Activism and Legitimation in Israel's Jurisprudence of Occupation
Social & Legal Studies, 2014
26 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2014 Last revised: 14 Feb 2015
Date Written: March 4, 2014
Colonial law need not exclude the colonized in order to subordinate them, and ‘activist’ courts can advance the effect of subordination no less than ‘passive’ courts. As a case study, this article examines the jurisprudential legacy of the Israeli Supreme Court in the context of the prolonged Israeli occupation of Palestine. Applying insights from legal realist, law and society, and critical legal studies scholarship, the article questions the utility of using the activist and passive labels. It illustrates how the Israeli activist court, through multiple legal and discursive moves, has advanced and legitimated the colonization of Palestine; that the court is aware of its role; and that arguments that focus on the court’s informal role do not mitigate this legitimating effect. Unlike other scholars, the article shows that the Israeli court’s role — by extending the power of judicial review to the military’s actions in the occupied areas — is neither novel nor unique or benevolent, as the British colonization of India and the US colonization of Puerto Rico show.
Keywords: activism, colonialism, Israel, judicial review, legitimation, Palestine, shadow of the court
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation