(Without Justice And Without A Judge) Tulsa (לית דין ולית דיין)


לית דין ולית דיין


The accounts here of gruesome death from the race-massacre in Tulsa bring to mind the words of the arch heretic in midrash and Talmud, Elisha ben Abuye, reflecting in response to Roman rule; the world is leit din v’leit dayyan “without justice and without a judge.”

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Judaism, Pandemic, and Race-Terror (Susannah Heschel)


Simply one of the best things out there from a Jewish perspective tying together into a single word a response to the Coronavirus pandemic and to the pandemic of anti-black racism in America. Susannah Heschel posted it here at Immanent Frame.  She takes her cue from Ashkenazi folklore to challenge the Jewish community to get its own moral house in order. A response to pandemic and plague, the inversion of the so-called Black Wedding, the wedding of orphans in a cemetery mimics the rot it is meant to ward off.

“The central question is whether Jews have anything to contribute to ending our racism crisis or whether we have rendered ourselves irrelevant. Without mobilizing principles of justice, we will emerge from this pandemic in a far deeper epidemic, sickening and bringing death to Jewish principles. Perhaps fear of the virus made these panelists unable to mobilize their conscience. We may look down at the foolishness of a shvartze chasene, but perhaps it is alerting us that fear must not smother moral courage.

Our society is also inverted. Police, sworn to uphold the law, lynch people in front of video cameras. The president foments violence while holding Bible for news media. The eyes of justice wink at the politicians, and pride gloats where shame should drown us.

I’m not advocating a revival of the shvartze chasene but take a lesson: that all the rational advice of doctors, epidemiologists, and virologists is not sufficient. Racial terror and the terror of mass death are also epidemics needing our attention. There is one cure for the epidemic of fear: justice, the assurance that we live in a society rooted in moral values, that health is the concern of all, that everyone’s family is secure and will never be abandoned, but always cared for, and that all human beings are equally precious.”

[[image: Mayer Kirshenblatt: The Black Wedding in the Cemetery, ca. 1892, 1996, acrylic on canvas. From the book They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of Jewish Life in Poland Before the Holocaust by Mayer Kirshenblatt and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (University of California Press, 2007).]]


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White Nationalism At Tablet


[h/t Jeffrey Blutinger]

Why would a prominent online magazine of crypto-conservative Jewish culture and politics publish “American Racist: A Q & A with Kevin MacDonald, the country’s most influential white identitarian ideologue”? A large indented block quote by interviewer David Samuels here at Tablet sets out to answer that very question. “What strikes me [David Samuels] as useful isn’t to ban anti-Semites and racists, or to attempt to argue them out of their symptoms. Rather, it is simply to know what they sound like.” The problem is that the anti-Semite and racist interviewed at Tablet sounds not entirely unlike and perhaps a little like the interviewer at Tablet.

For my part, I am more interested in Tablet than in MacDonald. Symptomatic is why Tablet sought to platform white nationalism in the first place and where does this decision position Tablet on the American Jewish ideological eco-sphere. The interview itself is a boring and banal slog; in parts snarky and in parts chummy; two bros talking. (Samuels likes American whiskey and “American women,” at least when they are not “bonkers.”) What the interview confirms is something someone at Tablet told me in private; Tablet has set itself “at the forefront” against “the stupidities of the woke left.” And this position in the fight against the left identity politics from the standpoint of a journal dedicated to a particular form of Jewish group identity puts Tablet in the corner of soft white nationalism.

Samuels and MacDonald seem to share two things.


First there is the shared illiberalism. The white nationalist assumes that Jews exercise the genetic pre-disposition of a living organism that sets itself up in an organized way against its host. Somewhere in the background, you can hear Tablet wish. Alas, if only American Jews were so cohesive a group.

The starting problem is expressed in the question by the interviewer: “But how you do see that kind of group dynamic functioning in modern Western societies, like the United States, where communal controls are completely absent?” [[Note: I am putting Samuels in bold and his interviewee in italics]]

Samuel’s question is in fact very in sync with a reactionary world-view. It presupposes a dystopian vision of liberal society, a reactionary yen for strong communal controls, as per another question posed by Samuels concerning a “coherent, disciplined group of people operating in a strategic way.” Samuel asks: “You suggest that Jews are a highly organized group of people. Jews as a group are very cohesive. Jews as a group have a clear, observable capacity for disciplining group members while pursuing conscious, top-down strategies. None of these statements rings true to my own experience of Jews.” 

What MacDonald writes of the immigrants from East Europe is par for the course at Tablet. This is the normative picture, a fantasy, of Jewishness, of “immigrants coming from Eastern Europe [who] were mainly Orthodox and were very clannish, I would say, especially when they first got here. I think they retained a sense of identity and a sense of group cohesion, despite the lack of community control. And of course, some Jews didn’t like that. They married somebody else. They decided they wouldn’t even want to be Jewish, and they left. But that certainly didn’t apply to the mainstream.”

Setting aside MacDonald’s racism, the difference here between Samuels and his interviewee is that the latter purports to see is what the interviewer wishes were true re: a cohesive American Jewish identity.


