Tag Archives: san remo

Remembering Howard Grief

Howard Grief 19 April 1940 – 3 June 2013 kindly by Roslyn Pine.

I heard Howard speak at the Application of Israeli Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria conference in Hebron in July 2012. MK Tzipi Hotovely in background. See clip below.

I heard Howard speak at the Application of Israeli Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria conference in Hebron in July 2012. MK Tzipi Hotovely in background. See clip below.

The stone-setting took place of Howard Grief in Jerusalem on 2nd July. I would like to pay tribute to this extraordinary man and the unique legacy he left to the Jewish people in his book The Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law published in 2008, which was the product of more than 20 years of research.

It is a work of profound scholarship yet the documentation of the Jewish legal rights to the land set in an historical narrative make it a compelling read. Each titled chapter within it is a stand-alone with the first being the most important.

Howard Grief was a Canadian lawyer specialising in commercial law and litigation and whose passion and love for the land of Israel and the Jewish people set him on the path he was to follow.

He made aliya in 1989 with his Israeli wife and two young sons and whilst practising as an attorney in Jerusalem he was appointed legal advisor to Yuval Ne’eman, Minister for Energy and Infrastructure in the Shamir government, on matters pertaining to Israeli territorial sovereign rights. Ne’eman was a distinguished physicist who set up Israel’s space programme and discovered the existence of quarks, independently of Murray Gell-Man, and who won the Nobel Prize for the discovery.

Howard realised that Israeli sovereignty did not originate from the UN Partition plan of 1947, universally believed to be the instrument of international law that created Israel, but instead it was the San Remo Conference of the 24th and 25th April 1920 that invested sovereignty in the Jewish People through the representative Zionist organisations.

It was at San Remo, the continuation of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, that the Principal Allied Powers, the victors in the war against the Central Powers, set aside all of Palestine as the land designated for the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home based on the historical connection of the Jewish People with Palestine.

The San Remo resolution was described by Lord Curzon, the British foreign minister of 1919, as the Jewish Magna Carta.

The Franco-British Boundary Convention of 23rd December 1920, which fixed the northern and north-eastern boundary of Palestine with Syria-Lebanon, made it clear beyond any doubt that Judea, Samaria and Gaza were to be integral parts of the Jewish National Home. Indeed, the maps of the cartographer and theologian George Adam Smith were to be used as the basis of the future borders based on the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Howard conducted his painstaking research from British government archives and the minutes of the San Remo conference, both in English and French, as well as numerous other original documents associated with that era.

His original research established him as the leading world authority on the subject and has been used in an Israeli government video explaining Israel’s rights to the territories.

On a personal note it was my good fortune to have met Howard and to have enjoyed his friendship during the last two years of his life.

In June 2011, whilst in Jerusalem, I phoned him with a view to him giving a lecture in London but he explained that his health would not allow it as he was on dialysis several times a week.

Nevertheless, despite his deteriorating health, he was busier than ever writing articles, giving lectures and responding to requests worldwide for his opinions.

He had presented a petition to the Canadian House of Commons on behalf of Canadian citizens regarding Israeli sovereign rights to the territories and was in the process of doing the same in America to Congress.

He had an ever growing emailing list and it was always a pleasure to read his latest missive addressed to “my dear correspondents”.

He had a marvellous pen that he used to great effect in his put-downs to those so-called legal experts, dilettantes he called them, who admonished Israel for her “illegal” behaviour.

My particular favourite was a letter on behalf of clients regarding demands from the European Former Leaders Group, including Chris Patten and others, to the President of the European Council that denounced Israel for its “illegal” settlement activity, including in East Jerusalem, and demanded that punitive measures be taken against it.

He admonished them for their “impudence” and their “complete and abysmal ignorance of Jewish Legal Rights to the Land of Israel” and then went on to inform them what these were in a concise summary.

In conclusion, Howard was a modest and gentle person who was never interested in his own ego and who spent his most productive years documenting Jewish rights to the Land at his own expense so that future generations would have the knowledge with which to fight the delegitimisation and demonisation of Israel that has now become common currency.

His passing is a great loss to all Am Yisrael. May he rest in peace.

This is cross-posted at CiFWatch and also by Jonathan Hoffman.

Advertisements

IAJLJ Conference, SOAS, London

The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists met this week in London for a conference on Democratic and Legal Norms in an Age of Terror.

Topics under discussion were the law of universal jurisdiction, the Goldstone Report, academic freedom and boycotts of Israel, the ‘Free Gaza‘ flotilla, how should democracies cope with terror and, finally, Iran.

The timing was apt as it seems that the political battleground is gradually moving to the courts where we could now be witnessing the beginnings of the politicisation of the British judiciary.

It is well known that Israeli figures such as Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni cannot visit the UK due to the threat of arrest under the law of universal jurisdiction. All that is needed is for someone to go to a magistrate and present a flimsy case for such an arrest and the magistrate has to issue an arrest warrant.

But it has also now been made possible to enter a factory, cause £180,000 of damage and be acquitted of the charge of criminal damage on the ground of “lawful excuse” because you disagree with the aims of the company. Seven such defendants have just been allowed free. In his summing up to the jury the judge said:

“You may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered.”

The court’s decision has been fully supported by the newly elected Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas.

One can invade a British supermarket with no intention of buying anything and dump, and no doubt damage in the process, Israeli produce into trolleys and be allowed to walk out without arrest or caution.

One can also repeatedly stand outside an Israeli shop in London to harass customers and cause a profound disturbance so that the Israeli shop and neighbouring shops lose business.

It is expected that the law on universal jurisdiction will be amended so that authorisation for an arrest warrant will have to be given by the Director of Public Prosecutions or, possibly, the Attorney General but the thrust of an impressive talk given by Professor Yaffa Zilbershats (Law Faculty, Bar Ilan University) was that the law of universal jurisdiction should be reserved for “heinous crimes”, as was originally intended, committed by the likes of Adolf Eichman or President Bashir of Sudan, not the likes of Olmert, Barak and Livni.

Michael Caplan QC, of Kingsley Napley, gave a fascinating account of his representation of Augusto Pinochet. He told of how the House of Lords allowed an appeal from the High Court, so authorising Pinochet to be tried in his capacity as head of state of Chile and clearing the way for his extradition to Spain, but that the 3-2 decision had to be thrown out when Lord Hoffmann’s links to Amnesty International surfaced.

Professor Lord Paul Bew, one of the best-known commentators on Northern Ireland, spoke (listen below) about Ireland and the similarities, or lack thereof, with Israel/Palestine. He made the point that the level of hatred between Catholics and Protestants was no where near the same level as that involved in Israel/Palestine.

Importantly, he spoke of the basic framework within which the peace process took place, one of the main aspects of which was renunciation of violence. Although breaches of the framework regularly took place all sides worked towards that goal.

There is no such framework in the Middle East where Hamas is fully committed to violence and the destruction of Israel.

As to continuing brainwashing of Palestinian children he pointed out that even now in Irish schools in America the schoolchildren are having the Troubles in Northern Ireland put on a par with the Holocaust. He couldn’t say what effect this might have for the future.

Professor Gerald Steinberg (NGO Monitor and Professor of Political Science at Bar Ilan University) spoke (listen below) of the huge amounts of cash that are heading to NGOs from Arab countries and described how many of these NGOs (over a hundred) directly supplied evidence to the Goldstone Commission that eventually found Israel guilty of war crimes in the Gaza Conflict of 2009/2010.

Professor Anne F Bayefsky (Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute and eyeontheun) spoke about the members of the United Nations Human Rights Council. It was the Council that conducted the Goldstone process. She described an experience of speaking at an open microphone at the United Nations, when the UN adopted the Goldstone Report on November 25th, having found herself shocked by the hate speech. She was taken out and had her badge removed for four months on the ground that the Palestinian ambassador found what she had said to be “offensive”.

The Council consists of 47 nations and she pointed out that many of the members have some of the world’s worst human rights records: Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Angola, Cuba, China and Russia. Less than half of the Council members are fully free democracies according to Freedom House rankings.

Retired Judge Hadassa Ben-Itto
spoke of her experience of dealing with publishers of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which is still on sale all over the world. The Protocols, a Tsarist forgery, portrays a Jewish conspiracy to control the world and forms part of the Hamas Charter. She suggested that companies that publish such defamatory and inciteful material should be sued.

Dr. Anthony Julius, one of Britain’s top lawyers and a prolific author, spoke about how boycotts of Israel are anti-Semitic. He said that all countries have enemies but the problem for Israel is to uncover those who are purely motivated by Jew hatred.

He described how the boycott has been identified historically with anti-Semitic sentiment and how it is increasingly becoming difficult to talk about anti-Semitism in this country because it is said against those that do that they are simply trying to silence and smear the opposition. Even the debate amongst Jews, he said, has now changed to whether we should just concentrate on talking up the positive aspects of Israel.

Professor Irwin Cotler, the former Minister of Justice of Canada, spoke about the threat of a nuclear Iran and also the crime of incitement to genocide by President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime in general. He suggested that although Iran is not party to the International Criminal Court a reference should be made to the United Nations for Ahmadinejad to be referred to the court as was the case with President Bashir of Sudan. His 160-page analysis of Iran is out on 8th July 2010.

Interestingly, Dr Robbie Sabel of the Hebrew University quoted Palestinian civilian casualty figures for Operation Cast Lead as being somewhere between 250-300 (source; Israel) and 760 (source; B’Tselem) as opposed to the oft quoted figure of 1440. The latter figure includes Hamas fighters.

Professor Avi Bell gave a detailed legal critique of the Goldstone Report in light of his soon-to-be-published paper on the matter and his view of the Mavi Marmara deaths set against the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea.

With regard to the latter a relevant section of the manual is:

67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;

The Israeli Ambassador to Britain, H.E. Ron Prosor (listen below), and the Israeli Ambassador to France and Monaco, H.E. Daniel Shek, also spoke.

There was a description of the situation in France where boycotts against another nation are treated as incitement to racial hatred and are imprisonable offences (listen below).

Delegates flew in from Israel and from as far a field as Australia and Argentina for the conference.

Recordings of some of the talks (left click to play):

Professor Lord Paul Brew

DW_D0074

The Israeli Ambassador to Britain, H.E. Ron Prosor

DW_D0058

The position in France

DW_D0071

Professor Gerald Steinberg

DW_D0056