Israeli Ethicist Protested at University of Minnesota

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The Anti-War Committee protested at the University of Minnesota Law School, Tuesday, November 3rd. The Law School hosted Hebrew University professor Moshe Halbertal and paid a $5,000 fee, for a lecture titled “Protecting Civilians: Moral Challenges of Asymmetric Warfare.”

Halbertal co-authored the Israeli military code of ethics, which guides the conduct of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The code of ethics is an operational document used to train IDF soldiers and commanders.

Cameras were not allowed in the lecture hall. The protesters, through a series of interruptions succeeded in disrupting the entire presentation. Three were arrested, including National Lawyers Guild attorney Jordan Kushner who was arrested for recording what was happening on his cell phone.

The group objected to Halbettal’s defense of the recent military action against civilians in Gaza, and the use of University funds to present his case.

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

2 thoughts on “Israeli Ethicist Protested at University of Minnesota

  1. For those who missed the talk, it substantially followed the one he gave a year ago at the Jewish Theological Seminary: https://youtu.be/6jnnMeBZT9E which focuses almost exclusively on “jus in bello” also known as the “law of war” or HOW to wage war (according to the “sliding scale risk allocation” rules of military necessity, distinction, responsibility and the proportionality of killing non-combatants or civilians) as opposed to the more important “jus ad bellum” law, i.e. whether any war is legally justified in the first place or is the “supreme crime” war of aggression.

    I hope that someone will write a thoughtful critique of Halbertal’s “ethics” (as well as of the ethics of former IDF legal advisor, U of MN Professor Oren Gross who brought Halbertal to speak and also organized the U of MN’s (pro-drone warfare) “Warfare Symposium” a couple years ago).

    But it should be recognized that the wider issue is finally surfacing amongst prominent legal authorities: http://opiniojuris.org/2015/10/26/chase-madar-on-the-weaponisation-of-human-rights/ and https://www.justsecurity.org/26697/sanitizing-war-endlessness/. There is a misplaced focus of Western-based “human rights” attorneys upon sanitizing war as opposed to any focus or check upon their governments’ decisions to launch wars, in violation of the U.N. charter based on nation-state sovereignty and often even in violation of the U.S. Constitution, especially when Superpowers seize on the novel justifications of foreign-based terrorists and the “right to use military force to protect” civilian populations from genocide. Given that “a poor man’s war is terrorism while a rich man’s terrorism is war,” this becomes a recipe for ratcheting up endless war on the part of US-NATO-Israel.

  2. I have followed the pattern of violence for a long time. These attacks on Gaza that kill more or less than a thousand people clearly result in many more Israelis being killed, not fewer. These attacks are clearly not intended to be for self defense, but to ensure peace does not happen.