By Lee Kaplan
Israel Academia Monitor, 23/10/2007
“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”—William Shakespeare, King Henry VI
According to her Curriculum Vitae, Neta Ziv is the director of The Cegla Clinical Law Programs at the University of Tel Aviv Law School. She is the academic supervisor of the Human Rights Clinic and teaches courses on Legal Ethics and the Legal Profession, Law and Social Change and Rights of People with Disabilities. Dr. Ziv received her LL.B. from the Hebrew University Law Faculty in 1983, and her LL.M. from The American University in Washington, DC in 1986. Dr. Ziv practiced as a public interest lawyer for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel between 1986-1996, and served as a leading attorney in some of Israel’s major human rights cases litigated before the Israeli Supreme Court. She continued her studies at Stanford Law School and received her J.S.D. in 2001. Dr. Ziv was among the founding members of the Israel Women’s Network Legal Center, the chair of Bizchut - The Israel Human Rights Center for People with Disabilities, and currently serves as a board member of "Itach - Women Lawyers for Social Justice". Dr. Ziv is a board member and Vice President of The New Israel Fund.
The last sentence of the above academic biography of Neta Ziv is very telling. The New Israel Fund is thought of by many American Jews as just another philanthropic organization to aid Israel. It is, in fact, an organization run by leftist Jews inspired by far-left American ideas. Few people, particularly American Jews, know how the New Israel Fund, working closely with another group, The Shefa Fund, has financed another leftist group that passed out flyers at Israeli train stations urging soldiers in the IDF to desert and promising them wages higher than their army wages while they sit in jail (Israel does not really pay salaries to its conscripts). As a board member of NIF, Professor Ziv no doubt knew about this and condones it.
Professor Ziv is the embodiment of how the abstractions of academia can ultimately lead to the opposite of what the academy was meant to do: to enhance society through the application of scholastic study and scientific inquiry to arrive at truth. This is clearly present in her applications of American jurisprudence to Israel’s situation as a tiny democratic country surrounded by a sea of Arab nationalist and Islamic dictatorships calling for the state’s destruction. Ziv defines her activities as preserving human rights; others might define them as enabling the enemies of Israel to destroy the Jewish state. As an educator, she promotes developing what could be considered “cause lawyers” who use the courts to promote a radical agenda against the state in time of war.
To understand where Professor Ziv is coming from, it is important to understand how American law has molded a new generation of “activists” within Israel who claim to be promoting “social justice” (Why is it every totalitarian revolutionary movement likes to claim it is seeking “social justice”?). In reality, such activities only serve to embolden and strengthen Israel’s enemies. Whereas in America, one can throw a stone and almost count on hitting a lawyer because of that nation’s status as a superpower and peaceful civil society (at least before 9/11), Israel’s situation is considerably different.
Constitutional Law has always in particular played an almost constant role in the American quotidian. It is only recently though that the constant effects of law in American society HAVE turned academic inquiry into another form of propaganda and even subversion to be used against the very democratic society that created it. In America, one can use law to promote a political agenda against the state. That is the role of “cause lawyers.”
For example, organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union that Ziv uses as a guide or ally to educate her law students in promoting her educational agenda are, in fact, not as interested in preserving human rights (although they claim to be) as in promoting a radical socialist political agenda that usually calls for Israel’s destruction. The ACLU was set up in the 1920’s as a pro-communist front group. Today, the ACLU has many lawyers who toe a party line against Israel. A case in point would be of a Coptic Christian who lost his job teaching courses about terrorism and Arabic language because Muslim extremists on his campus did not like what he taught. The man lost his job despite a contract and was not even paid. Whereas the local ACLU office (with a Jewish manager) agreed he had an excellent case, the Washington national headquarters nixed representing him when approval was sought from executives with Arab and radical leftist backgrounds. The Constitution did not apply to a Copt who taught about Arab Muslim terrorist groups.
