Fair warning: Next week will largely be all State Bar Convention news/all the time. I alert you to that to ensure you’re ready and well hydrated.
The hashtag is #azbarcon
But in advance of that great annual event, I share news about a program I’ve heard much about. Amidst what may be the bread-and-butter of lawyer conferences—updates and nuts-and-bolts sessions on developments in practice and substantive-law areas—a few programs are harder to categorize but sometimes offer a unique and valuable view.
One of those seminars promises to be a robust dialogue about legal pitfalls and possible solutions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has continued for more than a generation. Its description is in the image below and described online (though the online version has a faculty list that has been altered since press time). The program is presented by the Bar’s World Peace Through Law Section.
In what may be a preview of the complexity of a topic on which strong advocates argue, its (overlong) title is “The Israeli–Palestinian Conflict Moves From the Battlefield and the Conference Room to National and International Legislative, Diplomatic and Judicial Bodies.”
Tony Zimbalist, the Vice Chair of the WPTL Section, described the seminar for me:
“Its subject is the new forms that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has taken in recent months. It features speakers representing the full spectrum of perspectives on the conflict, including those of the ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’ advocacy group J Street and the Palestine Liberation Organization.”
“The J Street representative will be Dylan J. Williams, Vice President of Government Affairs. A member of the New York Bar, he served as Counsel for Foreign Relations, Trade and Immigration to former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME).”
According to seminar materials, J Street “advocates for American leadership to end the Arab–Israeli and Palestinian–Israeli conflicts peacefully and diplomatically. … Williams is responsible for developing and executing the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement’s legislative strategy in Washington.”
Also on the panel is lawyer David Schoen, a member of the national board of the Zionist Organization of America. He also is “a founding member of the Center for Law and Justice, a member of a committee formed under the auspices of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations to defend Israel’s security fence, and Co-Chair of the Middle East and Africa Subcommittee of the ABA’s International Litigation Committee.”
Offering the Palestinian view will be George Bisharat, a Professor of Law at the University of California–Hastings College of Law. He is a frequent commentator on law and politics in the Middle East. He has also “worked with the Palestinian Legislative Council to develop and reform its judiciary system and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Palestine Studies.” In 1989, the University of Texas Press published his book Palestinian Lawyers and Israeli Rule: Law and Disorder in the West Bank.
Bisharat came to law professoring after serving as a deputy public defender in San Francisco and having earned a J.D. and a Ph.D. (anthropology and Middle East studies) from Harvard. He was born in Topeka, Kansas but says he came to better understand his Palestinian identity in the 1967 war.
Full disclosure: Bisharat was my law school criminal-law professor (and yes, I did well in the class). I also came to know him well as he was a faculty adviser on a team trip to Rhode Island (in 1992 or so) for a trial-advocacy competition with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Perhaps that background suggests why I’m happy to also note that Bisharat is an accomplished blues singer and harmonica player. I will point you toward his musical chops in another blog post … promise!
As Tony Zimbalist adds, “Moderating what sparks these panelists will be ASU Professor Daniel Rothenberg, Professor of Practice at the School of Politics and Global Studies and Lincoln Fellow in Ethics and Human Rights Law.” (I’ve written about Dan Rothenberg numerous times, including here.)
In what promises to be a week packed with great legal programs, I’m looking forward to how this compelling topic can be addressed in a timely and revealing way.Follow @azatty