Friday, August 01, 2014


At the Boston Review: "Taking Just War Seriously".  From Leiter, who refers to author as "Harvard's Frances Kamm"
At Opinio Juris: Tali Kolesov Har-Oz And Ori Pomson, "The Use of Human Shields and International Criminal Law". The authors are descrinbed as "teaching assistants and LL.B. candidates at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Law Faculty."

I'll repost my comment at BR here. My comment at Opinio Juris is an abbreviated version, with a link to BR.  Most of the comments at Opinio Juris are derisive, good, or better: "De Gaulle’s call of June 18, 1940 to the French to join him and resist the Nazis would be – under this view – an example of the mens rea under the logic expressed here." It would be nice to see such substantive argument in the comments at Crooked Timber.

My comments at BR. Every link a repeat, but it's nice to have them in one place.
The essay above is more than anything else an excuse to extemporize philosophically on the subject of an ongoing war. It's a discussion of ideas. The pure beauty of ideas is that they're certain, while facts are debatable. References to data are in the footnotes and refer to disscussions elsewhere. Footnote III: "Whether Hamas uses civilians as shields and whether Israel gives adequate advance warning was debated on the PBS Newshour on July 24."From the Newhour transcript
With all due respect, Amos, we’re reverting to this talking point that Hamas is using human shields. Again, there is absolutely no evidence for this. It’s Israel’s word against the United Nations, against Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Breaking the Silence Israel, as well as the National Lawyers Guild.
Human Shields in Lebanon 2006
Reports from the ground in Lebanon confirm that the IAF has expanded its target envelope, hitting sites that were considered off limits just 48 hours previously. Unfortunately, as nearly every military expert knows, precision weapons are not that precise -- and a miscue of even ten meters can make a huge difference. This is what happened at Qana. Nor, it seems, do IDF officers take seriously the more graphic defense of IAF targeting, as justified because Hezbollah uses human shields. Israel also co-locates many of its basing operations in cities and amongst the civilian population -- simply because of the ease of logistics operations that such co-locations necessitate. "The human shield argument just doesn't wash and we know it," an IDF commander says. "We don't expect Hezbollah to deploy in the open with a sign that says 'here we are.'"
There are other definitions, and Helena Cobban, an editor at Boston Review, discusses them well. Also from 2006
The text of the HRW press release is now available on-line. It is titled OPT: Civilians Must Not Be Used to Shield Homes Against Military Attacks.In Sarah Leah’s emails to me she has stressed two points: (1) The point, also made in the press release, that ““Whether or not the home is a legitimate military target, knowingly asking civilians to stand in harm’s way is unlawful.” And (2) that for Palestinian military commanders, in particular, to ask civilians to act as “human shields” in this way represented an unlawful attempt to pur civilians at potential risk.I have pointed out to her that by these lights, for Mandela (who was a military commander, much more than Ismail Haniyeh– who was quoted in the HRW release– ever was) to call for South Africa’s non-whites to engage in nonviolent mass actions against the apartheid regime, which were often very risky indeed, would also likewise have been considered “unlawful” or even– as HRW grandiosely terms the situation in Gaza “a war crime.”
Now that we're done with that, lets widen the context.The West Back and Gaza are occupied territories, and Israel refuses to accept that definition, legally or morally.2004 
"The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Haaretz."And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress."Weisglass, who was one of the initiators of the disengagement plan, was speaking in an interview with Haaretz for the Friday Magazine."The disengagement is actually formaldehyde," he said. "It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians."
I've quoted that passage for years and it's been used recently by Mouin Rabbani in the the LRB:"Israel 'Mows the Lawn'" Read it to find out the meaning of that phrase, and what it means as well to put Gaza "on a diet" Read it before thinking about "Just war"Michael Walzer is a Zionist. Liberal Zionist Peter Beinart, defines Zionism 
I'm not asking Israel to be Utopian. I'm not asking it to allow Palestinians who were forced out (or fled) in 1948 to return to their homes. I'm not even asking it to allow full, equal citizenship to Arab Israelis, since that would require Israel no longer being a Jewish state. I'm actually pretty willing to compromise my liberalism for Israel's security and for its status as a Jewish state. What I am asking is that Israel not do things that foreclose the possibility of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, because if it is does that it will become--and I'm quoting Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak here--an "apartheid state."
Chiam Gans defends Liberal Zionism
In his book “The Law of Peoples,” John Rawls makes a distinction between people in terms of their moral perfection. At the top of the ladder he places “liberal” peoples – those who maintain democracy and equality among themselves. After them, he ranks peoples that he calls “decent” – the type that does not maintain democracy or equality, but instead has a hierarchy of rights pertaining to different groups and communities. At least such people protect the human rights of those under their rule.
What profound generosity from the heart of the conqueror. Zionism is and has always been Jim Crow. The occupation is run under Apartheid. Liberal Zionism is an oxymoron, and yet people who describe themselves as Zionists describe themselves as liberals. I'm not a stickler for Aristotelian logic in a messy world, but those who are, who pride themselves on their pedantry, should be more careful.
Corey Robin, out of jail, back at Crooked Timber and changing the subject, with links to the magazine named after 18th century vanguardists.
"Capitalism is, among other things, a massive process of ego formation, the creation of modern selves, the illusion of individual autonomy"
An illusion which all above indulge.

It's not that they're making intellectuals' poetry out of other people's misery, it's that they condescend both to poets and the miserable.

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