A similar situation exists with the Center for Constitutional Rights in Washington, DC. Whereas one would expect an organization in the US Capitol with such a name to concern itself with the rights of Americans under the US Constitution, the CCR devoted a good deal of its time and efforts to trying to get Ariel Sharon tried for war crimes in the Hague or freeing the terrorist POWs in Guantanamo. What fewer people know is the CCR gets funding from the UAE where the finances for the 9/11 attacks came from. The UAE no doubt couldn’t care less about the US Constitution as much as rescuing the serial killers from the umma who were captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan while engaging in Holy Jihad.
Professor Ziv works with a program set up to train Israeli law students in “human rights” and social engineering activist tactics as an outcome of practicing law. Israeli law students are given an opportunity to clerk with American judges to learn the ropes. And rubbing elbows with mindsets like those described above to preserve “social justice,” as perverted as it may be, is the norm. But “Social justice” is what Neta Ziv says it is.
Not a bad thing, you might say? All points of view should be recognized in a democratic society? Well, maybe in a country like America with friendly neighbors on its borders and not in a perpetual state of war for 60 years with Arab irredentists. But Israel’s situation is different. If Professor Ziv applied her ideals equally to require that the Palestinian Authority, under license from the Israeli government to create a new state, not be ruled by Sharia Law, or that women be granted equal rights there as in Israel, one might consider her merely an idealist with strict principals. Unfortunately, those principals only apply to aiding those who would use the legal system as just another weapon to destroy the Jewish state and set up another Arab-Muslim dictatorship, but who try to maintain the image of American jurisprudence while doing so. Call it the “O.J. Simpson defense” for Arab terrorism against the Jews; where the bomb belt fails, a well-placed lawyer might do just as nicely, and the Arabs just love it!
A case in point is Noura Erekat, the niece of Saab Erekat and a recent law school graduate in the US, who is now also an aide to congressman Dennis Kucinich. Her involvement in the NGO, Protection of Human Rights (LAW), has been to promote the anti-Semitism witnessed at the Durban Conference against Israel as well as getting Israel’s leadership indicted for war crimes in the Hague while Arab terrorism goes unmentioned. She claims she is for a two state solution on television and practices some of her law/activism within Israel and the Holy Land. Yet in private, she calls for using the law to destroy Israel. Not long ago she refused on Bill O’Reilly’s show to condemn an al Qaeda call to murder all the Jews in the world, or condemn Hizballah. Israelis also know well the Gaby Laskys and Felicia Langers who never met a killer of Jews they didn’t want to defend on behalf of Israel’s communist party, and, as such, Professor Ziv assures that newer generations of Israeli lawyers will think in a similar vein as Lasky and Langer.
Professor Ziv is known for her advocacy within the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) that is funded by the New Israel Fund. While ACRI’s self-description on their website describes the organization as “Israel's leading human and civil rights organization and the only organization dealing with the entire spectrum of rights and liberties issues…” that “…has led the fight to protect and promote rights in Israel and the territories under its control through litigation, legal advocacy, education, and public outreach efforts. ACRI promotes a concept of civil and human rights as an integral part of democratic community building and as a unifying force in Israeli public life.”
What that description does not say is how Neta Ziv seems to feel human and civil rights do not apply to Jewish Israelis, only to Arabs, and particularly those ones with a desire to dispossess the Jews in Israel of the same property rights they like to constantly claim they are denied. To Neta Ziv, Jewish Israelis are the majority “oppressing” the Arab minority (there’s that old “social justice” mantra again). While it’s true there are more Jews in Israel behind the green line and in the territories than Arabs, the entire Arab and Muslim world that calls for the end of Israel’s existence numbers 250 million to Israel’s 4 million Jews. A case in point is the legal precedent set in the case of an Israeli Arab named Qa’ adan who wanted to reside in a community set aside by the Jewish agency for the settlement of Jews in Israel that was handled by Professor Ziv’s cronies in the ACRI. It was argued that Qa’adan, an Israeli Arab citizen, was denied equal rights because he wanted a home in an exclusive Jewish community that was set aside for Jewish settlement. ACRI and its intellectual acolytes in the judiciary ruled that Qa’adan had the right to live there too. Whereas some would call the establishment of a neighborhood for Jews in a region where Jews have been murdered for two millennia might be considered Jewish “affirmative action” (social justice types in America love “affirmative action”), Professor Ziv considers it a denial of human and equal rights. Money talks when it comes to leasing land in Israel, so why didn’t Qa’adan ask some of his Arab oil brothers to do some affirmative action for him and other Israeli Arabs by providing enough money to buy property? After all, they spend untold amounts of money to pay for weapons to kill Jews.
