ZOA Sponsors Legal Scholar Presenting Israel’s Legal Case To Congress
March 7, 2012

Settlements are legal.


Recently, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) sponsored a lecture by Professor Eugene Kontorovich to Congressional staff aides in the Cannon House Office building on Capitol Hill. The lecture was titled “One State, 2 States, 3 States- 4?” Mr. Kontorovich is a Professor of Law at the Northwestern University School of Law, and is currently a member of the renowned Institute for Advanced Study, in the School of Social Sciences, in Princeton, NJ. The talk centered on the efforts of Palestinian Arabs to defeat Israel in international forums and gain legitimacy at Israel’s expense. Professor Kontorovich, who is an expert in International Law and is currently writing a book on maritime piracy, pointed out that the Palestinian Arabs are complaining about Israeli “occupation” at the very same time that they claim the sovereign privileges of a state. To be a state, they must, of course, have a territory that they control. According to Kontorovich, much of the rhetoric about ‘apartheid’ in Israel is precisely backward, as it is the Palestinians who deny the right of Jews to be treated equally under Palestinian Authority (PA) laws. Professor Kontorovich also discussed the strategy of the PLO to achieve a unilateral declaration of independence under international law. He also made a strong, detailed and compelling argument for the legality of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

Professor Kontorovich is the winner of the Federalist Society’s 2012 Bator Award, given to leading scholars under 40. He also served as clerk for Judge Richard Posner on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He has been published in leading academic journals, as well as the Wall Street Journal, Jerusalem Post, and other publications. He has been consulted by the Israeli Military Advocate General’s International Law Department, foreign consular missions and other organizations.

Dan Pollak and Josh London, Co-Directors of Government Relations for the ZOA said: “Professor Kontorovich was very effective in his talk about current attempts by the Palestinian Arabs to shift the discussion to the moral legitimacy of Israel. The Congressional Staffers who attended the lecture asked very good questions, and it was great to hear a scholar who can clearly explain to Congress that Israel actually has International Law very much on its side as it takes appropriate action to provide for its defense and security. Furthermore, he placed everything in its proper context, explaining that the wordings of international agreements are subject to the actual conduct of other states when similar situations arise.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “The issues raised by Professor Kontorovich need to be addressed by Congress as they decide on continuing to fund the Palestinian Authority with US taxpayer dollars (over $600 million last year). If there is any “apartheid” in the region, it is being perpetrated by the Palestinian Arabs against Jews. Whereas Israel has a large Arab and Muslim minority, the Palestinians openly demand that their territory be judenrein. Recall the statement last fall by the PLO ambassador to the United States, Maen Areikat, saying that the future Palestinian state he is working to establish, with help from the United Nations, should be free of Jews. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas also stated in 2010 that a Palestinian Arab state would have no Israelis in it.

“The ZOA has repeatedly urged the Israeli and U.S. governments to cut support to the PA until it makes good on signed commitments to arrest terrorists, outlaw terrorist groups and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps. Just over a week ago, PA President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech in Doha, Qatar, in which he accused Israel of inventing a Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem, working to undermine the foundations of the Al-Aqsa mosque atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, and harming freedom of religious worship in Jerusalem. It is important for Congress to hear from experts like Professor Kontorovich.

“The ZOA was pleased to provide Professor Kontorovich this important congressional platform, helping to offset the propaganda spewed by hostile anti-Israel critics who present their own distorted versions of Mideast history to Congress.”

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