility.
Hopefully these debates–i.e. on Israel’s “foundation and its nature,” and, by turn, its ensuing “legitimacy” or lack thereof–will continue to be “marginalized” for not much longer. And a conference of this nature stands a good chance of helping to push the issue from the margins to the mainstream.
Perhaps this is why Zionists are working so feverishly to stop it. The Board of Deputies of British Jews reportedly was instrumental in killing off the conference in the UK, and according to a report here the Israeli Embassy in Ireland is now issuing condemnations of the organizers.
The conference is scheduled to take place March 31-April 2, 2017. The list of confirmed speakers includes academics from the US, the UK, and Israel:
- Professor Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Research Fellow of the Orfalea Centre of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara
- Professor Ilan Pappe, Department of History, University of Exeter
- Professor Ugo Mattei, Distinguished Professor of Law, and Alfred and Hanna Fromm Chair in International and Comparative Law, University of California, Hastings College of the Law
- Professor Cheryl Harris, School of Law, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
- Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Faculty of Law/Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
- Dr. Azmi Bishara General Director, Doha Institute of Graduate Studies, and former Member of the Knesset
- Elias Khouri, Novelist, Beirut
- Dr. Haitam Suleiman, Al-Quds University Jerusalem
- Dr. Salman Abu-Sitta, Palestine Land Society
- Dr. Anthony Löwstedt, Media Communications Department, Webster University Vienna
- Dr. Blake Alcott, Independent Researcher
- Dr. Catriona Drew, School of Law, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
- Dr. Ghada Karmi, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter
- Dr. Hatem Bazian, Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at Berkeley University of California (UC Berkeley)
- Dr. Jeff Handmaker, the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University (EUR)
- Dr. John Reynolds, Law Department, National University of Ireland Maynooth
- Dr. Marcelo Svirsky, School of Humanities & Social Inquiry LHA Faculty, University of Wollongong
- Dr. Mazen Masri, City Law School, City University of London
- Dr. Michael Kearney, School of Law, University of Sussex
- Dr. Mutaz Qafisheh, College of Law, Hebron University
- Dr. Ronit Lentin, Retired Associate Professor in Sociology, Trinity College Dublin
- Dr. Ruba Salih, Centre for Gender Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
- Dr. Valentina Azarova, Centre for Global Public Law, Koç Üniversitesi
- Dr. Victor Kattan, Law Faculty, National University of Singapore
- Joni Assi, Community arts activist
- Mr. Eitan Bronstein Aparicio, Co-Director of De-Colonizer and Founder of Zochrot
- Ms. Lea Tsemel, Lawyer and human rights activist
- Ms. Mia Tamarin, Law School, University of Kent
- Ms. Ofra Yeshua-Lyth, Writer, journalist, and member of Jaffa One State Group.
- Ms. Salma Karmi Ayyub, Barrister
- Professor Alan Johnson, Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM)
- Professor Brad Roth, College of Liberal Arts & Science and School of Law, Wayne State University
- Professor Geoffrey Alderman, Politics and Contemporary History, University of Buckingham
- Professor George Bisharat, Hastings College of the Law University of California
- Professor Haim Bresheeth, Centre for Media Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
- Professor Joel Kovel, Independent Researcher.
- Professor John Strawson, School of Law, University of East London
- Professor Kevin Jon Heller, School of Law, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
- Professor Nur Masalha, Centre for Religion and History, St. Mary’s University
- Professor Oren Ben-Dor, Law School, University of Southampton, UK.
- Professor Penny Green, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London
- Professor Robert Wintemute, Law School, King’s College London
- Professor Robert Home, Law School, Anglia Ruskin University
- Professor Virginia Tiley, Professor of Political Science, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
- Professor Yakov Rabkin, Department of History, University of Montréal
- Professor Yosefa Loshitzky, Centre for Media Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
- Adv. Yoella Har-Shefi, legal adviser for the Ani-Israeli Association and a human rights activist