The Invention of a Legal Obligation for Israel to Vaccinate Palestinians Betrays Resentment at the Successes of the Jewish State

On March 12, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, and two other senators sent a formal letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging him to pressure Jerusalem into providing vaccines to Palestinians, claiming that the Jewish state has a duty to do so under international law. Other members of Congress have made similar statements as well. But, Eugene Kontorovich explains, international law requires no such thing:

The central source of international law is treaties—agreements between the parties. While treaties often do not address many specific questions, in this case, there is a clearly applicable international agreement that directly addresses the vaccine issue—the Oslo Accords. . . . Oslo provides that “Powers and responsibilities in the sphere of health in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be transferred to the Palestinian sides.” It also makes clear that this includes vaccination.

Because Oslo directly contradicts their claim, the vaccination-obligation exponents base their argument exclusively on Article 56 of the [1950] Fourth Geneva Convention, which was quoted extensively in the senators’ letter. . . . First, the contention that the Geneva Convention supplants Oslo is preposterous—it makes much of the latter agreement a dead letter, something none of these “experts” argued when Oslo was first signed. But even if one thinks the Geneva Convention is relevant, it clearly does not require Israel to supply the Palestinians with vaccines.

Kontorovich shows in detail why this is so, and then turns to the question of how such baseless interpretations get passed off as international law by people who should know better:

The claim of Israeli responsibility for vaccinating the Palestinian populace was never made before Israel achieved global renown for its rapid vaccine rollout program. The accusations against Israel now are designed to besmirch and belittle this remarkable achievement. But absolutely nothing in the Geneva Convention says that [Palestinian must be vaccinated at] the speed of the fastest country on earth. This idea is baseless and preposterous. In fact, the Palestinian Authority is receiving vaccines at roughly the same speed as are comparable governments.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Bernie Sanders, Coronavirus, Elizabeth Warren, International Law, Oslo Accords, Palestinians

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus