Thesis: Cohen, Israeli Judges in a Jewish State and the Decline of Refugee Protection

Cohen, Iftach. Israeli Judges in a Jewish State and the Decline of Refugee Protection, LL.M. Thesis. Florence: European University Institute, 2015.
 
URL: http://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/39068/2015_Cohen_LLM.pdf (PDF)
 
Abstract

In this L.L.M thesis I am following a number of eminent scholars who have attributed those ideological and political motivations to the mainly Jewish and Israeli actors who devote themselves to the furthering of the uniqueness thesis in their respective fields of knowledge. In my view, from the culmination of those corresponsive activities emerges a pattern that can and should be applied to the Israeli judges in their abnormal reluctance from interfering in administrative decisions by recognizing present day asylum seekers as refugees.

In the larger scope, there is a lot in common between Jewish and Jewish-Israeli historians, diplomats or museum directors, with their persistent effort to reject the calls of other victim-groups for recognition of their own tragedy as a genuine genocide, and the Israeli judges that in the same vain derogate from the constitutive theoretical principles of their field of work when it comes to the dealing with the Holocaust.

As much as the Jewish-Israeli genocide scholar may fear the decline in value, morally and politically, of the Holocaust, as a result of possible recognition of other tragedies as additional valid examples in line with the Holocaust, which all belong to the general category of the definition ‘genocide’, the Israeli judge must also believe that the Holocaust would lose its uniqueness if the legal definition of ‘refugee’ is applied to the situation of contemporary asylum seekers. Conceptually situating them in the same group of the Jewish -refugees who fled from Nazi-Germany, might then dissipate the “Israeli advantage” in “justifiably” keeping the whole moral capital to itself.

In the second chapter I shall present and elaborate about the Holocaust’s uniqueness thesis, and its promotion by its proponents in different fields, and especially within history studies.

What might make the definition ‘refugee’ intimately associated with the Holocaust in the Israeli judges’ mind is the Jewish context of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and the conventional wisdom about Israel’s historical commitment to the refugee protection regime it has established. For them, the Refugee Convention connotes so strongly to the Holocaust, that when they examine its applicability and implementation in a specific case, the memory of the Jewish-refugee who fled his Nazi perpetrators is being instantly evoked. In other words, the Jewish context of the Convention serves as a nexus between the Holocaust with its Jewish refugees and the contemporary forms of persecution and the refugees resulting from them. Rather than considering the international refugee law as their only valid point of reference, the judges are more attached – consciously or not – to the Holocaust framework and to what lies at its center, the Holocaust’s uniqueness. Compelled by the ideological imperative to distinguish the Holocaust from any other historical atrocity, and so to avoid such possible implication if comparing the legal situation of the Holocaust’s refugees to the contemporary asylum seekers, the judges seem to mistake the unique form of persecution witnessed by the Jewish-refugees for the actual yardstick with which to measure the appellant’s entitlement for the refugee status.

In the third chapter I examine the involvement of Israel and Jewish organizations in the drafting and acceptance of the Refugee Convention, as well as the sources for the conventional wisdom about Israel’s historical commitment to the Convention, and its fallacy.

In the last chapter of this thesis I conduct an analysis of the figurative language used by the judges in trying to establish – through the allusions occasionally made by them to the Holocaust at large and more commonly to the Jewish context of the Refugee Convention – that when thinking about the asylum seeker appellant standing before them, they also bear in mind a phantom of the Jewish refugee, whose suffering’s magnitude overshadows any possible fear of being prosecuted proclaimed by the actual appellant. Since present day asylum seekers do not withstand the unique standards of persecution witnessed by those poor phantoms of Jewish refugees, their asylum claims are inevitably being discarded and consequently they all pass for nothing but mere economical migrants, a fact that is exemplified in the inexistent refugee recognition rate both at first instance and at the Court level.

 

 

 

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New Article: Moscovitz, Israeli Parliamentary Discussions over Asylum

Moscovitz, Hannah. “The Mainstreaming of Radical Right Exclusionary Ideology: Israeli Parliamentary Discussions over Asylum.” Journal of Political Ideologies (early view, online first).
 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13569317.2016.1150138
 
Abstract

This study analyses the mainstreaming of radical right ideology in Israel. Focusing on the political discourse used to describe the current asylum issue in the country, the article claims that features of radical right ideology are not limited to the discourse of radical right parties, but increasingly pervade the mainstream. Through discourse analysis of parliamentary discussions over asylum, the study highlights the discursive strategies and linguistic properties used in the expression of radical right ideology. The findings reveal the distinct manner in which both party families express radical right ideology; while the radical right discourse is explicit, overall, the mainstream discourse is implicit, with traces of explicitness observed. The Israeli case reveals significant insights into the scope of radical right ideology and the manner in which, through language and discourse, its features make their way through the political spectrum.

