Cynical International LawSymposium

Cynical International Law?

Announcement of the Online Symposium and Keynote Lecture Livestream

Cynicism and its relation to international law is a question that has so far not comprehensively been studied. Cynicism has been used in a cursory fashion by international lawyers, e.g. when denouncing the invocation of legal justifications by certain actors as ‘cynical’. Others have applied the concept to international lawyers and their attitude towards their own profession. But the concept of cynicism might also be applied to international law itself: …

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ABC of OPTBook ReviewSymposium

Response: Critiquing in the Light of The ABC of the OPT

We are grateful to Verfassungblog for dedicating a symposium to The ABC of the OPT; to Anne Peters and Alexandra Kemmerer for their generosity of mind, indeed the contextual mindfulness in which they held a launching event for the book in Berlin (sponsored by both the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law, International Law‘s Berlin Office and Recht im Kontext (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and wrote the introduction to this symposium; and …

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ABC of OPTBook ReviewSymposium

“Say My Name”: The Politics of Not Naming

At first sight, the “ABC of the OPT” creates the impression that this is yet another book written exclusively by Israeli academics about a situation that has profoundly transformed the framework of occupation law—and international humanitarian law in general—a long time ago. This first impression is underpinned by the use of hegemonically loaded terminology, structure, and choice of entries and sources. Despite the many nuances academics employ to draw a …

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ABC of OPTBook ReviewSymposium

The broken promise of belligerent occupation law

The ABC of the OPT, the award-winning new publication by three outstanding Israeli scholars and jurists – Orna Ben-Naftali, Michael Sfard and Hedi Viterbo –demonstrates, in a masterly fashion, the use and abuse of the laws of belligerent occupation as a masquerade for raw power and as a tool for oppression. The authors illustrate, using the format of a legal lexicon dedicated to specific legal terms and rhetorical devices (or newspeak), …

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ABC of OPTBook ReviewSymposium

Phantom sovereignty and the imaginary version of international law

In the ABC of the OPT, Orna Ben-Naftali, Michael Sfard and Hedi Viterbo offer a guidebook for the legal tourist – a narrated cartography to the strange legal planet that has become Israel/Palestine, governed by hundreds of military and civil officials that harbor wide discretion and a flexible rule that I call phantom sovereignty. Shaped as a lexicon, it includes entries that offer both a thematic and a chronological history …

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ABC of OPTBook ReviewSymposium

Mobilizing the untapped capacity of international law

It is a particular honour to be asked to contribute to the Book Review Symposium at Verfassungsblog because of the occasion: the arrival of an outstanding work on international law that addresses – dispassionately, authoritatively and comprehensively – one of the most pervasive and most tragic issues of our time: Israel’s interminable occupation of Palestine. This book du jour – The ABC of the OPT – by Orna, Michael and …

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ABC of OPTBook ReviewSymposium

From “Assigned Residence” to “Zone”

Introduction to the Book Review Symposium on The ABC of the OPT

Israel’s occupation or “control” (as the book prefers to call it) of Palestinian Territory that began with six days in June 1967, presents a depressing and tragic political and moral conundrum. For the international lawyer, it is also a legal laboratory of global relevance. “The Israeli occupation of Palestine embodies a fateful and troubling paradox regarding international law that we must acknowledge and think our way through”, writes Michael Lynk, …

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Book ReviewIrresolvable Norm ConflictsSymposium

Dilemmatic Discomfort: Author’s Response

I am very grateful to Rostam Neuwirth, Surabhi Ranganathan, Wolfgang Thierse and Lea Wisken for taking the time to engage with my book in such a thoughtful and constructive manner. I would also like to thank the Völkerrechtsblog, and in particular, Sebastian Spitra, for arranging this symposium and Valentina Kleinsasser for translating the interview with Wolfgang Thierse. The four contributions raise many more points and questions than I have space …

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Book ReviewIrresolvable Norm ConflictsSymposium

“Irresolvable Norm Conflicts”: An Oxymoron?

Norm conflicts in international law have received surprisingly little attention, given their fundamental relevance for law in general and the present international legal order in particular. Long ago, a few pages in Emer De Vattel’s Le droit des gens, published in 1758 (De Vattel 1758: 507-514, and an article by C. Wilfred Jenks titled “The Conflict of Law-Making Treaties”, published in 1953 (Jenks 1953), would have nearly completed the list …

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Book ReviewIrresolvable Norm ConflictsSymposium

Legal dilemmas: the first step towards a solution is to acknowledge the problem

Imagine that you are the captain of a ship located halfway between several people drowning. You have a duty towards each of them but are unable to save everyone. In such a situation, Valentin Jeutner argues, you are confronted with not only a moral but possibly also a legal dilemma. The notion of a legal dilemma challenges the assumption that international law is a coherent system providing a binary classification …

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