Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Giladi on Occupied Territories in Lieber's Code

Rotem Giladi, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law, has posted A Different Sense of Humanity: Occupation in Francis Lieber’s Code, which appeared in the International Review of the Red Cross 94 (2012): 1-36.  Here is the abstract:
Accounts narrating the history of the modern law of occupation display ambivalence to the 1863 Lieber Code. At times, they mark the humanity of its provisions on occupied territories; at others, they find its concept of humanity in occupation limited compared to subsequent developments. A broader reading of the Code against Lieber’s published works, teaching and correspondence reveals a unique — and disconcerting — sense of humanity pervading through its provisions. Lieber’s different sense of humanity, not directed at individuals, throws light on the history of the law governing occupied territories today and paves the way for critical reflections on its conceptual bases.
Professor Giladi is also the author of the (gated) article A ‘Historical Commitment’? Identity and Ideology in Israel's Attitude to the Refugee Convention 1951-4, which appears in the International History Review:
The paper examines and debunks the conventional wisdom that Israeli foreign policy incorporates a ‘historical commitment’ to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. Particular Jewish interests and universal values, it is argued, led the new found Jewish state to initiate the Convention, participate in its formulation, and promote its acceptance; Israel was, additionally, among the first states to sign and ratify the Convention. Against the backdrop of present-day discourse and competing perspectives on the Jewish motif in Israel’s foreign policy, the paper traces the process of Israel’s ratification of the Refugee Convention. Israel’s attitude to the Convention, it finds, was characterised by delay, disinterest, indifference, even hostility. Moreover, neither particular interests nor universal values satisfactorily explain Israel’s attitude. Rather, this attitude was the outcome of competing visions of Israel’s identity and ideological interpretations of Jewish nationalism. Ideologically, the Convention validated yet at the same time also undermined Israel’s particular identity as the state of refuge of the Jewish people and its ideological raison d’être in the world system. This ambivalence allowed Israeli diplomats to construct a logic of exemption under which the particularity of Israel’s very existence as the state of refuge of the Jewish people represented complete performance of its universal obligations under the Convention.

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