 

 

 

New Article: Lavie-Ajayi, Resilience among Asylum Seekers from Darfur in Israel

Lavie-Ajayi, Maya. “A Qualitative Study of Resilience among Asylum Seekers from Darfur in Israel.” Qualitative Social Work (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1473325016649256

 
Abstract

We know more about the experiences of trauma, despair, and abuse of asylum seekers and refugees than we do of their resilience, strength, and active struggle to survive and succeed. This article explores stories narrated by asylum seekers from Darfur, Sudan, currently residing in Israel, to learn about their forms and sources of strength, resilience, and coping mechanisms. In-depth, semi-structured group interviews were conducted in Hebrew and in English with eight single men, aged between the ages 27 and 38, who had lived in Israel for between four and seven years. The interviews were recorded and transcribed, and the data analyzed by analytic induction and constant comparison strategies. Six factors were identified, from the interviewees’ perspective, as contributing to their resilience: cognitive coping strategies, behavioral coping strategies, the ability to work, the ability to study and educate oneself, the support of family and friends, and social and political activism. This study corroborates existing literature by identifying personal strategies and social support as important to resilience of refugees; however, and unlike other studies, we did not find religion as an important factor from our interviewees’ perspective. We have thus expanded the existing literature by identifying the ability to work and the ability to study as important factors contributing to the resilience of refugees.

 

 

New Article: Nakash, Postnatal Depression, Acculturation and Mother–Infant Bond Among Eritrean Asylum Seekers

Nakash, Ora, Maayan Nagar, and Ido Lurie. “The Association Between Postnatal Depression, Acculturation and Mother–Infant Bond Among Eritrean Asylum Seekers in Israel.” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health (early view; online first).
 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10903-016-0348-8
 
Abstract

We examined the association between postnatal depression (PND), acculturation and mother–infant bond among 38 Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel, who were within 6 months of delivery. Participants completed a survey in their native language. A high rate of women (81.6 %) met the clinical threshold for PND on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Higher severity of PND (partial r = −.64, p < .001), higher identification with Israeli culture (partial r = −.45, p = .02), and lower quality of romantic relationship were associated with impaired mother–infant bond (partial r = .58, p = .002). Findings highlight the need to establish services to screen and treat PND among this vulnerable population in the receiving countries.

 

 

 

New Article: Hochman, Framing and Attitudes Toward Asylum Seekers in Israel

Hochman, Oshrat. “Infiltrators or Asylum Seekers? Framing and Attitudes Toward Asylum Seekers in Israel.” Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies 13.4 (2015): 358-78.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15562948.2014.982779

 

Extract

This study asks whether framing asylum seekers in Israel as “infiltrators” posing threats to the country amplifies exclusion toward them. The term “infiltrators” associates asylum seekers with the anti-infiltration law passed in the 1950s to fight terrorists and dissociates asylum seekers from their unique position as holders of special rights. The term “infiltrators” may thus influence the attitudes of the Israeli public regarding the treatment of asylum seekers. Findings demonstrate that respondents presented with the “infiltrators” frame were more likely to show exclusionary attitudes. Findings additionally show that the framing effect mediates the relation between perceived socioeconomic threat and exclusion.

 

 

 

New Article: Müller, Realizing Concrete Rights within the Israeli Asylum Regime

Müller, Tanja R. “Acts of Citizenship as a Politics of Resistance? Reflections on Realizing Concrete Rights within the Israeli Asylum Regime.” Citizenship Studies (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13621025.2015.1104291

Abstract

This paper investigates how Eritrean refugees in Israel and civil society organisations who engage with refugee issues contest the exclusionary politics of asylum in Israel. It presents various acts of claims-making initiated by Eritrean refugees themselves or in response to hostility by others, as well as acts inaugurated by Israeli civil society organisations on behalf of or with refugee populations. Drawing on the concept of activist acts of citizenship developed by Engin Isin, the paper subsequently analyses to what degree those acts have redefined aspects of social and political membership for Eritrean refugees in Israel. In a further step, it shows the limitations of such acts in terms of developing a solidaristic refugee-citizen agenda that profoundly challenges hegemonic public discourse and political debate. The paper concludes by arguing that activist acts of citizenship are best studied in relation to the transformative power they may have on the various individuals engaging in them, but not as a strategy for a wider politics of resistance, as ultimately nation state politics continue to determine the actual realisation of concrete rights.