For Ziv, such a lawsuit no doubt creates the image at American universities that she visits that she is on a par with civil rights attorneys who broke down Jim Crow laws in America (it’s a great image to land speaking gigs, sell books and get invited to swanky faculty soirees). However, there is a difference. Private communities in Israel have the right to reject people they do not want, be they Jew or Arab. The Arab village of Um El-Fahem inside Israel has no Jewish residents also and the city government openly supports Hamas. Jews do not live there because after dark they would be killed. Professor Ziv saw no need to sue the Municipality of Um El-Fahem to provide security protection for Jews to live there on an equal basis. Nor did she sue to stop the practice of certain private communities in Israel having the right to reject anyone they feel they do not want as part of that community if they so desire. That right is still in tact for the Arabs of Um El- Fahem who claim Israeli Arabs are discriminated against, yet also know that if Jews did move into their community they could hire an attorney to sue the state that Jews were “occupying” their land (if murdering a few did not snip the problem in the bud).
Then again, why should they when there are enough Jews like Neta Ziv to attack the state through the courts and thus deny Jewish communities the right to become Jewish havens for the persecuted of the Diaspora and maintain the Jewish character of the state?
At the same time, Professor Ziv sees no problems with affirmative action programs in Israel that give preference at all the universities to Arab-Israelis over Jewish Israelis, even veterans from the IDF. Professor Ziv and her legal eagles for social engineering also consider themselves serving human needs by suing on behalf of Arabs in the territories, yet say nothing about the official policy of the Palestinian Authority making it a death sentence for an Arab to sell land to a Jew, and they are perfectly willing to ignore honor killings while badgering the Israeli government at full tilt over Jewish communities there, some like Kfar Etzion that were rebuilt in 1967 , after being wiped out by the Arabs in 1948. Most of the Jewish community there was murdered in an open pit (even after the Armistice was done). One might equate that return with the American Indians getting back their land from the US government, but Neta Ziv prefers to concentrate on what sells on American campuses and radical leftist circles inside Israel where her consumer base is (even if that base is ignorant of facts on the ground, since it’s all “academic”. College professors learn “what sells,” the same as other businessmen, and Arab petrodollars are buying a lot of propaganda against Israel on US campuses these days).
Most galling is how the ACRI works in cooperation with its Palestinian Arab counterpart, Adalah, that claims it, too, works for human and equal rights. One problem, though: while ACRI works against Israel’s tiny state even in the territories to help irredentist Arabs in their goals, Adalah doesn’t give a fig about equal rights for Jews in the territories or inside Israel itself. To Adalah, only Arabs have human and civil rights and Jews are there to only be accused of violating the rights of those Arabs. One of Adalah’s main functions is to provide free legal aid in Israeli courts for some of the worst mass murderers of Israeli Jews, including serial killer Marwan Barghouti. Arab terrorists are never representative of an oppressive majority to the Neta Ziv types against the Jews, but always are deserving of the best legal protection no matter how many Jewish women or children they murder.
And after all, why not? Neta Ziv sits in a safe office at the University of Tel Aviv while many miles away in Sderot, hundreds of Kassem rockets fall on the heads of other people’s children. No doubt her academic way of seeing human rights as a one way street for the enemies of Jews in Israel makes her feel as judicially superior as the similarly safely nested jurists across the sea in the United States.
But what a pity for other Israelis who miss all the fun of being an intellectual and a lawyer like Neta Ziv, who can absorb and carry out such abstract legal thinking without paying the consequences with her own life.