“Rockets’ red glare” has returned to Israel’s border with Gaza. In an attempt to suck Israel into an internecine battle between Hamas and Salafists (an even more intense version of Islam), the latter group has been intentionally provoking Israel, hoping to induce an Israeli Air Force retaliation against Hamas, according to a top member of Israel’s defense establishment.
The several rockets shot into Israel comprising this gambit, despite causing no damage, constitute warfare, plain and simple. Israel retaliated, destroying a number of sites in Gaza, but refuses to be sucked into an escalation. Though unable to prevent its enemies from committing acts of war, Israel, wishing to avoid war at this time, by offering limited response unilaterally prevents warfare.
If Israel were only so successful preventing a presently more pernicious danger: “lawfare.”
Lawfare is a recently invented term, a portmanteau (I never get to use this word!) taking the above-used “warfare,” and replacing “war” with “law.” Its coinage is attributed to a Colonel Charles Dunlap who, in 2001, said, “A method of warfare where law is used as a means of realizing a military objective.” The director of the “Lawfare Project” decried “lawfare” as “about more than just delegitimizing a state’s right to defend itself; it is about the abuse of the law and our judicial systems to undermine the very principles they stand for: the rule of law, the sanctity of innocent human life, and the right to free speech. Lawfare is not something in which persons engage in the pursuit of justice; it is a negative undertaking. …”
Make no mistake, “lawfare” is war of the most vicious nature, but the weapon is the law, and the courtroom or the court of public opinion is the venue. On the battlefield, Israel is, with the help of Hashem, seemingly invincible, but in the theater of “lawfare,” Israel is most vulnerable and most assailed and, it seems, losing.
According to Canadian MP and former Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, an internationally recognized expert in human rights law, the use of law to delegitimize Israel is present in five areas: United Nations, international law, humanitarian law, the struggle against racism and the struggle against genocide. Daily the media is a checklist of these five elements of “lawfare.” The U.N. and its satellite organizations (i.e., UNRWA and UNHRC) are obsessed with condemning Israel in the media and bringing motions against Israel in its frequent farcical Human Rights colloquiums. The International Criminal Court (ICC), an international tribunal that sits in The Hague, Netherlands, with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes has been the site for cases brought by non-governmental organizations and individuals against Israel. It is to this organization that the Palestinian authority, in violation of signed agreements with Israel, applied and was admitted this past April. It is in this particular forum that the Palestinian Authority hopes to prosecute a legal war against the Israel Defense Force. The sham BDS Movement (an acronym standing for Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) justifies its demands for boycotting Israeli goods, divesting from investments in Israeli companies and bringing direct sanctions against companies engaged in any business dealings with the “settler enterprise.” By slandering Israel with accusations of racism, human rights violations and claims of Israeli military genocide perpetrated against the Palestinians of Gaza and Yehudah and the Shomron, the BDS movement has gained popular momentum, despite several recent setbacks, on university campuses across America and the world.
Of late, several salvos of “lawfare” have been fired at the State of Israel. Recently, Great Britain’s National Union of Students passed a motion to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israeli companies and firms that do business with Israel, yet categorically rejects denouncing ISIS or human rights violations anywhere else in the world. In mid-May, convicted terrorist Jibril Rajoub, currently serving as the Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, initiated a motion to have Israel forfeit its membership in FIFA, the organization governing world soccer and arguably the world’s most powerful sports organization. This suit, later dropped, was intended to push Israel into a pariah wasteland of international sports and was considered by many to be a trial (no pun intended) balloon for having Israel denied participation in the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics. This may seem trivial, but soccer’s World Cup competition and the Olympics are arguably the world’s most popular events and being able to deny Israel access to these international platforms would be a political coup for the Palestinians.
Dominating the news is the fallout from last week’s announcement by Orange Telecom’s head Stephane Richard that his company would cease doing business in Israel. His decision, based upon reports by five mainly French NGOs and two trade unions, urged Orange, whose shareholders include the French government’s 13–25 percent interest, to cut business ties and publicly declare its desire to avoid contributing to the economic viability of the settlements. Shortly after this bombshell announcement, Gerard Araud, French Ambassador to the U.S. and formerly France’s envoy to Israel, defended the company’s move, saying it was “illegal to contribute” to occupation of territories under international law. Lawfare strikes again!
Richard later apologized and retracted his statements and now claims to “love” Israel.
Israel faces many enemies, and lawfare is perhaps the most malevolent. On the surface it seems legitimate, even moral; merely a legal battle spilling only ink. Do not be deceived: The alchemy of this blue ink is that it quickly changes to red blood — Jewish blood.
Meir Solomon is a writer, analyst, and commentator living in Alon Shvut, Israel, with his amazing wife and two wonderful children. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.