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The Lawfare Project's Anti-Democratic Agenda

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The Lawfare Project's Anti-Democratic Agenda
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LawfareIts web site (thelawfareproject.org) calls Lawfare:

"The use of the law as a weapon of war."

Fact Check

Provided they contradict no others, laws are sacrosanct, especially fundamental international ones like the UN Charter, Four Geneva Conventions, their Common Article 3, the Rome Statute, Nuremberg Tribunal and judgment, Genocide Convention, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and many others - ones Israel and America are sworn to uphold but consistently violate with impunity.

Lawfare Project (LP) claim: "The abuse of the law and legal systems (is used) for strategic or military ends."

Fact Check

International law is clear and unequivocal. The UN Charter explains under what conditions violence and coercion by one state against another are justified. Article 2(3) and Article 33(1) require peaceful settlement of international disputes. Article 2(4) prohibits force or its threatened use, and Article 51 allows the "right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member....until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security."

In other words, justifiable self-defense is permitted, and Articles 2(3), 2(4), and 33(1) absolutely prohibit all unilateral threats or use of force not allowed under Article 51 or authorized by the Security Council. Even then, under Fourth Geneva, civilians are "protected persons" off-limits to attack. Doing it is a war crime.

Claim: Law is used to "thwart free speech about issues of national security and public concern."

Fact Check

Free expression is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), among other international laws.

Yet Israel has no constitution or specific laws guaranteeing equality or free expression. However, its Basic Laws protect human dignity and liberty as fundamental values in "a Jewish and democratic state," including:

  • "no violation of the life, body or dignity or any person;"
  • their property;
  • their liberty, neither by imprisonment, arrest, extradition or otherwise;
  • the right to privacy; and
  • much more, including a traditionally mostly free and open media within certain limits most states impose.

Nonetheless, Israel violates its own law and international ones by imposing censorship as it sees fit. For example, during Operation Cast Lead when it restricted on-the-scene coverage to suppress its crimes of war and against humanity, now revealed in detail but ruthlessly assailed as untrue.

Despite America's First Amendment, the dominant US media self-censor, and in war zones, the Pentagon allows no independent coverage, instead using "embedded" journalists of its choosing.

Claim: "Law (is) used to de-legitimize the sovereignty of democratic states."

Fact Check

No state, democratic of otherwise, has the right to violate fundamental international laws nor remain unaccountable when they do. Israel and America are serial offenders.

Claim: The law is used to "frustrate the ability of democracies to defend themselves against terrorism."

Fact Check

Israel and America are democracies in name only, granting rights to the privileged, not the majority, and in Israel solely to Jews.

International law permits self-defense against violence or armed attacks. Terrorism is committed by the perpetrators.

Lawfare's anti-democratic issues include:

Claim: The illegitimacy of "legal limits" in fighting "terrorism."

Fact Check

Most serious is institutionalized state terrorism, including premeditated wars and targeted assassinations, criminal acts under international law, permitting self-defense against them.

Claim: No international law restricts nations from acting within or outside their territory.

Fact Check

Universally accepted international laws place clear and unequivocal limits, calling violations crimes of war and against humanity.

Claim: An international tribunal has no authority to hold sovereign states accountable.

Fact Check

International law created a tribunal as a legal entity to prosecute individuals for crimes of war, against humanity, and genocide in cases when guilty states fail to do so.

Claim: There are legitimate and illegitimate criticisms of religion.

Fact Check

Criticism is one thing. Vilifying one religion in defense of another is clearly indefensible. Further, international laws strictly prohibit persecuting, killing, or otherwise harming persons of other faiths, practices Israel and America repeatedly commit.

Claim: Lawfare uses its own definition of inciting violence.

Fact Check

LP calls self-defense violence and terrorism, premeditated aggression self-defense, including against innocent civilians.

Claim: Undefined hate speech should be banned.

Fact Check

International law protects free expression. Only when it crosses the line egregiously can it be questioned. Banning it is another matter, and without defining it, what is hate speech? Clearly, LP means any criticism of Israeli and American policies.

Claim: LP calls Universal Jurisdiction (UJ) illegitimate when it conflicts with "national security interests."

Fact Check

UJ is a well-established principle, used by America (against Liberia's Chuckie Taylor), Israel (against Adolph Eichmann) and other nations as a legitimate law enforcement tool for crimes of war and against humanity. All nations may use it.

Claim: LP advocates denying "terrorists" and "unlawful combatants" their rights.

Fact Check

By law, everyone is innocent unless or until proved guilty with substantive facts to prove it. The term "unlawful combatant" is unrecognized in international law and has no standing.

Claim: LP wants lawyers denied "classified material" to prosecute persons accused of torture.

Fact Check

No relevant information should ever be withheld for any reason to protect alleged torturers or other criminals.

Claim: LP wants a majority bloc of UN states denied their right to enforce human rights policy.

Fact Check

International laws protect human rights. Nations and individuals in violation should be held fully accountable.

Claim: LP wants to suppress legitimate human rights reports critical of Israel and America.

Fact Check

It objects to Goldstone Commission and other human rights groups' revelations of Israeli crimes of war and against humanity during Operation Cast Lead to absolve  its perpetrator's and America's (as a co-conspirator) of any culpability for their lawlessness.

Claim: LP calls Israel's Separation Wall legitimate.

Fact Check

Israel's Separation Wall is being built on 12% of confiscated Palestinian land. In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled it illegal, and ordered it dismantled.

Claim: Like America and Israel, LP calls Hamas a terrorist entity.

Fact Check

In January 2006, Hamas was democratically elected as Palestine's legitimate government, what it remains today despite Israel and Washington's recognition of Fatah's coup d'etat regime under a president whose term expired 14 months ago.

Claim: LP calls hate speech legitimate for "radical" Islam and "terrorism."

Fact Check

Hate or any other type speech is never legitimate when it lies about or vilifies one religion in defense of another.

Claim: LP opposes applying the rule of law, due process, equal justice, civil and human rights, and fundamental democratic principles for governments or groups it opposes.

Fact Check

Advocating lawlessness is never legitimate under any circumstances, ever, for any reason.

The Lawfare Project's First Conference

Sponsored by the Committee on Foreign and International Law of NYCLA (NY Collegiate Learning Assessment) and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on March 11, its first US conference was held in New York, co-chaired by:

  • Irwin Cotler - law professor, Canadian MP, and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General from 2003 - 2006;
  • Robert Morgenthau - former District Attorney for New York County, borough of Manhattan, and US Attorney for the Southern District of New York; and
  • David Schizer - Dean, Columbia University School of Law.

Invited speakers included:



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