The second thing is that neither Samuels nor MacDonald like “multiculturalism.” That becomes a common bond as the interview unfolds.

“So, do you think American Jews are now being bitten in the ass by their own multicultural utopianism?”, Samuels asks, to which the interviewee responds, They may well be.

“Do you find it funny that every other group except for the self-defined or historically defined “white” group is now officially licensed to speak about itself as a group?”

“Do I find it funny?


“Sorry. Does it make you angry?”


“I think it’s producing incredible divisions. In a way, I’m sort of happy to see that, because it’s ultimately going to produce more white identity.”


Just today I was tweeting this article from The New York Times about Trump being the origin of the huge increase in white identity and consciousness, because of the way he talks about things—and I think that’s probably right. But it’s not a hard sell, because of what you say. Everybody’s got a group now. Whites are a group, too.

I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad idea. I think it’s a good idea. We can’t decree a world in which people stop having these identities. And more and more, you see this hate against white America. It’s a pejorative now.”

That’s true,” agrees Samuel simply and without argument.


Now that Samuels agrees with the ethno-nationalist that the left hates “white America,” the interview concludes weaving together the two strands I have suggested that we mark out: the idea of social cohesion and the animus against multicultural identitarian politics. Even as the interviewer seeks to identify right and left identitarianism, there no longer seems to be any significant daylight between the interviewer and the interviewee aside from the difference between what might be bad for “you” and what might still be good for “us.”

“It scares me,” writes Samuels, “that the language that you have been using for the past 25 years, identitarian language, the language of race and group identity, has now become the dominant language in American politics, on both the right and on the left.”

Yeah. Well, you know, when you’re in the university setting, I mean, you see all these departments, and the whole reason for their existence is their identities—black studies. Jewish studies. Asian studies. American Indian studies. Then we have the LGBTQ. And all these people appreciate identity. I always think it’s a top-down thing. You source it academically. And then it spreads out through the elite media.”

There’s no such thing as elite media anymore.

“I mean, that’s how Trump got elected in the first place.”

I think we are seeing the inherent volatility of a society where you’ve eliminated that stabilizer, and plugged us all into machines that amplify difference and conflict.

There was truly a consensus. An elite consensus that filtered down, that was dependent on controlling consensus in the media, which was formed by the critical class, whose power is now broken.

“That is too bad for you. I hope that it can still be good for us.”


The attempt to split the difference at Tablet between “us” and “them” is too clever by half, like that tongue in cheek thought exercise about the putative whiteness of “a Jewish guy, or a black guy, or a really big, black Jewish guy” and “I happen to love listening to Mozart, you know, and eating Napoleons for dessert.” And it turns out that both “like” black jazz. The final joke is that even while Samuels plays MacDonald like a fool, it’s Samuels who ends up in agreement with MacDonald about white ID and multiculturalism.

[[For more, there’s a full blown critique, see this Twitter thread by Ben Lorber. Jeffrey Blutinger’s long post at FB about the interview is here. On FB, Elliot Ratzman posted this 2000 piece here by Judith Shulevitch that includes bibliographical details and a synopsis of MacDonald’s written work, his trilogy relating to anti-Semitism in terms of group evolutionary psychology.  His page the Southern Poverty Law Center is here. The upshot is that you don’t need to puff interview with a racist and anti-Semite to know what’s on his mind. For students of contemporary American Jewish culture, what remains unclear is just how close is Tablet going to inch towards soft forms of white nationalism in the pursuit of the objects of its own animus.]]

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New York City Civil War Memorials


New York City Civil War Memorials are on the right side of history. And then, of course, the street names, especially in Brooklyn.

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(Anti-Monument) Lives & Deaths of Racist Images

Christopher Columbus Statue - Minnesota State Capitoldeface2deface4deface5deface6.

Idols and icons lead complex lives, they enact suffering and they suffer violence when screws turn. Historian and theorist of art and architecture and post-Holocaust memorialization, James Young writes here on memory and counter-memory, monuments and counter- or anti-monuments, the marking of one destruction with another destruction. And consider this article, Counter monuments the anti monumental and the dialogic by Quentin Stevens, Karen A. Franck, Ruth Fazakerley from the Journal of Architecture. And this short history of the anti-monument here at the Interventionist Aesthetics blog. For a review of recent events toppling and defacing racist monuments, see here.

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What To Do With Jewish Studies Letter on Annexation & Apartheid

Israeli annexation explained: What is Netanyahu planning for the ...

Yes, I can anticipate the jokes and jibes, friendly and unfriendly, but…..

Here’s what you can do with the Jewish Studies Letter on Annexation and Apartheid.

This is the main site: Letter Against Annexation & Apartheid in Israel.