 

 

 

New Article: Lynch & McGoldrick, Psychophysiological Audience Responses to War Journalism and Peace Journalism

Lynch, Jack, and Annabel McGoldrick. “Psychophysiological Audience Responses to War Journalism and Peace Journalism.” Global Media and Communication (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1742766515606295

 

Abstract

This article presents and discusses the results of an experiment in which television viewers were exposed to either a war journalism (WJ) or a peace journalism (PJ) version of two news stories, on Australian government policies towards asylum seekers and US-sponsored ‘peace talks’ between Israel and the Palestinians, respectively. Before and after viewing, they completed a cognitive questionnaire and two tests designed to disclose changes in their emotional state. During the viewing, they also underwent measurement of blood volume pulse, from which their heart rate variability (HRV) was calculated. HRV measures effects on the autonomic nervous system caused by changes in breathing patterns as subjects respond to stimuli with empathic concern. Since these patterns are regulated by the vagal nerve, HRV readings can therefore be interpreted as an indicator of vagal tone, which Porges et al. propose as an ‘autonomic correlate of emotion’. In this study, vagal tone decreased from baseline through both WJ stories, but showed a slightly smaller decrease during the PJ asylum story and then a significant increase during the PJ Israel–Palestine story. These readings correlated with questionnaire results showing greater hope and empathy among PJ viewers and increased anger and distress among WJ viewers, of the Israel–Palestine story.

 

 

New Article: Fleischman et al, Migration as a Social Determinant of Health for Irregular Migrants

Fleischman, Yonina, Sarah S. Willen, Nadav Davidovitch, and Zohar Mor. “Migration as a Social Determinant of Health for Irregular Migrants: Israel as Case Study.” Social Science & Medicine (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.10.046

 

Abstract

More than 150,000 irregular migrants reside in Israel, yet data regarding their utilization of and perceived barriers to health care services are limited. Drawing on semi-structured interviews conducted with 35 irregular migrant adults between January and September 2012, this paper analyzes the role of migration as a social determinant of health for irregular migrants, and especially asylum seekers. We analyze two kinds of barriers faced by migrants when they attempt to access health care services: barriers resulting directly from their migration status, and barriers that are common among low-income communities but exacerbated by this status. Migration-related barriers included a lack of clear or consistent legislation; the threat of deportation; the inability to obtain work permits and resulting poverty and harsh living and working conditions; and discrimination. Barriers exacerbated by migrant status included prohibitive cost; poor and confusing organization of services; language barriers; perceived low quality of care; and social isolation. These findings support recent arguments that migrant status itself constitutes a social determinant of health that can intersect with other determinants to adversely affect health care access and health outcomes. Findings suggest that any meaningful effort to improve migrants’ health will depend on the willingness of clinicians, public health officials, and policymakers to address the complex array of upstream political and socio-economic factors that affect migrants’ health rather than focusing on narrower questions of access to health care.

 

 

New Book: Kritzman-Amir, ed. Where Levinsky Meets Asmara (in Hebrew)

Kritzman-Amir, Tally. Where Levinsky Meets Asmara: Social and Legal Aspects of Israeli Asylum Policy. Jerusalem: Van Leer Institute and Bney Brak: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2015 (in Hebrew).

 

Asmara

 

 

In recent years, thousands of non-Jewish African asylum seekers have arrived to Israel, the state of Jewish refugees, numbering several tens of thousands. Migration of asylum seekers is a common phenomenon in almost all countries of the world. Questions of sovereignty and control of borders and society, belonging and status, demographics and security, culture and religion, as well as welfare and social justice have a decisive influence on the attitude towards asylum seekers in Israel and abroad, and cast a dark shadow over their future. Against this background, it is no wonder that the treatment of refugees became a politically charged issue arousing severe controversies between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary authorities.
This volume is the most comprehensive collection of articles that dealing with asylum seekers in Israel. It includes twelve articles seeking to characterize the communities of asylum seekers in Israel and to critically and comparatively describe the changing policy applied by the authorities and civil society. The articles are by scholars of various disciplines as well as involved activists. Among other topics, the book discusses the bureaucratic system of the State of Israel dealing with asylum applications; the experiences of asylum seekers in Israel and their ways of integration in the urban landscape; the religious life of Christian asylum seekers; asylum and gender; the exclusion of asylum seekers by restricting their entry at the border and their confinement in detention camps; refugees who are citizens of enemy states and Palestinian refugees; and viable solutions to the refugee problem. The essays in the volume serve as a foundation for studying this field and future research, and can be employed to assist policymakers and decision-makers.
.

 

 

New Article: Gerver, NGO Repatriation of South Sudanese in Israel

Gerver, Mollie. “Is Preventing Coerced Repatriation Ethical and Possible? The Case of NGO Repatriation of South Sudanese in Israel.” International Migration 53.5 (2015): 148-61.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/imig.12140

 

Abstract

“Voluntary repatriation” to a country of origin may be necessary to restore refugees’ rights, when only a country of origin will provide rights associated with citizenship. Yet, if refugees are returning because they do not have access to basic rights in a host country, their return is not voluntary according to UNHCR guidelines (1996). There is a tension between facilitating repatriation to restore rights, and ensuring that repatriation is voluntary. This article will first draw on arguments from moral philosophy to suggest an alternative policy to current UNHCR guidelines. Following this normative analysis, the article hypothesizes that, on an empirical level, a repatriation policy that attempts to only facilitate repatriation that is not coerced, out of concern for voluntariness alone, may fail both to prevent coerced returns and to restore right through repatriation. This hypothesis was then tested in the case of South Sudanese repatriation from Israel between 2009-2012.

 

 

New Article: Shokeid, Transforming Urban Landscapes and the Texture of Citizenship

Shokeid, Moshe. “Newcomers at the Israeli National Table: Transforming Urban Landscapes and the Texture of Citizenship.” City & Society 27.2 (2015): 208-30.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ciso.12061

 

Abstract

Advocating research of the “ethnographic present,” the article portrays the recent evolvement of two constituencies in Israeli urban society conceived as new socio-economic-cultural and spatial social “banks”: Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia residing in ethnically segregated urban neighborhoods; the gradual concentration in Tel Aviv’s downtown neighborhoods of authorized and undocumented labor migrants from Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan. It reports on the growing protest by local Israeli residents, the government’s efforts to limit the presence of “uninvited strangers,” as well as the active response of the unwelcome aliens. I posit that the emergence of these new ethnic enclaves converges with other critical changes in Israeli institutional life. Major transformations in the texture and tenets of Israeli citizenry, its spatial construction and national identity are steadily progressing.

 

 

Thesis: Wilson, African Asylum Seekers in Israeli Political Discourse

Wilson, Ben R. African Asylum Seekers in Israeli Political Discourse and the Contestation over Zionist Ideology, MA Thesis, Temple University, 2015.

URL: http://gradworks.umi.com/15/97/1597134.html

 

Abstract

Since the time of their arrival beginning around 2005, there remain approximately 46,000 African asylum seekers in Israel. The following paper reviews the foundations and implications of Israel’s political discourse in reference to the presence of this community. I situate the treatment of the asylum seekers in their relationship to the Jewish State, Zionist ideology, international refugee law, and Israel’s human rights community. I argue: 1) that the discourse surrounding the asylum seekers reflects larger changes within the ethos of the Jewish State and models of Israeli personhood; 2) that notions of “security” and “threat” in relation to the asylum seekers take on new meanings shaped by Israel’s ongoing demographic concerns; and 3) that the political response to the African asylum seekers sheds light on irreconcilable goals of the Zionist nation-building project seeking to both maintain a Jewish majority and liberate world Jewry from life segregated and isolated in the Diaspora.

 

 

New Article: Lurie and Nakash, Mental Health and Acculturation Patterns Among Asylum Seekers in Israel

Lurie, Ido, and Ora Nakash. “Exposure to Trauma and Forced Migration: Mental Health and Acculturation Patterns Among Asylum Seekers in Israel.” In Trauma and Migration. Cultural Factors in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Traumatised Immigrants (ed. Meryam Schouler-Ocak; New York: Amsterdam; 2015), 139-56.

 
 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007%2F978-3-319-17335-1_10

 

Abstract
Immigration is a process of loss and change which entails significant sociopsychological stress and possible effects on the mental health of immigrants. Over the last few decades, the State of Israel has become a target for forced migration. Since 2006 specifically, asylum seekers from East Africa (mainly Eritrea and Sudan) have been arriving in Israel.

In the current chapter, we first outline the phenomenon of forced migration to Israel and the living conditions of migrants once they arrive in Israel. We then describe the relationship between forced migration and mental health, both in adults and adolescents, as well as the connection between acculturation and mental health. Following this, we describe studies conducted with forced migrants in Israel, mainly Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers. We carried out three studies; within the population of service users at the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)-Israel’s Open Clinic, we documented the exposure of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to traumatic events during their journey to Israel. Our findings indicate that among a sample of adult African asylum seekers who arrived at the Open Clinic, a considerable percentage of men and women reported having witnessed violence and/or having been a victim of violence during migration to Israel.

Next, we examined the relationship between acculturation patterns and mental health symptoms among asylum seekers who arrived at the Open Clinic (N = 118). Assimilated asylum seekers reported higher (or more) depressive symptoms compared to integrated asylum seekers. Acculturation predicted depressive symptoms among adult asylum seekers beyond reports of experiences of traumatic events and the effect of history of detention.

Then, also describe the results of a study examining the role of acculturation, perceived discrimination and self-esteem in predicting mental health symptoms and risk behaviours among 1.5 and second-generation non-Jewish adolescents born to migrant families compared to native-born Jewish Israeli adolescents in Israel. Migrant adolescents across generations reported more severe mental health symptoms compared to native-born Jewish Israelis. However, only the 1.5 generation migrants reported higher engagement in risk behaviours compared to second-generation migrants and native-born Jewish Israelis. Similar to the adult sample, adolescents also showed that acculturation plays an important role in predicting the mental health status of migrant youths; adolescents showing integrated acculturative patterns reported fewer mental health symptoms than those with assimilated acculturation patterns.

The findings regarding the exposure of East African asylum seekers to traumatic events highlight the need to gather information regarding all phases of forced migration, from experiences in the home country through the journey to the host country. Our findings on acculturation draw attention to the paradox of assimilation and the mental health risks it poses for adult asylum seekers and adolescent immigrants wishing to integrate into the new culture at the expense of their original culture. Mental health professionals should be culturally aware of this vulnerability in therapeutic interventions with forced migrants. Policy makers may consider the benefits of the restrictive policies that have characterised many industrial countries in recent years.

 
 
 
 

New Article: Ghebrezghiabher & Motzafi-Haller, Eritrean Women Asylum Seekers in Israel

Ghebrezghiabher, Habtom M., and Pnina Motzafi-Haller. “Eritrean Women Asylum Seekers in Israel: From a Politics of Rescue to Feminist Accountability.” Journal of Refugee Studies (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fev006

 

Abstract

Despite acclaimed gender equality during the struggle for liberation and post independence in their country, the entrenched system of gender-based inequality has forced many Eritrean women to flee their country. On their difficult flight and during their journey, Eritrean women were exposed to blackmail, sexual abuse and rape. Those who made it through the difficult journey sought asylum in Israel but have not been able to escape gender violation and discrimination in their host state. This article traces the experience of Eritrean woman asylum seekers in Israel from the moment of their escape from Eritrea, through their torturous journey and after their entry into a state that refuses to consider their right to refugee status. Data were obtained using in-depth interviews with women asylum seekers in Israel, records of radio interviews and Paltalk discussions in the Tigrigna language, and close reading of unpublished reports by human rights activists and of Hebrew-language Israeli newspapers. Analysis of these diverse bodies of data reveals that gender is largely ignored by the few scholars who attempted to document the Eritrean asylum seekers experience in Israel. Drawing on post-colonial feminist Canadian scholar Sherene Razack (1999), who urges us to develop ‘a more political understanding of why women flee’, we examine here the experience of Eritrean women asylum seekers in Israel within a critical feminist analytical framework that documents their agency within changing historical and political circumstances and forces. We use this larger historically specific framework to disengage from the trope of ‘pity and rescue’ and offer instead a critical examination of how Eritrean women act as agents from the moment they decide to flee their country and until they settle in Israel.

 

 

Conference Paper: Kagan, Judicial Resistance to Detention of Asylum-Seekers in Israel and the United States

Kagan, Michael. “Limiting Deterrence: Judicial Resistance to Detention of Asylum-Seekers in Israel and the United States.” Texas International Law Journal Symposium: Immigration and Freedom of Movement, February 5, 2015.

 

URL: http://scholars.law.unlv.edu/facpub/936  For symposium program, click here.

 

Abstract

Governments have advanced the argument that asylum­-seekers may be detained in order to deter other would-­be asylum­-seekers from coming. But in recent litigation in the United States and Israel, this justification for mass detention met with significant resistance from courts. This essay looks at the way the American and Israeli courts dealt with the proposed deterrence rationale for asylum­-seeker detention. It suggests that general deterrence raises three sequential questions:

1. Is deterrence ever legitimate as a stand alone justification for depriving people of liberty?
2. If deterrence is sometimes legitimate, is it valid as a general matter in migration control, or is it limited to certain exceptional circumstances?
3. If deterrence is a legitimate goal, is there any effective proportionality limit on the measures a government may take against asylum-­seekers?

The American and Israeli courts did not answer these questions in the same way, and they did not foreclose all potential future uses of deterrence by their respective governments. But they signaled considerable judicial resistance, which may make it more difficult for governments to justify mass detention in the future.

 

 

New Book: Yacobi, Israel and Africa

Yacobi, Haim. Israel and Africa. A Genealogy of Moral Geography, Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Geography. New York: Routledge, 2015.

 

9781138902374

 

Through a genealogical investigation of the relationships between Israel and Africa, this book sheds light on the processes of nationalism, development and modernization, exploring Africa’s role as an instrument in the constant re-shaping of Zionism. Through looking at “Israel in Africa” as well as “Africa in Israel”, it provides insightful analysis on the demarcation of Israel’s ethnic boundaries and identity formation as well as proposing the different practices, from architectural influences to the arms trade, that have formed the geopolitical concept of “Africa”. It is through these practices that Israel reproduces its internal racial and ethnic boundaries and spaces, contributing to its geographical imagination as detached not solely from the Middle East but also from its African connections.

This book would be of interest to students and scholars of Middle East and Jewish Studies, as well as Post-colonial Studies, Geography and Architectural History.

 

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Family Album

Part One: Israel in Africa
Chapter 1: Africa’s Decade
Chapter 2: The Architecture of Foreign Policy

Part Two: Africa in Israel
Chapter 3: Consuming, Reading, Imagining
Chapter 4: North Africa in Israel
Chapter 5: The Racialization of Space

Part Three: Israel in Africa II
Chapter 6: Back to Africa

Conclusion

Haim Yacobi is a Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.

 

 

Conference: Israeli Supreme Court Project (Cardozo, May 17-18, 2015)

cls-conf

The Israeli Supreme Court Project at Cardozo invites you to

Constitutional Conflicts and the Judicial Role in Comparative Perspective

Sunday, May 17, 2015  |  3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Monday, May 18, 2015  |  9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Jacob Burns Moot Court Room

55 Fifth Avenue (at 12th Street)

New York, NY 10003

Visit this link for more information.

The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Please email ISCP@yu.edu with your name, affiliation, and contact information.

Constitutional Conflicts and the Judicial Role in Comparative Perspective

This conference will explore the Israeli Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on complex and challenging questions facing open and multi-cultural societies everywhere. Because these issues are salient in, but by no means peculiar to, Israel, a comparative perspective will enrich our understanding of how such issues are, and might be, dealt with in other democratic societies.

Panels will address the general question of the value and challenges of comparative legal study, differing conceptions of the role of the judiciary and doctrines of justiciability, and substantive areas of current controversy, including the role of the courts in overseeing national security and intelligence gathering; immigration, asylum, and treatment and status of refugees; and religion in the modern nation-state.

The Israeli Supreme Court Project at Cardozo

This conference marks the launch of the Israeli Supreme Court Project at Cardozo Law (ISCP). Intended to both inform and engage constitutional scholars, lawyers, and judges in democracies around the world, the ISCP is a center of study and discussion of the decisions of the Israeli Supreme Court, one of the great judicial bodies of the world and a court at the forefront of dealing with issues at the core of what it means to be a democratic society.

