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Israel on Trial – Session 2 – What is the Jewish State of Israel?

This 5-part course aims to give insight into the way international law is used and abused by different actors in relation to the Israel/Palestine conflict. In each session, a panel of experts will give short presentations. These will be followed by Q&A and discussion.
Israel on Trial – Session 2 – What is the Jewish State of Israel?

The European Leadership Network (ELNET) and The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation (thinc.) partner to offer a leadership training seminar to all organizations which advocate for Israel. 

The objective of the course is to empower professionals and the leadership of civil society and non-profit organisations to discern lawfare from the fair application of international law to Israel and the Israel/Palestine conflict, and to defend Israel in the international political arena.

The program is open to anyone who wants to champion the fair application of international law to Israel, the Jewish people and the peoples of the Middle East generally.

The course will also make clear that the way Israel is treated, by the UN and others, has ramifications and implications for other peoples and territories in the Middle East and beyond – positive and negative.

This online program is developed by thinc. in cooperation with ELNET. It comprises 5 sessions. The first session took place on 23 September. Session 2 is scheduled for 27 October. In each session, a panel of experts will give short presentations. These will be followed by Q&A and discussion.

All sessions start at 4 pm CET.

Duration: 90 mins.

Click here for a complete course overview including dates and speakers.

Course material

The program follows the outline of the book Israel on Trial by Dr Matthijs de Blois and Andrew Tucker. Participants may order the book directly by email to [email protected] for the special price of € 25 including postage.

Session 2, 27 October – What is the Jewish State of Israel?

How, when and why did the Jewish State of Israel come into existence? Was the creation of the State of Israel an example of colonialism – or decolonization? What does international law say about the legitimacy of the State of Israel? How is the Jewish character of the State expressed, and in what way is Israel a democracy? Do Israeli Arabs and Jews have equal rights?

Topics include:

  • What is Zionism?
  • Balfour, San Remo and the Mandate for Palestine: legal roots of the State of Israel (1917-1948)
  • The failed UN Partition Plan (1947)
  • The creation of the State of Israel (May 1948)
  • The battle for survival: 1948 – 1973



Dr Matthijs de Blois  worked in the Law Faculty of Leiden University, in the Department of International Law, his main focus was the international protection of human rights and European substantive law. Since 1990, he has been an Assistant Professor at Utrecht University’s Institute of Legal Theory of the Law Faculty. His academic interests were  the philosophical and historical aspects of the law, specifically the relationship between law and religion.

Matthijs writes i.a. about the position of the State of Israel under international law. He is Senior Fellow at thinc. and co-author of ‘Israel on Trial’, thinc. (2018).

Prof. Amichai Cohen is a Senior Fellow and the director of the program on National Security and Democracy at the Israel Democracy Institute. He is a Professor of international law at the Ono Academic College – Faculty of law. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (LL.B.), and Yale Law School (LL.M., J.S.D.).

Amichai’s main areas of interest include international humanitarian law, the interaction between international law and domestic law and institutions, and Israel’s National Security Law.

Mr. Yitzhak Sokoloff is an Israeli educator and political analyst. A graduate of Columbia University, he taught Political Science and Jewish Philosophy at the Hebrew University and served in the IDF and the Prime Minister’s Office of Israel. He is affiliated with Bar Ilan University as a Rennert Fellow for Jerusalem Studies and is the founder and President of Keshet Educational Journeys in Israel.

Andrew Tucker (Canberra) studied law in Australia (BA/LLB), the UK (BCL) and The Netherlands.
Andrew was a Fellow of the Law Faculty of the University of Melbourne from 1994 to 2001, and Research Associate at the TMC Asser Institute in The Hague from 1996-1998. He was Legal Counsel to the European Coalition for Israel (ECI) from 2010-2019.
Since 1988 he has worked as an adviser and consultant to private companies, governments, (semi-)public entities and non-profit organizations in various fields of international law. Based in The Netherlands, he is Principal of Tucker & Associates.
Andrew is co-founder and Director of thinc. (2017), and co-author of ‘Israel on Trial’, thinc. (2018).


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