–Promote on social media

–Retweet this specific Tweet at Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZacharyBraiterm/status/1270796681374773252 (The more people who retweet this tweet the better)

–Share with university and college colleagues, including Deans

–Share with journalists

–Share with political representatives in Congress, Senate, Knesset

–Share with social activists you know

–Share with your clergy if you attend religious institutions

–If you are a university or college professor or student, send to your local Hillel rabbi

–Share with family and friends (an ice-breaker:

–Tell them you can’t oppose racism in the U.S. and support it in Israel


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(International Law Professors) Letter against Annexation of the West Bank

international law

A letter addressed to Israeli government leadership by a long list of international law scholars against annexation of West Bank territories. Scroll down for the English. I’m also posting a PDF here [[H/t Nathaniel Berman]]




חבר הכנסת בנימין נתניהו, ראש הממשלה

חבר הכנסת בני גנץ, ראש הממשלה החליפי ושר הביטחון

חבר הכנסת גבי אשכנזי, שר החוץ

חבר הכנסת אבי ניסנקורן, שר המשפטים

ד”ר אביחי מנדלבליט, היועץ המשפטי לממשלה




החתומים מטה, אנשי אקדמיה מישראל והעולם העוסקים במשפט בין לאומי, מבקשים להביע בפניכם את  חששנו הכבד בנוגע לכוונתה של מדינת ישראל, כפי שבאה לידי ביטוי בדברי ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו, לפעול לסיפוח חד צדדי של חלקים מהגדה המערבית ב- 1 ביולי 2020 או לאחר מכן.


צעד כזה יהווה הפרה בוטה של עקרונות יסוד במשפט הבין לאומי, וייצור איום רציני על היציבות הבין לאומית באזור.


האיסור על סיפוח חד צדדי של שטח שנתפס בכוח מוכר באופן אוניברסלי ככלל יסוד במשפט הבין לאומי. כל בתי הדין הבין לאומיים )ביניהם בית הדין הבין לאומי בהאג( וכל המוסדות הבין לאומיים )ביניהם העצרת הכללית ומועצת הביטחון של האו”ם( אשר עסקו בסוגייה זו, כמו גם הרוב המכריע של משפטנים בין לאומיים, מאשרים קביעה זו ללא סייגים. איסור זה חל בין אם מדובר בשטחים בריבונותן של מדינות אחרות ובין אם מדובר בשטחים שאינם עצמאיים שבהם חיים עמים הזכאים לקבוע את עתידם הפוליטי מכוח הזכות להגדרה עצמית. נוסף על כן, איסור זה חל על כל שטח שנתפס בכוח, אף אם נטען שהשימוש בכוח היה לכתחילה פעולה של הגנה עצמית.


הגדה המערבית נתפסה בכוח ב- 1967 . העצרת הכללית של האו”ם, מועצת הביטחון של האו”ם ובית הדין הבין  לאומי הכירו בעקביות בשטח זה כשטח כבוש, שבו העם הפלסטיני זכאי לממש את זכותו להגדרה עצמית. כך המצב אף אם הפרטים בדבר הסדרי ביטחון וגבולות סופיים עשויים להיקבע במשא ומתן דו צדדי. יתר על כן, מזה עשרות שנים מחילים ממשלת ישראל ובית המשפט העליון את דיני התפיסה הלוחמתית בגדה המערבית. הדבר בא לידי ביטוי בעשרות פסקי דין של בית המשפט העליון, ובעמדתה של ישראל בהתבטאויותיה בפני המוסדות המפקחים על אמנות בין לאומיות, בהן היא טוענת שהגדה המערבית אינה תחת סמכות ישראלית בכל הנוגע לתחולתן של אמנות זכויות אדם.


מהאמור עולה שסיפוח חד צדדי של חלק מהשטח יהווה הפרה של האיסור הבסיסי על סיפוח, כמו גם של הזכות להגדרה עצמית. צעד כזה יהיה בטל מעיקרו, יגרור אחריות בין לאומית בגין הפרה של המשפט בין לאומי, ובנסיבות מסוימות עלול להוביל לאחריות פלילית אישית על פי המשפט הבין לאומי. בהקשר זה אין חשיבות להבחנה בין “החלת ריבונות”, “החלת המשפט, השיפוט והמינהל”, או סיפוח במפורש. לסיפוח בפועל יש אותן תוצאות משפטיות כמו לסיפוח פורמלי.

נוסף על כן, צעד כזה אינו יכול להביא באופן חוקי, או להצדיק, הסדרים מפלים, בין היתר בנוגע לאזרחות או זכויות קניין.


אנו מבקשים להזכירכם שבמזכר היועץ המשפטי לממשלה שפורסם לאחרונה נטען במפורש שכל ההיבטים הטריטוריאליים בסכסוך הישראלי-פלסטיני צריכים לבוא על פתרונם במשא ומתן דו צדדי. 1 צעדים לסיפוח שטחים עומדים בניגוד להתחייבות זו. יתרה מכך, בהתאם לעמדתה ארוכת השנים של ישראל שהגדה המערבית נתונה תחת תפיסה לוחמתית, ישראל טענה בעקביות שפעולותיה בשטח מוצדקות נוכח זמניות המצב, ומונעות מטעמי ביטחון בלבד. 2 כל צעד לסיפוח שטחים יעמיד בסימן שאלה טיעונים קודמים ועתידיים של ישראל על כך שפעולותיה אכן מונעות אך ורק מצרכים בטחוניים לגיטימיים.