The central undertaking of the ISCP is the translation into English and dissemination of key opinions of the Israeli Supreme Court. In this, the Project is continuing, and will expand on, two decades of work and over 200 translations by the Friends of the Library of the Supreme Court of Israel. Translated opinions, other relevant material about the Court, and more information about the ISCP can all be found on the Project’s website, VERSA, at versa.cardozo.yu.edu.

This conference, as well as the other work of the ISCP, are made possible by essential support from the David Berg Foundation, which is gratefully acknowledged.

2:30-3 p.m. Registration and Coffee3-3:15 p.m. Welcoming Remarks 

Dean Matthew Diller (Cardozo School of Law)

President Emeritus Asher Dan Grunis (Israeli Supreme Court)

3:15-4:45 p.m. The Comparative Project 

This panel will consider the value and challenges of comparative legal study. Why should scholars and judges in one country care what their counterparts elsewhere are up to? Is it ever possible for outsiders to understand the details, cultural meanings, and historical underpinnings of a foreign legal system? What are the settings, issues, or circumstances that make for a successful comparative work?

Panelists:

William Ewald (University of Pennsylvania Law School)

Amnon Reichman (University of Haifa Faculty of Law)

Michel Rosenfeld (Cardozo School of Law)

Adam Shinar (Radzyner School of Law, Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya)

Moderator: Michael Herz (Cardozo School of Law)

5-6 p.m. Roundtable Discussion

President Miriam Naor (Israeli Supreme Court)

President Emeritus Asher Dan Grunis (Israeli Supreme Court)

Justice Daphne Barak-Erez (Israeli Supreme Court)

Leon Wieseltier (Harvard Law School)

Suzanne Stone (Cardozo School of Law)

8:30-9 a.m. Registration and Coffee 9-10:30 a.m. The Role of the Judiciary in Comparative Perspective 

The Israeli Supreme Court hears over 10,000 cases a year, has a large mandatory docket, for many of its most important cases is the court of first instance rather than a court of appeal, and has only limited threshold “justiciability” doctrines (such as standing requirements or the bar on political questions). In these features it is utterly different from its U.S. counterpart. This panel will consider such structural characteristics, then turn to their broader implications regarding the role of the judiciary in governance and in society, including the question of whether a Supreme Court leads or follows civil society, whether it is an educational institution, and the sources of its legitimacy.

Panelists:

Justice Daphne Barak-Erez (Supreme Court of Israel)

Yoav Dotan (Hebrew University Law Faculty)

Barak Medina (Hebrew University Law Faculty)

Mark Tushnet (Harvard Law School)

Moderator: Julie Suk (Cardozo School of Law)

10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Judicial Oversight of National Security and Intelligence Gathering

Effective national security and intelligence gathering are generally understood to depend on secrecy, dispatch, and subterfuge. These characteristics would seem to leave little room for judicial oversight, which assumes transparency, forthrightness, and deliberate pacing. On the other hand, there is a very real danger of abuse without some sort of oversight and legal restraint. This panel will consider how national security issues differ (if at all) from other issues that come before the courts and what exactly the judicial role should be in overseeing national security agencies.

Panelists:

Oren Gross (University of Minnesota Law School)

Deborah Pearlstein (Cardozo School of Law)

Sam Rascoff (NYU Law School)

Steve Vladeck (American University Washington College of Law)

Moderator: Ari Mermelstein (Yeshiva University)

12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch (Lunch will be provided for all attendees.)

1:30-3 p.m. Immigration, Asylum, and the Treatment and Status of Refugees

Of the Israeli Supreme Court’s recent decisions, one of the most important, divided, and divisive have concerned the detention of asylum seekers. Issues surrounding immigration and citizenship are hugely important, and hugely contested, in Israel and elsewhere. This panel will examine the ISC’s decisions in this area and consider what lessons can be drawn, positive or negative, for Israel and for the rest of the world.

Panelists:

Michael Kagan (UNLV School of Law)

Tally Kritzman-Amir (The College of Law and Business [Israel])

Audrey Macklin (University of Toronto Law School)

Reuven Ziegler (University of Reading)

Moderator: Alex Stein (Cardozo School of Law)

3:15-4:45 p.m. Religion in the Modern Nation-State

Israel’s Basic Laws designate it as “both Jewish and democratic.” The Supreme Court, and many commentators, have struggled to reconcile these two fundamental commitments. Is it possible to construct a constitutional identity that privileges Jewish culture, history, and religion while remaining essentially democratic? The answer to that question has ramifications for religious liberties in many settings as well as minority rights in general.

Panelists:

Ori Aronson (Bar-Ilan Faculty of Law)

Leora Batnitzky (Princeton University)

Jeremy Kessler (Columbia Law School [as of 7/1/15])

Pnina Lahav (Boston University Law School)

Moderator: David Rudenstine (Cardozo School of Law)

4:45-5 p.m. Concluding Remarks

President Miriam Naor (Israeli Supreme Court)

Suzanne Stone (Cardozo School of Law)

5-6 p.m. Reception

 
 
 
 

New Article: Filc et al, Beyond ‘New Humanitarianism’

Filc, Dani, Nadav Davidovitch and Nora Gottlieb. “Beyond ‘New Humanitarianism’: Physicians for Human Rights–Israel’s Mobile Clinic and Open Clinic on the Interface of Social Justice, Human Rights and Medical Relief.” Journal of Human Rights Practice 7.1 (2015): 88-108.

 

URL: http://jhrp.oxfordjournals.org/content/7/1/88.abstract

 

Abstract

The present article examines two projects of Physicians for Human Rights–Israel (PHR–IL)—a clinic in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and a clinic for undocumented migrant workers and asylum seekers—in order to examine the tensions between medical humanitarian aid, human rights advocacy and egalitarian political activism. Through the examination of PHR–IL the article argues that it is possible to create a hierarchical synergism between those three modes.

New Article: Kalir, Moral Obligation and Fearism in the Treatment of African Asylum Seekers in Israel

Kalir, Barak. “The Jewish State of Anxiety: Between Moral Obligation and Fearism in the Treatment of African Asylum Seekers in Israel.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies [early view online, prior to printed version]

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1369183X.2014.960819

 

Abstract

Since 2005 around 60,000 asylum seekers, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, have entered Israel by crossing the border from Egypt. Notwithstanding the Jewish history of persecution, and Israel being a signatory to the UN Convention for the protection of refugees, modern Israel systematically refuses to grant a refugee status to asylum seekers. Since 2012, the tenacious hostile approach of Israeli policy-makers and state-agents towards asylum seekers has resulted in an outburst of racist verbal and physical attacks against them. This article analyses the socio-legal location of asylum seekers in Israel by examining how their position is articulated by different parties, deploying competing discourses of human rights, citizenship, security and sovereignty. The article advances that appeals—mostly made by critical non-governmental organisations (NGOs), journalists and academics—to human rights, Jewish morals and historic sensitivities are beguiling; while they arouse hopes for compassion and moral obligation, they are also used by mainstream Israeli politicians to justify the exclusion and deportation of so-called ‘African infiltrators’. A hegemonic ideology of ‘fearism’—which brands the Israeli national narrative and informs the notion of citizenship among Jewish Israelis—leads to the construction of asylum seekers as abject Others, who pose a threat to the Jewish state and to Jews’ own right for secured citizenship.

New Article: Lentin and Moreo, Migrant Deportability: Israel and Ireland as Case Studies

Lentin, Ronit and Elena Moreo. “Migrant Deportability: Israel and Ireland as Case Studies.” Ethnic and Racial Studies (ahead of print).

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01419870.2014.948477

 

Abstract

This article critiques policies of deportation and deportability – a technology emanating from three seemingly conflicting rationalities: states’ obligations under international human rights regimes, capitalism’s need to facilitate the movement of labour, and the need to reaffirm state sovereignty. After outlining the concept of deportability, we argue that although justified by state actors as an integral part of asylum and immigration policies, deportability epitomizes the paradox of immigration regimes at a point of crisis. We use Israel and Ireland as case studies to illustrate that migrant deportability circumvents human rights and domestic legislation that hinder the power of the state to deport unwanted migrants. Paradoxically, in both, policies that engender the deportability of asylum seekers are a response to their undeportability. Despite their differences, Israel and Ireland are unusual immigration destinations and quintessential diaspora nations, whose histories of dispersal configure Jewishness and Irishness in ethno-racially rigid yet spatially fluid terms, as illustrated by their citizenship regimes.