Podcast: Eugene Kontorovich on America and Its View of Israeli Settlements https://mosaicmagazine.com/observation/israel-zionism/2019/11/podcast-eugene-kontorovich-on-america-and-its-view-of-israeli-settlements/

The legal expert explains how an erroneous and hypocritical interpretation of international law became unquestioned dogma.

November 29, 2019 | Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic, Eugene Kontorovich
About the author: A weekly podcast, produced in partnership with the Tikvah Fund, offering up the best thinking on Jewish thought and culture. Eugene Kontorovich is a professor at George Mason University Antonin Scalia School of Law, director of its Center for International Law in the Middle East, and a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo greets an Israeli border soldier at Ben Gurion International Airport on March 22, 2019. JIM YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images.

This Week’s Guest: Eugene Kontorovich


Earlier this month U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a momentous announcement: the United States does not consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal or illegitimate. The conventional wisdom is that Israeli building in the West Bank territories it captured in 1967 is a violation of international law. But after a process of months, the State Department has decided to return to an understanding once embraced by the Reagan administration, which is to recognize that not only is the conventional wisdom wrong but the status of Israeli building in the West Bank is first and foremost not a legal question but a political and diplomatic one.

In this podcast, Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver is joined by Eugene Kontorovich, one of the world’s foremost scholars on Israel and international law, a professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, whose recent opinon piece on this subject, “Pompeo Busts the ‘Occupation’ Myth,” appeared in the Wall Street Journal. In this conversation, he both makes the case for the legality of Israeli settlements and explains how an erroneous and hypocritical interpretation of international law became unquestioned dogma.

Courtesy of Pro Musica Hebraica, musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim, and performed by the ARC Ensemble.



Every Thursday, the Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic will bring to your car/earbuds/home stereo/Alexa the latest in our efforts to advance Jewish thought. For more on the new podcast, check out our inaugural post here.

If you have thoughts about the podcast that you’d like to share, ideas for future guests and topics, or any other form of feedback, just send us an email at [email protected]. We’re grateful for your support, and we look forward to a new year of great conversations on Jewish essays and ideas.