The American branch of the International Law Association appears to have edited a description of a panel discussion at its upcoming October conference that declared the State of Israel is guilty of the crime of “apartheid” — widely seen a form of antisemitism.
A panel on Saturday, October 22, titled “Racism and the Crime of Apartheid in International Law,” was initially described by the program as including “Israeli authorities’ systematic oppression of Palestinians” as a form of apartheid.
But after Breitbart News sent queries to organizers and sponsors of the event earlier this week, a new version of the program was uploaded to the program website Oct. 13 that now omits specific mention of Israel, though it still includes speakers who have argued that Israel is guilty of apartheid.
Apartheid was a regime of racial segregation in South Africa that ended in 1994. Israel has never, had such laws or practices, and gave equal rights to Arab citizens from independence; separations between Israelis and Palestinians in Judea and Samaria (“the West Bank”) exist as a result of recent conflict. The U.S. Department of State recognizes that one form of antisemitism is “[d]enying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”
Still, claims that Israel is guilty of “apartheid” are used on the far left in an attempt to discredit, and ultimately to dismantle, Israel. The inclusion of that claim at a widely-respected legal conference, sponsored by prominent law schools and law firms, reflects an effort to move anti-Israel extremism and antisemitism into the legal mainstream.
Already, anti-Israel ideology is being used to exclude Jews on campus. UC Berkeley’s law school, for example, has been accused of allowing student groups to create “Jewish-free zones” by banning pro-Israel speakers.
Breitbart News approached several hosts and sponsors of the International Law Association to ask if they endorsed the panel’s view, evident from the program as it existed at the time.
A spokesperson from the White & Case law firm responded: “White & Case supports the International Law Society, not just at the University of Chicago Law School, but at many other law schools across the country. We are not involved in or consulted on any of the programming decisions these student organizations make, and we are not a sponsor of this event.”
Victoria Grantham, Senior Executive Director of Communications and Marketing at Fordham Law School, responded to a query about the event as follows:
Thank you for your query about the upcoming International Law Weekend event.
This is not an event created by Fordham Law School. Rather, it is created and held annually by the International Law Association.
Until we read your query we were not aware of the issue you raised, but the presence of topics and speakers at academic conferences does not imply the endorsement of the Law School nor the University.
Other hosts and sponsors, including the New York City Bar Association, and the Debevoise & Plimpton law firm, did not respond to a request for comment. The American branch of the International Law Association itself did not respond to a query about the apparent change to the event program.
The conference also includes a keynote address by former South African judge Richard Goldstone, who led a UN investigation that falsely accused Israel of committing war crimes in the 2008-9 conflict with the Palestinian terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Goldstone later retracted the false claim — though fellow investigator Christine Chinkin did not.
Despite his role in that defamatory episode, Goldstone is receiving a “lifetime achievement award” from the American Branch, and Chinkin, who chairs the International Law Association, is featured in the program.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.