Israeli judges are the confessors in savage new doc’y on legitimizing the occupation

US Politics
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The Law in These Parts – English trailer from The Law in These Parts on Vimeo.

The new documentary, The Law in These Parts, is getting a lot of attention. Yesterday the New York Times published an Op-Ed piece by filmmaker Ra’anan Alexandrowicz that included a chilling excerpt of the film that shows Israeli military officers displaying higher moral standards about the occupation than the Israeli judges who have legalized it.

Michael Ratner just saw the film at the Sundance Festival in Utah and shared this report:

A remarkable film about the “legal” system in the Israeli Occupied Territories. A devastating look at how law and especially the Israeli Supreme Court has been employed for 40 years to legitimize the illegitimate, the cruel and the immoral. Amazingly the judges themselves are the confessors–although often they are unaware. For many years the Israeli Supreme Court (and its former Chief Justice Barak) have gotten more than a pass–it (and he) have been lauded as beacons of justice. That may be true for Israeli Jews, but it’s that very reputation that has allowed the court to make it appear that Palestinans arrested, administratively detained and tortured have had their day in court. It’s the Supreme Court that has approved the stealing of Palestinian land–giving “legitimacy” to theft.

When you get a chance–see this film. You will see the Supreme Court for what it is–worse than a rubber stamp, a key part of the machinery of repression.

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10 Responses

  1. seafoid
    January 26, 2012, 10:02 am

    Yehuda Bauer, Professor of Holocaust Studies, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

    I am no legal expert, but I know that the Supreme, or High, Court is the body that defends democracy in Israel. That democracy is threatened by laws passed at the present government’s initiatives in the Knesset, aimed at placing the legislature over and against an independent system of justice. The occupation is at the core of the government’s policies. The government is attempting to create an Israeli-controlled, in effect bi-national, presence between the Mediterranean and the Jordan, contrary to the interests of the Jewish people. The High Court occasionally tries to limit that damage, but its rulings are often disregarded. Nevertheless, the Court is one of the bastions of justice and human rights, without distinction. The High Court is concerned with security issues that are brought before it, but its rulings justifiably cast a doubt on whether Israel’s security is served by the occupation of the West Bank.

    • seafoid
      January 26, 2012, 10:44 am

      2 more interesting insights from that NYT link

      First the Jewish settler view :

      For there to be an “occupation”, something must legally belong to to another sovereign state, or in the language of the Geneva Conventions (Article 2), “High Contracting Party”.

      Judea and Samaria don’t fit this definition. In 1948, the Arabs violently rejected UN 181, which would have granted these areas that status, and subsequently, Jordan, which never had any sort of legal claim, illegally took them over. Jordan did subsequently relinquish any claims, as did the PLO in their 1964 Charter (Article 24).

      Only Israel has a legal claim to this land*, and therefore Israel’s Supreme Court, which is no friend of those of us Jews who live in Judea and Samaria, is legally obligated to work within this framework.

      *Explains all the demolitions, the torture, the fact that the Palestinians are non people under Israeli law.

      o Jan. 25, 2012 at 6:38 p.m.
      o Recommended14 – WTF ?

      Second, the historical perspective

      o Shaun Narine
      o Fredericton, Canada
      oThe problem with the Israeli Supreme Court seems similar to the problem of the US Supreme Court when slavery was legal in the US. It is not interested in examining the underlying morality of the situation that has created the need for it to rule on issues in the Occupied Territories. It accepts, thereby legitimizing (at least to Israelis) what is a fundamentally immoral, unjust and, under international law, clearly illegal situation. Then it rearranges the deck chairs on the Titanic, “restraining” the military, giving a patina of “legality” to what is, in the eyes and laws of the world, wrong.

      Providing a system where the inmates in a prison can, occasionally, challenge the terms of their imprisonment is not grounds for much pride. Even the fact that the SC rarely challenges the military authorities, while telling, misses the larger point. The real question, of course, is whether or not one people should be imprisoning, abusing and stealing from another people at all. The Israeli SC has, apparently, decided that this is acceptable. After reaching such an implicit and unjust conclusion, its ruling no longer have any real legitimacy.

      • Talkback
        January 26, 2012, 11:39 am

        This is not only the “Jewish settler view”. It’s Israel’s view. Read the International Court of Justice’s advisory opion “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”, Page 41 of PDF and how the Court rejects this view.

  2. Kathleen
    January 26, 2012, 10:44 am

    Whoa was just thinking about this this morning. How this film was being received at Sundance. Zbig is on the Diane Rehm show at 11 today. Hope folks send in or call in about his latest book “Strategic Vision”. Have not read but from the interviews that I have seen of Zbig on MSNBC’s Morning Joe he is focused on how Americans are terribly uninformed “ignorant” about US foreign policy. And how an accurately educated public would limit the ability of administrations or policy analyst ( Feith, Wolfowitz, Bolton etc) to promote unnecessary wars based on false intelligence etc.

    He has also recently said that Israel may attack Iran between now and the Presidential election. That if the US were to participate in any way in a military confrontation with Iran that this would only serve to drag the US’s standing (what ever is left) down further.

  3. The Hasbara Buster
    January 26, 2012, 11:57 am

    The High Court of Israel is nothing to do about justice and everything to do about protecting Israel’s interests.

    A few years ago, Israeli Arab citizens who had been expelled from Iqrit, a village within Israel, petitioned to return there. In rejecting the petition, the Court stated:

    In view of these changes, whereby the Palestinians have raised
    the demand for the right of return, the precedent entailed in allowing the uprooted [i.e. the Iqrit villagers] to return to their homes could harm serious state interests. This position is based on political considerations, where the government has wide discretion and the boundaries of reasonability regarding its conduct are very wide.

    In other words, Israeli Arab citizens who had been ethnically cleansed were not allowed to return to their village because this would open the door for other Palestinians who were not citizens to ask for the same right.

    This attests both to the legitimacy of claiming the RoR for all Palestinians and to the Court being a mere tool of political power.

  4. Kathleen
    January 26, 2012, 12:33 pm

    Just watched the clips. Barely enough time to read the translation. Always wish they would leave translations up longer…let is sink in.
    “I was aware of it” said one Judge

    “You will see the Supreme Court for what it is–worse than a rubber stamp, a key part of the machinery of repression.”

    so many of us have been reading about all of the early systematic institutions set up for the apartheid situation in Israel for decades. Systematic indeed.

    Micheal how have folks responded to the film? Have the showings had many people?

    • seafoid
      January 26, 2012, 3:05 pm

      “You will see the Supreme Court for what it is–worse than a rubber stamp, a key part of the machinery of repression.”

      It couldn’t be anything else. You can’t have all this nonsense about “state land” in the West Bank , beyond the borders of Israel, being kosher for Jew-only housing without a fully compliant Supreme Court to legalise the theft that is secured by the guns and the torture equipment of the I”D”F.

  5. radii
    January 26, 2012, 4:05 pm

    the ridiculous level of contortions the israeli supreme court puts itself through these days to maintain an illegal system was inevitable given how israel was founded – over 20 years ago a former israeli boyfried and I discussed the occupation and israel and he (being a leftist) admitted this, “we put our boot on the neck of the Palestinians long ago, and we can never take it off” … israelis fear ever releasing their iron grip and this fear paralyzes them – despite the fact that again and again Palestinians have made clear they’re ready to live side-by-side in peace if the garrison state would just evaporate and equal treatment under the law was allowed to grow and take hold

  6. Proton Soup
    January 26, 2012, 5:14 pm

    I’m just stunned that they allowed themselves to get green-screened. But I suppose taking advantage of ignorance and naivety is one of the hallmarks of their system.

  7. eljay
    January 26, 2012, 5:43 pm

    >> You’re the judge, [y]es, but he stands before you, and he’s the enemy.

    Is this what a “color-blind court” looks like?

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