Lawyers are pitch­ing in against Is­rael

The Jewish Chronicle - - News -

VEX­A­TIOUS AL­LE­GA­TIONS are part of an in­creas­ingly suc­cess­ful “law­fare” strat­egy by which anti-is­rael ac­tivists are turn­ing to the le­gal sys­tem to un­der­mine Is­rael and its de­fend­ers.

The main man­i­fes­ta­tion saw Is­raeli politi­cians re­fus­ing to dis­em­bark at Heathrow Air­port for fear of ar­rest for al­leged war crimes.

Then there were the anti-is­rael ac­tivists who caused £180,000 dam­age to the EDO arms fac­tory in Brighton dur­ing Op­er­a­tion Cast Lead but who were ac­quit­ted af­ter suc­cess­fully ar­gu­ing in their de­fence that they were try­ing to pre­vent Is­raeli war crimes in Gaza.

Dur­ing their trial for ag­gra­vated tres­pass, four ac­tivists who stormed Ahava in Covent Gar­den, forc­ing its clo­sure for three hours, un­suc­cess­fully ar­gued that they were try­ing to pre­vent Ahava aid­ing and/or abet­ting war crimes in sell­ing prod­ucts from an il­le­gal set­tle­ment.

Ap­proval for this anti-is­rael ac­tiv- ism is com­ing from the top of the le­gal pro­fes­sion. In Novem­ber 2010, Michael Mans­field QC, ad­dress­ing an au­di­ence at Amnesty In­ter­na­tional, said that, if in­di­vid­u­als are pros­e­cuted for en­ter­ing fac­to­ries, shops or of­fices their de­fence is “yes, there is dam­age, but the dam­age was done out of ne­ces­sity to pre­vent a greater evil be­ing caused”. Two bar­ris­ters from Mans­field’s cham­bers rep­re­sented the anti-ahava ac­tivists.

With anti-is­rael sen­ti­ment in­fil­trat­ing the le­gal arena, it is cru­cial for or­gan­i­sa­tions like UK Lawyers For Is­rael to be able to ad­vise when Is­rael’s in­ter­ests are threat­ened in this way.

Few ex­pected an ac­quit­tal in the “SOAS biter” case in which the de­fen­dant had left teeth marks on the cheek of a pro-is­rael ac­tivist. Few ex­pected ac­quit­tals in the EDO case where the judge was rep­ri­manded af­ter­wards for com­par­ing Gaza to scenes caused by the Nazis. And the judge who con­victed the anti-ahava ac­tivists found Ahava’s shop to be “trad­ing law­fully” but said he reached this con­clu­sion with “con­sid­er­able hes­i­tancy”.

Richard Mil­lett is a pro-is­rael blog­ger

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