Wednesday, January 07, 2009

"Lawfare" against Israel

The point Richard Cravatts is trying to make doesn't justify the 1300+ words he spends making it. In essence, his complaint is that NGOs are using international judicial bodies to circumvent Israel's foreign policy in an unfair, arbitrary and harmful (to Israel) manner:

Lawfare enables NGOs to interfere with the military policy of nations with whom they arbitrarily disapprove, and its current use has been focused almost exclusively on Israel, framing the Jewish state as the abuser of human rights and engaging in criminal acts against the perennially victimized Palestinians. The danger, as Ms. Herzberg sees it, is that such litigation, initiated by groups like Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International, World Vision, Save the Children, Al Haq, and others, is often based on a very narrow and preconceived ideology about who deserves rights and protection and who does not, and this bias is almost universally against Israel.

Naturally, the fact that notoriuos disrespecters of international law such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, are concerned with the fate of of Palestinians presently living on the poorest strip of land on Earth, is evidence of a bias against Israel. Never mind that both organizations also condemn the actions of terrorists and that, last time I checked, they were not in the habit of siding with powerful nations against downtrodden groups (being as powerful nations generally find other ways to deal with their downtrodden and restless natives); if they do not understand Israel's need to bomb Palestinians now and again, they clearly operate with a "narrow and preconceived ideology."

Now, one might ask what concrete effect such acts on the part of these NGOs has had on Israel. Cravatts obliges with an answer:

As proof that lawfare against Israel can embolden and even provide moral and legal cover for some of the world’s most egregious human rights offenders, Iran has inanely announced that it was establishing a special court to try Israeli officials, in absentia, for their war crimes committed in the current Gaza operations. Justified by a 1948 U.N. convention on the prevention of genocide to which Iran is a signatory, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki asserted that Israel obviously was committing "genocide against humanity" in Gaza, and that Iran, one of the world’s most deficient nations for the protection of human rights, would now stand in judgment of Israel. "The court is in a special branch in Tehran,” crowed judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi, “and entrusted with the task of dealing with the executors, planners and officials of this [Israeli] regime who have committed crimes."

So, if you follow, the fact that Iran has apparently instituted a kangaroo court for trying Israeli officials (that they will never, ever get their hands on) is evidence that suits against Israel in international judicial bodies emboldens the enemy.

I really don't know what to make of arguments like this. If Israeli hawks are so certain of the moral justice of their actions against the Palestinians, why would they be concerned about the extremely non-binding "advisory" opinions of international courts? 

If my study of law has taught me anything, it has taught me that when someone wants to prevent you from even being able to make your case in court against them, it's usually because they aren't on the most solid legal ground. Granted their are vast differences between the local district court and the International Court of Justice, but the principle is essentially the same.

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