Daily Israel Report
More

Zion's Corner Blogs


New Terrorist Weapon: ‘Lawfare’ Twists the Law

The first-ever “lawfare” conference, held in New York, has launched a new effort to fight the Muslim manipulation of law against democracy.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/14/2010, 3:46 PM / Last Update: 3/14/2010, 3:39 PM

Israel news photo

The recently-formed “Lawfare Project” has launched a new type of strategy to fight Muslim-led manipulation of law in its war against democracy.  The project was revealed at the first-ever "lawfare" conference, held in New York late last week.

“Lawfare” is a relatively new term for the abuse of legal systems to halt free speech against terrorism while promoting the use of malicious lawsuits, harassment and complaints against anyone who speaks on national security, Lawfare Project director Brooke Goldstein told Israel National News. “The abuse is aimed at achieving strategic military and political purposes.”

Prominent examples of manipulation of the legal system are calling the “security fence” in Israel a crime against humanity and redefining terrorism to include civilians in “occupied territories,” according to Goldstein, a New York-based attorney.

“Hate speech” legislation is a blatant example of the manipulation of well-intentioned law that now is being used against democracies, part of what Goldstein calls “the slippery slope.” The original concept was introduced after the Holocaust in order to stop incitement and libel against Jews.

Goldstein cited Muslim reaction to a Danish newspaper’s cartoons showing the Muslim prophet Mohammed with a turban and a bomb. The cartoon sparked violent protests throughout Europe and Asia, causing several deaths.

“Lawfare" is not just legal actions,” according to Goldstein (pictured), who has interviewed suicide terrorists and their families in Judea, Samaria and Gaza to understand the mind of parents who encourage their children to die as "martyrs.”

The project is trying to face the questions of what legal limits should be placed on those who fight the war against terrorism and what rights should be granted to terrorists. She points out that Hizbullah terrorist leaders can travel freely but that British officials often threaten to arrest visiting Israeli military and political leaders, including Opposition leader Tzipi Livni. They actually are actually targeting Israel, “which abides by international law more than other countries,” Goldstein says.

The Lawfare Project also notes, “Al-Qaeda manuals instruct captured militants to file claims of torture in order to reposition themselves as victims in the eyes of the law and media. Attempts by terrorist entities such as Hamas…impede the free movement of democratic state officials and achieve legitimacy by hiring lawyers and instituting ‘human rights’ litigation abroad.

Another focus is “the lack of legal accountability demanded of theocratic states that recruit their own children as suicide bombers and child soldiers.”

One of the featured speakers at the Lawfare Conference was Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations. “Lawfare really is terrorist groups exploiting international human rights law for their own advantage,” he said, citing the recent United Nations-sponsored Goldstone Report.

Other speakers were Gabriela Shalev, current Ambassador to the United Nations, and John Bolton, former United States Ambassador to the U.N.