Blumenthal went to this seven-hour conference, held Thursday by the ‘Lawfare Project’ in New York, and has written a great blog post about it at Mondoweiss.
The Lawfare Project has activities in both Israel and the U.S., that are designed primarily to discredit all those human rights activists and organizations worldwide that have criticized Israel’s actions, to criticize those provisions of the laws of war that they consider somehow “unfairly” hamper the armies of states that they judge to be “democracies”, and to work to overturn those provisions.
Sound familiar? Yes, of course these last two things were a big part of what Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, David Addington, and John Yoo tried to do after 9/11, as well. They were arguing then– and the Lawfare Project is arguing now– that in the “unprecedented” circumstances of today’s worldwide war between the forces of “good” and of “evil”, the “old” norms and existing body of laws of war, which seek evenhanded application between all warring parties and seek to provide protections, in particular, to the citizens who are the victims of war, need urgently to be revised– and pending that, worked around.
How very sad, therefore, to see that one of the three co-chairs of Thursday’s conference was the Dean of Columbia Law School, David Schizer. Blumenthal has a seven-minute video clip from his speech, in the blog post.
Go read Blumenthal’s whole post, which is extremely well researched, as well as well written.
The flier for the conference notes that,
- This program has been approved in accordance with the requirements of the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board for a maximum of 6.5 Transitional and Non-Transitional MCLE credits: 1 Ethics and 5,5 Professional Practice.
I think it’s outrageous and tragic that the Dean of a once-fine law school like Columbia is lending his prestige to this highly anti-democratic and anti-humane campaign (a major aim of which is to trash Judge Goldstone and block demands for implementing his report.)
But at a broader level, many of the developments within the Jewish liberal establishment in the U.S. are fascinating, because we are now seeing for the first time ever, I think, sharp debates within this establishment over the morality of actions taken by the current Israeli government and also, underlying that, over the morality of many of these very same tactics and strategies as have been used in Palestine by the Zionist settler movement throughout its entire 115-year history there.