The Significance of San Remo

Eugene Kontorovich thinks that the 1920 San Remo conference sits at the foundation of Israel’s legitimacy. Martin Kramer disagrees. Who’s right?

French Marshal Ferdinand Foch during the San Remo Conference in 1920. Photo 12/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

French Marshal Ferdinand Foch during the San Remo Conference in 1920. Photo 12/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

Observation
Feb. 15 2021
About the authors

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.

Martin Kramer teaches Middle Eastern history and served as founding president at Shalem College in Jerusalem, and is the Walter P. Stern fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

In December 2020, the historian and regular Mosaic contributor Martin Kramer asked whether those recently celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1920 San Remo Conference were justified in seeing it as a cornerstone of Israeli sovereignty. In particular, he found that the historical case for San Remo’s importance was overstated, even as he sympathized with the celebrants’ impulse to strengthen Israel’s legitimacy. Below, we present an exchange between Eugene Kontorovich—another Mosaic contributor and a frequent commentator on international law as it applies to Israel—who writes to dispute Kramer’s argument, and a last word in response from Kramer himself. —The Editors

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More about: British Mandate, Israel & Zionism, Mandate Palestine, Treaty of San Remo