אנו מבקשים מכם בכל לשון של בקשה לשקול מחדש תוכנית פעולה זו, שהיא במובהק בלתי חוקית ויש סבירות גבוהה שתגרור תוצאות קשות, לרבות אי הכרה ותוצאות אחרות הנובעות מהפרות של המשפט בין לאומי. זאת בנוסף לנזק ללגיטימיות של מדינת ישראל וליחסי החוץ שלה, ולסיכוי גבוה להסלמה אלימה.


מצ”ב הנוסח באנגלית, ובסופו רשימת החתומים. שיוך מוסדי מובא לצרכי זיהוי.


1 היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, “היעדר סמכות השיפוט של בית הדין הפלילי הבין-לאומי על המצב המכונה ‘המצב בפלסטין'”, 20 בדצמבר 2019 , פס’ 41 .

2 כך, למשל, בנוגע לחוקיות גדר ההפרדה, ישראל טענה –בעקיפין בפני בית הדין הבין לאומי בהאג, ובמישרין בבית המשפט העליון –שתוואי הגדרה נקבע משיקולי ביטחון בלבד, ואינו מיועד לקבוע גבולות. אכן, כפי שנקבע בבית המשפט העליון בשבתו כבג”ץ ,”המפקד הצבאי אינו מוסמך להורות על הקמת גדר ההפרדה אם הטעם המונח ביסוד הקמת הגדר הוא טעם מדיני, שעניינו “סיפוח”

שטחים מהאזור למדינת ישראל וקביעת גבולה המדיני של ישראל”, בג”ץ 7957/04 מרעאבה נ’ ראש ממשלת ישראל ) 2005 ( פס’ 15 .



June 10, 2020


MK Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister

MK Benny Gantz, Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense

MK Gabi Ashkenazi, Minister of Foreign Relations

MK Avi Nissenkorn, Minister of Justice

Dr. Avichai Mandelblit, Attorney General State of Israel


Dear Sirs,


We, the undersigned, scholars of public international law, are writing to express our grave concern regarding the intention of the State of Israel, as expressed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to move towards the unilateral annexation of areas in the West Bank on or after 1 July 2020.


Such an action would constitute a flagrant violation of bedrock rules of international law, and would also pose a serious threat to international stability in a volatile region.


The norm prohibiting unilateral annexation of territory acquired by force has come to be universally recognized as a basic rule of international law. All international courts (including the International Court of Justice) and all international institutions (including the UN General Assembly and Security Council) who have considered this matter, as well as the overwhelming majority of international jurists, affirm this rule unequivocally. This prohibition applies equally to territories belonging to other states, as well as to non-self-governing territories in which peoples are entitled to determine their political fate in accordance with the right to self-determination. Furthermore, this prohibition applies to all territories occupied by force, even if it is claimed that force was initially used in an act of self-defense.


The West Bank was taken by force in 1967. It has been consistently recognized by the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council, and the International Court of Justice as an occupied territory, in which the Palestinian people is entitled to fulfill its right to self-determination. This remains so even if bilateral negotiations could determine the details of security arrangements and final borders. Furthermore, the Israeli government as well as the Israeli Supreme Court have for decades applied the law of belligerent occupation to the West Bank. This is demonstrated in dozens of decisions by the Supreme Court of Israel, as well as in Israel’s positions before international treaty bodies, where it argues that the West Bank is not under Israeli jurisdiction for the purpose of application of human rights treaties.


It follows that unilateral annexation of any part of this territory would violate the fundamental norm prohibiting annexation as well as the right to self-determination. As such, it would be null and void, entail consequences of international wrongfulness, and – under certain circumstances – lead to individual international criminal liability. In this context, it matters not whether such actions would be effected through “extension of sovereignty,” “extension of law, jurisdiction, and administration,” or explicit annexation. De facto annexation entails the same legal consequences as de jure annexation. Additionally, in no case can such an act lawfully bring about or justify discriminatory results, inter alia in relation to citizenship or property rights.


We would like to remind you that In a recent memo by Israel’s Attorney General, it was argued explicitly that all territorial aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be resolved through bilateral negotiations.3 Moves to annex parts of the territory would run counter to this pledge. Furthermore, in accordance with its longstanding position that the West Bank is held under belligerent occupation, Israel consistently argued that its actions in the territory are justified by the temporary nature of the situation, and motivated by security concerns alone.4 Any move to annex territories will put in question past and future arguments by Israel that its actions are indeed concerned only with legitimate security needs.


We therefore urge you to reconsider this path, which is clearly unlawful and will most likely have adverse consequences, including non-recognition and other consequences of an internationally wrongful act. This is in addition to the harm to the legitimacy and foreign relations of the State of Israel, and to a high likelihood of violent escalation.


3 State of Israel, Office of the Attorney General, The International Criminal Court’s Lack of Jurisdiction over the So-Called “Situation in Palestine” §49 (Dec. 20, 2019).

4 For instance, concerning the legality of the West Bank Wall/Security Barrier, Israel claimed –indirectly before the International Court of Justice and directly in its own Supreme Court – that the route of the Wall is strictly based on security considerations, and is not designed to determine borders. Indeed, as ruled by the Israeli Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, “the military commander is not authorized to order the construction of a separation fence, if the reason behind the fence is a political goal of ‘annexing’ territories of the area to the State of Israel and to determine Israel’s political border.” See HCJ 7957/04 Mara’abe v. The Prime Minister of Israel §15 (2005).



Signatories (affiliations are for identification purposes):


Mads Andenas, Professor, Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo

Kyo Arai, Professor of International Law, Doshisha University, Kyoto

Yutaka Arai, Professor in International Human Rights Law, Brussels School of International Studies, University of Kent, Brussels

Cecilia M. Bailliet, Professor of International Law, University of Oslo, Norway

Orna Ben-Naftali, Emile Zola Chair for Human Rights, Shtricks Scool of Law, The College of Management


Daniel Benoliel, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa

Eyal Benvenisti, Whewell Professor of International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge

Nathaniel A. Berman, Rahel Varnhagen Professor, Brown University

Nehal Bhuta, Professor of Public International Law, University of Edinburgh

Eirik Bjorge, Professor of Law, University of Bristol Law School

Ziv Bohrer, Senior Lecturer, Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law

Bill Bowring, Professor of Law, School of Law, Birkbeck University of London

Tomer Broude, Bessie & Michael Greenblatt, Q.C., Chair in Public and International Law, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Jutta Brunnée, University Professor, Metcalf Chair in Environmental Law, University of Toronto Faculty of Law


Gráinne de Búrca, Florence Ellinwood Allen Professor of Law, NYU School of Law

Sarah H. Cleveland, Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights, Columbia Law School


Geoff S. Corn, Vinson & Elkins Professor of Law, South Texas College of Law Houston

Harlan G. Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law, University of Georgia


Olivier Corten, Professor of International Law, Université libre de Bruxelles

Matthew Craven, Professor of International Law, SOAS, University of London

Omar M. Dajani, Professor of Law, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific

Tom Dannenbaum, Assistant Professor of International Law, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University


Natalie Davidson, Lecturer, Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University

Janina Dill, Associate Professor, University of Oxford Department of Politics and International Relations


Catriona Drew, Lecturer in International Law, School of Law, SOAS University of London

Dieter Fleck, Honorary President, International Society for Military Law and the Law of War

Gregory Fox, Professor of Law, Wayne State University Law School

Tarcisio Gazzini, Professor of International Law, University of East Anglia

Robin Geiss, Chair of International Law and Security, University of Glasgow; Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law, The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights


Rotem Giladi, Teaching Fellow in International Law, University of Edinburgh Law School

Christine D. Gray, Emerita Professor of International Law, University of Cambridge Faculty of Law

James A. Green, Professor of Public International Law, University of Reading

Aeyal Gross, Professor of Law, Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University

Francoise Hampson, Emerita Professor of Law, University of Essex

Matthew Happold, Professor of Public International Law, Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance, University of Luxembourg


Guy Harpaz, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law and Department of International Relations, Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Adil Haque, Professor of Law and Judge Jon O. Newman Scholar, Rutgers Law School

Kevin Jon Heller, Associate Professor of International Law, University of Amsterdam, Professor of Law, Australian National University


Christian Henderson, Professor of International Law, University of Sussex

Larissa van den Herik, Professor of Public International Law, Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University


Moshe Hirsch, Maria Von Hofmannsthal Chair in International Law, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Tamar Hostovsky Brandes, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Ono Academic College

Robert Howse, Lloyd C. Nelson Professor of International Law, NYU School of Law

Ardi Imseis, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University

Ioannis Kalpouzos, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School; Lecturer in Law, City University of London


Alexandre (Sandy) Kedar, Associate Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa.

Jan Klabbers, Professor, University of Helsinki Faculty of Law

Jann K. Kleffner, Professor of International Law, Swedish Defence University

Robert Kolb, Professor of Public International Law, Law Faculty, University of Geneva

Martti Koskenniemi, Professor of International Law, University of Helsinki Faculty of Law

Shiri Krebs, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Deakin University

David Kretzmer, Professor Emeritus of International Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Nico Krisch, Professor of International Law, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva

Nicolas Levrat, Professor of European and International Law, Global studies Institute, University of Geneva


Eliav Lieblich, Senior Lecturer, Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University

Karin Loevy, JSD Program Manager and IILJ Research Scholar, NYU Law School of Law

Marco Longobardo, Lecturer in International Law, University of Westminster

David Luban, University Professor and Professor of Law and Philosophy, Georgetown University Law Center


Noam Lubell, Professor of International Law, School of Law, University of Essex

Doreen Lustig, Senior Lecturer, Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University

Itamar Mann, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Haifa University

Susan Marks, Professor of International Law, London School of Economics

Tamar Megiddo, Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa


Marko Milanovic, Professor of Public International Law, University of Nottingham School of Law

Makane Moïse Mbengue, Professor of International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Geneva

Kirsten McConnachie, Associate Professor in Law, University of East Anglia

Samuel Moyn, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence and Professor of History, Yale University

Stefan Oeter, Professor of Public International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Hamburg

