Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New York Times Publishes Anti-Israel Screed by Radical Law Professor George Bisharat

Professor Bisharat has a long history of bashing Israel, it turns out. See, "George Bisharat uses NYT to publish out-of-context accusations":
Meet George Bisharat, currently a professor at the UC Hastings College of Law. Bisharat was born in 1954 in Kansas, to a Palestinian family from Jerusalem, eventually earning BA in Berkeley and MA in Georgetown. Later, Bisharat studied in Harvard, and assumed position of professor of law at University of California. Bisharat is an author of ‘Palestinian Lawyers and Israeli Rule: Law and Disorder in the West Bank’, worked with Palestinian Legislative Council and on editorial board of Journal of Palestine Studies.

I believe the above gives us clear understanding of Bisharat’s allegiance; however, it is also clear he is a smart man. Bisharat criticized Israel’s conduct in 2006 Second Lebanon War, pushes for the boycott of Israel, alleges Israel’s conduct in 2008 Gaza campaign constitutes war crimes and an avid supporter of a one-state solution (read: Israel ceases being a Jewish state).
Well, that's pretty much a perfect criticism of Bisharat's hit job at today's New York Times, "Why Palestine Should Take Israel to Court in the Hague." Virtually every one of Bisharat's attacks on Israel are decontextualized, and this one's a blatant falsehood:
No doubt, Israel is most worried about the possibility of criminal prosecutions for its settlements policy. Israeli bluster notwithstanding, there is no doubt that Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are illegal. Israeli officials have known this since 1967, when Theodor Meron, then legal counsel to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and later president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, wrote to one of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol’s aides: “My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Under the founding statute of the I.C.C., grave violations of the Geneva Conventions, including civilian settlements in occupied territories, are considered war crimes.
Bull. See Danny Ayalon, "Israel Palestinian Conflict: The Truth About the West Bank." And especially Professor Michael Curtis, "Israeli Settlements an Obstacle to Peace?":
International law gives no clear answer on the issue of Israeli settlements. The Fourth Geneva Convention does forbid government deportation or "individual or mass forcible transfers" of population into territory it occupies. This Convention was formulated because of the activities during World War II of the Nazi regime, and by inference the Soviet Union, in transferring population into occupied territory for political or racial reasons, or for colonization. As a result of those activities, millions were subjected to forced migration, expulsion, slave labor, and extermination. On this issue two factors are pertinent. One is that Israeli governments have not aimed at any displacement of the population in any of the disputed areas. The other is that neither the Geneva Convention nor any other law prevents the establishment of voluntary settlements on an individual basis, nor on their location, if the underlying purpose is security, public order, or safety, and as long as the settlements do not involve taking private property. It is absurd to suggest that the state of Israel "deported" or "transferred" its own citizens to the territories.

This conclusion was buttressed by a report, in July 2012, of the independent Israeli three-member committee, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, which held that the classic laws of "occupation" do not apply to "the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria spanning over decades." The committee held that consequently Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria, and that the establishment of settlements is not illegal.
Bisharat's not an honest commentator on Israel. And it turns out he's a contibutor at the anti-Semitic hate site Mondoweiss. (Last summer Armin Rosen posted a devastating take down of Mondoweiss, at the Atlantic, "A Reminder That Anti-Semitism Has No Place in Debates Over Israel.") And while I enjoy reading the New York Times, as readers can tell, the editors should be ashamed at publishing such a shitty little piece of anti-Israel propaganda.