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Calling for ABA to change their latest statement

Calling for ABA to change their latest statement

Letter to ABA President Mary Smith re the attack on Israel that was published on Oct 17th.


Dear friends and colleagues,

A number of you have drawn our attention to the statements recently made by the leadership of the American Bar Association. Like you, we were disturbed to see that the initial statement which clearly condemned Hamas's horrific atrocities and confirmed that Hamas' actions are in clear breach of international law has been replaced by a watered down version which takes the sadly familiar position of expressing concern about the actions of both parties.

As lawyers, we are familiar with key concepts that may be as relevant in this case as they are in other situations – such as intention, self-defense and causation. As human beings, however, we should evoke fundamental concepts such as decency, humaneness and morality. We must be willing to stand up and call out those who commit heinous acts – such as the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th.

Israel's current actions are aimed at protecting its civilian population and it is making every effort to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza, while in contrast, Hamas' stated aim is to murder, rape and kidnap men, women and children and to destroy Israel. In order to achieve these goals, Hamas is willing to sacrifice innocent Palestinian lives.

Sadly, the leadership of the ABA seems to have taken the cowards' path of attributing moral equivalence between Hamas' actions and Israel's response.

Therefore, we would ask each of you to contact the ABA to demand that it recall and replace its prior statement to include the following key points:

  • Acknowledgement that Hamas invaded Israel and committed war crimes against civilians on an almost unprecedented scale

  • Acknowledgement that Israel has the right to conduct offensive military operations against Hamas in response, within the rules of armed conflict

  • A call for Hamas to immediately release all of the hostages held by them, of all nationalities

We appreciate that the ABA has a broad membership that may not see the current war in the same way that we do here in Israel. However, as lawyers we have a duty to examine the evidence and reach the correct legal conclusion; in this case the abundance of evidence of the barbarism of the Hamas attack is clear. The ABA should not be deterred from reaching the correct conclusion and doing the right thing.


We appreciate that the ABA has a broad membership that may not see the current war in the same way that we do here in Israel. However, as lawyers we have a duty to examine the evidence and reach the correct legal conclusion; in this case the abundance of evidence of the barbarism of the Hamas attack is clear. The ABA should not be afraid to reach the only possible conclusion.


Send an EMAIL

We have prepared a template of an email that you can use as you wish. This email can be addressed to the President of the ABA, as suggested below, or to any of your connections at ABA. If possible, also kindly CC or send to: ABAPresident@americanbar.org


Dear ABA President Mary Smith,

I am sending this email in respect of the Oct 17th Statement made by the ABA President, Mary Smith, concerning the attack on Israel. I was deeply disturbed to see that the initial ABA statement which clearly condemned Hamas' horrendous atrocities and confirmed that Hamas' actions are a flagrant breach of international law, has been replaced by a watered-down version, which takes the sadly familiar position of expressing concern at the actions of all parties.

I greatly respect the American Bar Association (ABA) for its commitment to justice and human rights, butI believe that the ABA must be willing to stand up and call out those who commit acts of evil such as the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th. Sadly, it seems that the leadership of the ABA has taken a path of attributing an artificial moral equivalence between Hamas' actions and Israel's response. We request that the ABA promptly update its statement on the Israel-Hamas conflict to include the following key points:

  1. Hamas Aggression Acknowledgment: Recognize that Hamas invaded Israel and committed war crimes on an almost unprecedented scale;

  2. Israel's Right to Self-Defense: Acknowledge Israel's right to self-defense within international law and the rules of armed conflict.

  3. Call for Hostage Release: Call on Hamas to release all hostages immediately, in line with human rights’ principles.

Such statements will provide a more balanced description of the war, aligned with the ABA's commitment to justice and human rights.

We appreciate your consideration of these points and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

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