7 thoughts on “Israel’s Egyptian Bondage and the Gaza Siege, History Repeats Itself – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Shamai Leibovitch was Marwan Barghouti’s lawyer during his trial in which he was convicted on IIRC five counts of first-degree murder. One of his victims was a girl who attended my synagogue. Leibovitch, during the trial, compared Barghouti to Moshe Rabbenu. As an observant Jew, what do you think of that?

  2. First, he has the illustrious yichus of being from the famed clan that produced Nechama and Yeshaia Leibowitz, two of the greatest academic minds to come out of Israel’s Orthodox community. 2nd, he is a lawyer and does his job which involves giving people the best representation he can. 3rd, he believes in providing such representation even for unpopular defendants like Marwan Barghouti for which I applaud him. 4th, in the eyes of much of the Palestinian society Barghouti does play a seminal role. I don’t know that I’d liken him to Moshe Rabbenu, but that’s the milieu that Shamai derives from & I see no reason why he shouldn’t use whatever historical analogies he finds most apt whether you agree or not. Remember also that Moshe Rabbenu was not above using violence to defend his people & in fact murdered an Egyptian taskmaster. 5th, Barghouti stands in relation to the actual Palestinian terrorist who killed that girl about as close as Doron Almog or Dan Halutz stood in relation to the actual pilot who killed 15 Palestinian civilians along with Shehadeh in demolishing a Gaza apartment building several yrs ago. So if Barghouti is guilty of first degree murder, then I look forward to seeing the IDF officers tried as well on similar charges.

    So that’s what I think about that.

    BTW, if you were referring to me being an observant Jew, I don’t consider myself one in the sense that I observe all the major rituals & mitzvot. Though I belong to a synagogue & have a strong Jewish identity.

  3. I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight:
    1. I never compared Marwan Barghouti to Moses. That is a false accusation that was circulated by certain people with a partisan agenda in order to discredit me.
    2. My representation of Marwan Barghouti was limited to the issue of jurisdiction. We argued that the State of Israel, as an Occupying Country that has transferred its citizens into the Occupied Territory, has no jurisdiction over Barghouti.
    3. This line of argument was based on international law and international agreements.
    4. To bring this point home to an Israeli court familiar with Jewish sources, I used a somewhat analogous situation from the story of the Exodus: Under Egyptian law, Moses committed a crime by killing an Egyptian. Would we agree that King Pharoah had jurisdiction to indict Moses? Of course not. While that story revolves around Divine intervention and a totally different set of moral standards than what is accepted today, one can nevertheless see a similar principle to the one we were making, namely that a nation that occupies and enslaves another people does not have jurisdiciton to put on trial those from the occupied people.
    5. Once again, this does not mean, nor was it ever said, that Barghouti is like Moses. Moses was a religious figure and his story is one of Divine Providence in ancient times. Marwan Barghouti is a secular leader and his story pertains to a people living under a brutal occupation in modern times.
    6. More generally, it was not easy for me to represent Barghouti, who is considered by most Israelis a terrorist. Needless to say, I would never defend any act of terror, including killing or maiming civilians. I emphasized from the outset that I will not justify in any way violent crimes committed against civilians. I was encouraged by Barghouti’s similar statements that he strongly objects to killing civilians and he condemns Palestinian violent acts toward Israeli civilians.
    7. After the Israeli Court rejected our arguments that the Court lacked jurisdiction, Barghouti announced that he does not recognize this Court and he will not cooperate in any form or shape with this trial. He fired all his lawyers and refused even to be brought to court.
    8. In all the following court hearings, he was forcibly brought to the courtroom in handcuffs, was forced to sit throughout the proceedings while armed policmen held him down, and he had no legal representation.
    9. Today, many prominent Israeli politicians regret the folly of this “trial.” This includes the Deputy Minister of Defense who has called for Barghouti’s release.

  4. S: Thanks so much for setting the record straight. So many militant pro-Israelis accept the tripe they’re fed and never bother to discover whether it’s actually true of not–as with the claim that you equated Barghouti with Moshe Rabbenu, as Bar Kochba refers to Moses.

    I had no idea that Barghouti had no legal representation nor that Israeli law would allow a trial in which the defendant was not represented. That’s astounding. How can you convict a man of a crime w/o hearing any defense?

  5. Att Leibowitz states “Of course Pharoah could not have indicted Moses for killing an Egyptian.” On the contrary, Pharoah had every right to indict Moses for the killing, as the killing was on Egyptian soil. But Moses would have given testimony that he killed the Egyptian out of necessity, to save another’s life. And if the judge had believed Moses, Moses would have been found innocent. All modern legal systems would so decide. (I dont claim any expertise in Pharaonic law!)

    I have not read the Israeli court’s reasons for its decision in the Barghouti case, but it is an increasingly accepted principle of international law, that courts of any country have jurisdiction to try particularly serious offences such as war crimes (and, in my view, terrorism). In the UK for instance, the British House of Lords found that Britain had jurisdiction to prosecute ex-President Pinochet, although none of his alleged crimes were committed in the UK. Surely Israel had every right to prosecute Barghouti (unless one believes Israel has no right to exist ) ?

    Mr Silverstein’s suggestion that a man, who refuses to give evidence, should never be convicted, is perhaps a little naive ? If Mr Silverstein were correct, all that a criminal need do to escape conviction, would be to refuse to give evidence.

  6. THere are a few problems w. yr perspective. First, Barghouti was kidnapped fr. Palestinian territory & brought to trial in Israel for his alleged crimes. Would you approve Palestinians or Hezbollah kidnapping Dan Halutz, Doron Almog, etc. & bringing them to trial in Lebanon or Palestine for their alleged crimes against Palestinian & Lebanese civilians? Two can play at this game you know.

    Israeli criminal justice standards in any matter relating to Palestinians or terror are often attenuated by Israeli fears & obsession with security issues. In other words, I don’t trust that Barghouti got a fair trial.

    I would be in favor of a third party international court hearing cases of both Israelis & Palestinians accused of war crimes.

  7. Was Israel wrong to arrest Eichman for trial ? (arrested in Argentina)

    Was Israel wrong to arrest Vanunu for trial ? (arrested in Rome)

    You feel Mr Barghouti didn’t get a fair trial. Why not ? (I’m not taking a position on the issue, as I was neither present at the trial, nor have I read the judgement.) Were you present, Richard ? Have you read the judgement ?

    Best wishes,
    Andrew

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