Monday, June 1, 2015

The National Lawyers Guild. What went wrong in 67 years?

Early this year, the National Lawyers Guild joined extremist group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)  in opposing a California State Senate resolution condemning anti-Semitism on campus.  It was the latest ignoble gesture from an organization that has clearly forgotten its roots.
On May 14, 1948, eleven minutes after Israel's proclamation of independence, U.S. President Harry Truman signed an executive order granting de-facto recognition to the Jewish State. In an article published in the National Lawyers Guild Law Review shortly afterward,(8 Law. Guild Rev 441 1948) Phillip Baum writes urging full recognition of Israel, stating that governments with far less stability have been regularly given full recognition. 

He concludes that the conditions necessary  to recognize (either de facto or de jure) a nation state have been fulfilled, by considering both international law, as well as US precedent:
  1. The existence of a government factually independent of any other state
  2. The existence of a government competent to make its authority effective by securing the habitual obedience of the bulk of the population
  3. The existence of a government willing to discharge its international obligations
  4. The existence of a clearly defined territory

Baum concludes “The Israeli Government has established itself as a living organism… It is entitled to sit at the council of nations as a full fledged member. Its right to do so has been fully recognized by 15 countries”
Less than seven months later, President Truman extended full de-jure recognition to Israel.
Baum’s essay is interesting  as an example of just how far off course the National lawyers Guild has strayed in the last 67 years- emerging from early advocacy of the Jewish state to complete denial of Israel's right to exist. Current Guild claims that the Palestinians are the indigenous victims of colonialist Europeans are completely negated by the early Guild writings that fails to mention even the existence of a "Palestinian" people.

Baum's criteria in the Guild law review  provides an interesting and yet unmet framework for the recognition of a future Palestinian state. Could  there possibly be anyone on either side of this issue that believes that Hamas or Fatah constitute an effective authority willing to meet their international obligations?


Gary Fouse said...

The NLG was founded in the late 30s as a legal arm of the Communist Party USA. I would guess they were merely echoing the USSR, which also recognized Israel.

Anonymous said...

The National lawyers Guild acquaints eating meat with buying Israeli products in their new "Food Justice Guidelines"


Whereas the Guild recognizes the personal is political, and that each time we sit down to eat, we make not solely a personal choice, but also a political one;

Whereas food justice includes labor rights, racial justice, environmental issues, sustainability, affordable access to healthy food as a right and not a privilege, and animal liberation;

Whereas we as the Guild recognize and combat injustice in all its forms, regardless of the power or lack of power of those subjugated,

Whereas the Guild strives to be at the forefront of radical social justice and stand in solidarity with forward thinking social justice movements,

Whereas the Guild stands in solidarity with those facing violence and repression worldwide: the undocumented, the incarcerated, communities of color, the occupied, political dissidents, and those whose bodies are treated merely as reproductive machines, fabric, entertainment, food, and for scientific torture/ experimentation;

Whereas we have called for divestment from Israel both in 2004 and 2007 and boycott in 2007 based on Israel's gross human rights violations until Israel complies with international law,

Whereas the 2007 Boycott and Divest Resolution calls for and supports a boycott of Israeli goods (which would include Israeli food products produced in Israel),

Whereas the Guild has begun to recognize and include animals and animal rights within our larger anti-oppression and anti-violence framework,

In light of the resolutions already passed regarding divestment from Israel, the Guild expands the NLG's food justice policy to be more just and consider animals, workers and the environment, the Guild recommits itself to anti-oppression and anti-violence by establishing the following guidelines:

That the food served at all of our National Conventions be BDS compliant and free of Israeli products including Israeli food products;

That all the food served at all of our National Conventions be entirely vegan, free of any animal products such as meat, dairy, including eggs and other animal byproducts;

Encouraging local chapters to apply these guidelines;

Encouraging the National Conventions strive to use locally sourced, organic food when possible and to purchase from businesses owned or run by marginalized communities and which have good labor practices;;

Offering the Palestine Subcommittee, Animal Rights Activism Committee, and The United People of Color Caucus as sources of guidance and support for those organizing the National Conventions to help them comply with these guidelines should such help be necessary.