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Tel Aviv University
[TAU, Law] Roy Kreitner advised "Justice for Palestine at Harvard Law School" about "Boycotting the Israeli Occupation". In favor of commercial boycott Feb 11, 2011



Background information:

Dr. Roy Kreitner:


Dr. Roy Kreitner teaches law at Tel Aviv University.  He received his SJD from Harvard Law School.   He has been a visiting professor at the University of Virginia Law School; a visiting researcher at the University of Turin, Italy, and taught at Brooklyn Law School before joining the faculty at Tel Aviv University.   Dr. Kreitner also completed fellowships at the American Council for Learned Societies, the Council for Higher Education in Israel, the Israel Science Foundation, the European Union’s TMR Network Project on European Private Law, the Mark DeWolfe Howe Fund at Harvard Law School, and at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University.   He is the author of Calculating Promises: the Emergence of Modern American Contract Doctrine. 


Dr. Roy Kreitner is also currently a fellow at the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel Aviv University.   Other current fellows working in the field of political lexicon at the Minerva Humanities Center include anti-Israel activists Dr. Adi Ophir, Merav Amir, Dr. Ariella Azoulay, Dr. Dani Filc, and Dr. Roy Wagner.   The Minerva Humanities Center has also sponsored anti-Israel events such as 48 or 67: Past, Present, and Future, which promoted the one-state solution; and the fourth conference on the lexicon of political thought, which featured anti-Israel academics such as Dr. Adi Ophir, Dr. Ariella Azoulay, Dr. Anat Matar, etc. 


Dr. Kreitner is the son-in-law of Former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak.  On February 11, 2011, Dr. Kreitner spoke at an event sponsored by the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, the International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, the Middle East Law Students Association at Harvard, the Harvard Islamic Society, and the Palestine Solidarity Committee at Harvard College.   The event was entitled, “boycotting the Israeli occupation?”  Other speakers included Dr. Louis Michael Seidman of Georgetown University, who supports a boycott of Israel; Dianna Buttu, who was a former spokeswoman for the PLO, a supporter of a boycott of Israel and who stated in an interview after the Flotilla that Israel has violated international law more than once, that the Gaza blockade is a crime against humanity, that Israel will continue to commit crimes unless she is stopped by the international community, that Israel is occupying Gaza, and that the Flotilla people were defending themselves against an illegal raid, etc.; and Dr. Duncan Kennedy, who advocated for Harvard to divest from Israel.  Dr. Kreitner also signed onto a petition of lawyers protesting against the severe punishment imposed on conscientious objectors.     

Notes from the event are absent and not published anywhere, except for a brief description from the Q&A, see below poster and report.

It is reported that:

 "The Israeli lecturer rather agonized over, but (I think) was also accepting of the cultural boycott, and was in favor of the commercial boycott."

Prof. Kreitner seemed hesitant about an academic (i.e. non-commercial boycott).  He also glibly used the term "facism" at least once to describe Israel.


Dear Friends,


A few of you have asked for a report of the Harvard Law School event.  Thanks to Eve for writing it, and to Anat for forwarding it.  Surprisingly, hostility to the speakers was almost absent, as was Harvard’s strong supporter of Israel, AlanDersowitz.  Eve tells all.  Just in case you do not recall what affair I am talking about, the invitation follows the report.

 [forwarded by Anat Biletzki]

From: Eve Spangler  
Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2011 12:17 PM
 Subject: Re: [newprofile message:3913] .A Harvard Law School event that needs you there, if possible



Dershowitz did not show up.  


And there was only one hostile question (actually, a  comment "I notice that you did not talk about terrorism") directed to Diana Buttuby an Israeli who is studying at Harvard Law School.  Roy K. actually stepped in to respond  by saying that this was irrelevant to the topic at hand and would take the conversation "backwards. " That was the end of that.  


Seidman got one sharp question from a woman who identified herself as the daughter of Iraqi Jews now living in Israel and asked  "where would you want us to go?" This was in response to a speculative remark he made that many Jews may indeed leave (or be forced to leave) Israel as part of a resolution of the I/P conflict.  This same woman also challenged Seidman to acknowledge that the "Jewish heritage" -  which he identifies, at least for himself,  as Spinoza, Marx, Freud - should be broadened to include the history of Jews in the Muslim world.


A bit of history is useful, I think, for contextualizing this event.  Two and three years ago, events like this - i.e. anything focused on Israel/Palestine that had even the slightest concern for Palestinian rights - drew a heavily "AIPAC" audience  and the speakers would be peppered with hostile questions (I don't think any were actually shouted down or unable to complete their presentations).   In the last year or so, similar events fill up large lecture rooms and there is typically not even ONE hostile question - this includes a talkFinkelstein gave at Harvard on the Goldstone report.    


So, all in all, I think I'm not being insanely optimistic to say there's a sea-change in public opinion.


At this particular event, which is quite typical in its composition (an American Jew, an Israeli, and a Palestinian), the audience really seemed to want to hear and talk with the Palestinian.  And the conversation was mostly about our mental models for how the boycott might work.  Diana seemed to focus on the direct economic impact of the boycott in Europe (Israel's major trading partner).  Duncan Kennedy argued that the usefulness of the boycott in America was unlikely to be in its economic impact, but rather in its potential to be used as an educational opportunity to change universities and churches and thence American political support for Israel.  







2011/2/12 Iris Hefets <irishefets@kedma.co.il>

Justice for Palestine at Harvard Law School presents:


Boycotting the Israeli Occupation?


Louis Michael Seidman,

Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University Law Center


Roy Kreitner,

Tel Aviv University Law School


Diana Buttu,

Former legal advisor to Palestinian negotiators


Moderator and discussant:

Duncan Kennedy,

Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard Law School


Friday, Feb 11th, 5-7 pm


Austin North, Harvard Law School


Pizza and Refreshments


How does one respond to human rights violations? Is divestment a proper or a required reaction to Israel's actions and policiesvis-à-vis the Palestinians? Is it counter-productive? What kinds of divestment are appropriate and effective? How will it impact Israeli society and politics? How will it impact US policies?


Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program at HLS, International Legal Studies at HLS, Unbound: Journal of the Legal Left, The National Lawyers Guild, HLS Chapter, Middle East Law Students Association at HLS, the Harvard Islamic Society, and the Palestine Solidarity Committee at Harvard College.

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    1.  Note that Kreitner is the son-in-law
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