June 22, 2024

Saluti Law Medi

Rule it with System

‘Toward Nakba as a Legal Concept’ – Columbia Law Review Takes Down Entire Website Over Article

The Columbia Law Review (CLR) took down its entire website after the publication of an article on the Nakba. (Design: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“This most recent repression by the Columbia Law Review Board of Directors is a shameful attempt to silence groundbreaking legal scholarship shining light on the catastrophe of Zionism.”

The Columbia Law Review (CLR) took down its entire website after the publication of an article on the Nakba written by Harvard Law School student and Palestinian human rights lawyer, Rabea Eghbariah.

Eghbariah’s article ‘Toward Nakba as a Legal Concept’ was published on its website early Monday morning.

However, “the journal’s board of directors responded by pulling the entire website offline. The homepage on Monday morning read ‘Website under maintenance’,” The Intercept news organization reported.

Eghbariah said he worked with editors at the CLR “for over five months on the 100-plus-page text.”

The Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) called the action “shameful”.

“This most recent repression by the Columbia Law Review Board of Directors is a shameful attempt to silence groundbreaking legal scholarship shining light on the catastrophe of Zionism and the ways in which is fragments, displaces, and disempowers Palestinian society,” the Committee said on X.

According to The Intercept, seven editors who worked on the article told the news organization that over the weekend, “members of the board of directors of the journal pressed the law review’s leadership to postpone or even rescind its publication.” Most of the CLR editors spoke to the news site on the condition of anonymity, it said, “fearing backlash that that others have faced for speaking out for Palestine.”

After the editors rejected the request by the board of directors, the board “pulled the plug on the entire website.”

Told to Resign

The CLR board of directors told The Intercept in a statement that there were concerns about “deviation from the Review’s usual processes” and that they had spoken to certain members of the student leadership “to ask that they delay publication for a few days.” The board said it has “temporarily suspended its website.”

Several of the editors who opposed the board of directors’ request have been told to resign, according to the report.

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The Intercept said that the “apparent intervention by the board of directors surprised some Columbia Law School faculty,” with Katherine Franke, a professor, reportedly having said: “I don’t suspect that they would have asserted this kind of control had the piece been about Tibet, Kashmir, Puerto Rico, or other contested political sites.”

The news organization said the article “significantly expands on Eghbariah’s argument for Nakba as its own legal concept in international law.”

“The scholarship is aimed at creating a legal framework for the Nakba similar to genocide and apartheid, which were concretized as crimes in response to specific atrocities carried out by Nazi Germany and white minority-ruled South Africa, respectively.”

Harvard Law Review’s Censorship

In November, the Harvard Law Review also censored Eghbariah’s essay at the last minute, despite “extraordinary editorial scrutiny” according to The Incerpt.

Margaret Hassel, CLR’s previous editor-in-chief, told the news organization that Eghbariah’s piece “fills a conspicuous gap in legal literature with doctrinal, historical, and moral clarity.”

Established in 1901, the Columbia Law Review is a law review edited and published by Columbia Law School students, which contains scholarly articles, essays, and student notes.

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Eghbariah told The Intercept that “The attempts to silence legal scholarship on the Nakba by subjecting it to an unusual and discriminatory process are not only reflective of a pervasive and alarming Palestine exception to academic freedom, but are also a testament to a deplorable culture of Nakba denialism.”

Columbia has seen mass student protests beginning in April, calling for the university to divest from Israel due to its ongoing genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Nakba Day, commemorated every year on May 15, marks the destruction of the Palestinian homeland – historic Palestine – and the mass ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population in 1948.

Ongoing Genocide

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 36,550 Palestinians have been killed, and 82,959 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 11,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the enclave. Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

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The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(PC, Anadolu)