Phoebe Okowa, Professor of Public International Law, Queen Mary, University of London

Anne Orford, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, Michael D Kirby Chair of International Law, Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne


Dianne Otto, Francine V. McNiff Chair in Human Rights Law, Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne


Paolo Palchetti, Professor of International Law, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Anne Peters, Managing Director, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg


Frances Raday, Elias Lieberman Chair in Labour Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Director of Concord Research Institute for Integration of International Law in Israel, Shtricks School of Law, The College of Management


Surabhi Ranganathan, University Senior Lecturer, University of Cambridge Faculty of Law

Steven R. Ratner, Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

Yaël Ronen, Professor of Law at the Academic Center for Science and Law at Hod Hasharon; Minerva Center for Human Rights, Hebrew University in Jerusalem

Brad R. Roth, Professor of Political Science and Law, Wayne State University

Tom Ruys, Professor of International Law, Ghent University

Michal Saliternik, Lecturer, Netanya Academic College School of Law Marco Sassòli, Professor of International Law, University of Geneva


Ben Saul, Challis Chair of International Law, University of Sydney


Michael N. Schmitt, Professor of International Law, University of Reading


Andrew I. Schoenholtz, Professor from Practice and Director, Human Rights Institute and Center for Applied Legal Studies, Georgetown University Law Center


Yuval Shany, Hersch Lauterpacht Chair in Public International Law, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Scott J. Shapiro, Southmayd Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy, Yale University

Sivan Shlomo-Agon, Lecturer, Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law

Stefan Talmon, Professor of Public Law, Public International Law and European Union Law, University of Bonn


Christian J. Tams, Professor of International Law, University of Glasgow

Attila M. Tanzi, Chair of International Law, School of Law, University of Bologna

Ruti Teitel, Ernst C.Stiefel Professor of Comparative Law, New York Law School

Dire Tladi, Professor of International Law, University of Pretoria

Antonios Tzanakopoulos, Associate Professor of Public International Law, University of Oxford Faculty of Law


Maria Varaki, Lecturer in International Law, War Studies Department, King’s College London

Carlos M. Vázquez, Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Yael Vias Gvirsman, Lecturer in International Law; Director, International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic, Harry Radzyner Law School, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya


Michael Waibel, Professor, Department of European, International and Comparative Law, University of Vienna


Ralph Wilde, Associate Professor, Faculty of Laws, University College London

Siobhán Wills, Professor of Law, Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University

Ariel Zemach, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Ono Academic College

Andreas Zimmermann, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Potsdam

Gentian Zyberi, Professor of International Law and Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo__

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Jewish Studies Letter Against Annexation & Apartheid in Israel


The serious talk in Israel about annexation represents a historical inflection point that will negatively affect us all in our professional and personal lives. Please consider signing this open letter from Jewish Studies teachers and professors in North America, Israel, and Europe opposed to “Annexation and Apartheid in Israel and the occupied territories.” The letter is intended to appeal to as a large a spectrum as possible. While pointed around the language of “apartheid,” it stays intentionally on this side of Israeli law re: BDS. The basic commitment is to democracy and critical culture. 

Including Hebrew and Arabic language versions, you can sign THE LETTER ON ANNEXATION & APARTHEID IN ISRAEL.


Dear Colleagues and Friends:

The undersigned are professors of Jewish Studies in North and South America, Europe, and Israel who have committed decades of professional life to the close study Jewish history, culture, thought, religion, literature, politics, and society. Representing a spectrum of viewpoints, we write in opposition to the continuation of the occupation and the stated intention of the current elected government in Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, thereby formally (de jure) creating apartheid conditions in Israel and Palestine.

Democracies depend upon the consent of the governed in the territories under their control. The establishment of Jewish settlements in occupied territories captured in 1967 already stands in direct violation of the consensus view in international law. The annexation of these territories also violates UN resolutions 242 (1967) and 2334 (2016). The State of Israel could upon annexation extend full citizenship to West Bank Palestinians, but the Prime Minister has declared it will not do so.

The most likely outcomes of annexation will be further unequal distribution of land and water resources on behalf of illegal Israeli settlements, more state violence, and fragmented Palestinian enclaves under complete Israeli control. Under these conditions, annexation of Palestinian territories will cement into place an anti-democratic system of separate and unequal law and systemic discrimination against the Palestinian population. Such discrimination on the basis of racial, ethnic, religious, or national background is defined as “conditions of apartheid” and a “crime against humanity” according to the International Convention on Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA, article 2, 1973) and also by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC, Article 7[1j] and the Introduction to Article 7 [2h], 1998).

Outside of Israel, the impact of annexation will be a destructive intensification of political polarization, hatred and mutual recrimination, and deepening wedges in Jewish society, an inevitable spike in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and polarization between minority communities. We stand opposed to all of these.

Across our differences, the signers of this letter share non-negotiable commitments to democratic values, the equal rule of law, and a sense of security for both peoples on the basis of the principle of mutual recognition. At this still uncertain and dangerous historical inflection point, we reject Annexation and Apartheid, racism and hatred, occupation and discrimination. We commit ourselves to an open culture of learning, cooperation, and criticism in relation to Israel and Palestine.


קריאה כנגד סיפוח שטחים והחלת משטר אפרטהייד במדינת ישראל והשטחים הכבושים.

החתומיםות מטה הם מרצים ומורים במדעי היהדות בצפון ודרום אמריקה, אירופה וישראל, שהקדישו שנים רבות מחייהםן המקצועיים ללימוד והוראת הסטוריה, תרבות, מחשבה, ספרות, דת וחברה יהודית. אנו מייצגיםות קשת רחבה של תפיסות, מן המרכז ועד השמאל הרדיקלי, שעיקרן התנגדות לכיבוש ולכוונה המוצהרת של ממשלת ישראל הנוכחית לספח חלקים מהגדה המערבית ולהחיל (דה-יורה) משטר אפרטהייד רשמי בישראל ובשטחים הכבושים.

השלטון הדמוקרטי תלוי בהסכמה רחבה של אזרחיו. הקמת התנחלויות יהודיות בשטחים הכבושים מאז 1967 מפרה את עקרונות החוק הבינלאומי. הסיפוח של שטחים כבושים מהווה עבירה ברורה על החוק הבינלאומי והחלטות האו״ם 224 (1967) ו 2334 (2016). באופן עקרוני, קיימת אפשרות לא סבירה לפיה מדינת ישראל תחליט לבסוף להעניק אזרחות לכל התושבים הפלסטינים שיחיו תחת שלטונה, אבל כפי שהממשלה הבהירה, מתן אזרחות לתושבים ערבים אינו עומד על הפרק. מכאן, האפשרות הסבירה יותר היא זו של ניצול לא הוגן ולא חוקי של אדמה, מים ומשאבי טבע אחרים, הרחבת ההתנחלויות, אלימות שלטונית גוברת וחלוקה של האזור הפלסטיני למובלעות תחת שליטה ישראלית מוחלטת. בתנאים אלה, סיפוח אזורים פלסטיניים יקבע את המערכת האנטי-דמוקרטית של חוק לא שוויוני או נפרד ואפלייה שיטתית של האוכלוסייה הפלסטינית על רקע גזעי, אתני, דתי, או לאומי. תנאים אלה הוגדרו כ״תנאי אפרטהייד״ ו״פשע נגד האנושות״ לפי האמנה הבינלאומית בדבר ביעור וענישה של פשע האפרטהייד(ICSPCA), סעיף 2, מ-1973 : וכמו-כן בסעיף 7 (1j) לאמנת רומא (חוקת בית הדין הפלילי הבינלאומי), וההגדרה בסעיף 7 (2h) מ-1998.

ההשלכות של סיפוח כזה, מחוץ לישראל, יהיו הרסניות- הן ייצרו קיטוב גובר, הטחת האשמות הדדית בין תומכי ומתנגדי ישראל בקמפוסים, וייתקעו טריז בלב ליבה של האוכלוסייה היהודית. מעשה כזה יביא להגברת האנטישמיות והאיסלמופוביה ולקיטוב פוליטי גובר בין מיעוטים. אנו מתנגדים למעשה זה מכל וכל.

מעבר לכל חילוקי הדעות בינינו, אנו, החתומים והחתומות על המכתב, חולקים מחויבות בלתי מתפשרת לערכים דמוקרטיים, לשוויון בפני החוק, ושבה יכולים שני העמים לחוש בטוחים על בסיס הכרה הדדית. בנקודת מפנה מסוכנת זו אנו משמיעים את קולנו נגד סיפוח ואפרטהייד, גזענות ושנאה, כיבוש ואפלייה ולמען תרבות פתוחה של מחקר, שיתוף פעולה וביקורת ביחס לישראל ופלסטין.


رسالة في ضم مناطق من الضفة الغربية ونظام الفصل العنصري في إسرائيل

إن الموقعين أدناه أساتذة للدراسات اليهودية في أمريكا الشمالية والجنوبية وأوروبا وإسرائيل ممن كرَّسوا عقوداً من حياتهم المهنية يدرسون التاريخ والثقافة والفكر والدين والأدب والسياسية والمجتمع اليهودي دراسة عميقة. ممثلين لوجهات نظر متنوعة، نكتبُ اعتراضاً على استمرار الاحتلال، واعتراضاً على النية الصريحة للحكومة المنتخبة الحالية في إسرائيل لضم مناطق من الضفة الغربية، واعتراضاً على الخلق الرسمي لظروف الفصل العنصري في إسرائيل وفلسطين.

إن الأنظمة الديمقراطية تعتمد على موافقة المحكومين في المناطق الواقعة تحت نفوذها. وعلى ذلك، فإن إنشاء المستعمرات اليهودية في الأراضي المحتلة عام ١٩٦٧ يُعدُّ انتهاكاً صارخاً لما أُجمع عليه في القانون الدولي. إن ضَمَّ هذه المناطق يُعدُّ انتهاكاً لقرار الأمم المتحدة ٢٤٢ (١٩٦٧) وقرار ٢٣٣٤ (٢٠١٦). من الناحية النظرية، يمكن لدولة إسرائيل أن تُقرر منح حقوق المواطنة كاملة لكل الفلسطينيين في الضفة الغربية. ولكن النتائج الأكثر احتمالاً هي المزيد من التوزيع غير العادل للأراضي ومصادر المياه نيابة عن المستوطنات الإسرائيلية غير الشرعية، والمزيد من العنف تحت رعاية الدولة، وخلق المزيد من الجيوب السكنية الفلسطينية المتفرقة تحت السيطرة الإسرائيلية الكاملة. في ظل هذه الظروف، سوف يُعزز ضمُ مناطق فلسطينية من نظام معاد للديمقراطية يُقر قوانين منفصلة غير متساوية ويتبنى التمييز ضد الفلسطينيين على أساس عنصري، وعرقي، وديني، وقومي. هذه الممارسات تُعرف بـ”ظروف الفصل عنصري” وتُعد “جريمةً ضد الإنسانية” وفق الاتفاقية الدولية لقمع جريمة الفصل العنصري والمعاقبة عليها ( آي سي اس بي سي ايه، مادة٢، ١٩٧٣) ووفق نظام روما الأساسي للمحكمة الجنائية الدولية (آي سي سي،  مادة ٧ [١ j]، ومقدمة المادة ٧ [٢ h] ١٩٩٨).

إن من تداعيات هذا الإجراء داخل إسرائيل وخارجها ازياد حدة الاستقطاب السياسي المدمر، وتبادل الاتهامات المضادة، ودق الأسافين في المجتمع اليهودي، وتصاعد مشاعر معاداة اليهود وكراهية الإسلام، وزيادة الاستقطاب بين الأقليات. وإننا لنعرب عن معارضتنا القاطعة لكل هذا. عبر اختلافاتنا السياسية، يشترك الموقعون على هذه الرسالة في التزامهم الذي لا تفاوض فيه تجاه القيم الديمقراطية، سيادة القانون على قدم المساواة، والشعور بالأمن لكلا الشعبين على أساس الاعتراف المتبادل. في هذا المنعطف التاريخي الخطير الضبابي، نُلزم أنفسنا بتبني ثقافة حرة من التعلم والتعاون والنقد فيما يتعلق بظروف إسرائيل وفلسطين.



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Rabbi Nahum Rabinovitch on Philosophy of Halakhah

Liberal Orthodoxy —Alan Brill on Rabbi Nahum Rabinovitch on the Philosophy of Halakhah, ethics, Maimonides, religious pluralism, religion and state with references to and links to primary sources.

The Book of Doctrines and Opinions:

Last month, Rabbi Nahum Eliezer Rabinovitch, the dean of Yeshivat Birkat Moshe in Maale Adumim, passed away at the age of 92 years old. As a tribute to him at the end of thirty days of mourning, I will devote a post to his philosophical writings about Jewish law. He had a unique Maimonidean intellectual perspective of rationality, autonomy, historic situation, and applying the law to achieve its uplifting purpose. We will look at three of his essays, two of which were written in Hebrew as part of his 1991 book The Way of Torah (Darkhei Hatorah) and one in English.(You may want to download the three essays before we start- Way of Torah,EmunatHakhamim, Rambam Science Taamei Mitzvot)  We will conclude with some quotes from his recent Hebrew lectures to students. (I am always happy for lists of typos)

Most of Rabbi Rabinovitch’s thought has been…

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Black Lives Matter in Yiddish בלעק לײַװס מעטער


Deciding not to translate is the most Yiddish thing to do. Kudos to Anthony Russel and Jewish Current for this piece here cutting to a core, here about translating BLM into Yiddish and the attempt “to touch Blackness from inside Yiddish,” especially for black speakers of Yiddish. (For more on performer, composer, and arranger of music in Yiddish, Anthony Mordechai Tvi Russel, see his website here.)

My previous considerations about the attempts to translate “Black Lives Matter” into Yiddish informed the group’s final decision to directly transliterate the English phrase into yidishe oysyes (Hebrew letters). A direct transliteration of English into normative Yiddish sounds renders “black lives matter” into “blek lives metter,” which is, to our thinking, a close enough approximation:

בלעק לײַװס מעטער

The group also decided that the transliteration of “Black Lives Matter” should be immediately followed by a parenthetical with a direct translation of the phrase into Yiddish using the descriptor “African American” instead of “Black.” A number of interpretations were produced:

אַפֿראָאַמעריקאַנער לעבנס האָבן אַ װערט  

Afroamerikaner Lebns Hobn a Vert    

אַפֿראָאַמעריקאַנער לעבנס זענען וויכטיק

Afroamerikaner Lebns Zenen Vikhtik

אַפֿראָאַמעריקאַנער בלוט איז נישט קײן װאַסער

Afroamerikaner Blut iz Nisht Keyn Vaser     

The first two interpretations, to our thinking, were very close to the original sentiment. The last one—literally “African American Blood is Not Water”—interpreted the essence of the phrase through the adaptation of a pre-existing Yiddish version of the idiom “Blood is thicker than water” (literally: “Blood is not water”).


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