Columbia Law Review back online after student editors threatened to strike over Nakba censorship

Columbia Law Review back online after student editors threatened to strike over Nakba censorship


The Intercept reports:

After the Columbia Law Review’s board of directors responded to the publication of an article about Palestine by taking the prestigious journal completely offline, the students who run CLR voted on Wednesday to reject an offer in a letter from the directors to reinstate the website.

The Columbia Law School students who run CLR were considering a proposal to append a note to the Palestine article disclaiming what the directors, in an unsigned letter to students, described as “secrecy and deviation from the Review’s usual processes.” In the letter proposing the text, the board of directors said it wanted to see the journal put back online.

The student editors rejected the deal for a disclaimer by a 20-5 vote, according to a student and documentation reviewed by The Intercept.

“I think that this whole year, and particularly this last semester, has been about students recognizing, stepping into their power,” said Sohum Pal, a CLR articles editor. “And I’m very glad that the law students at the law review are doing the same.” [Continue reading…]

Rabea Eghbariah writes:

The law does not possess the language that we desperately need to accurately capture the totality of the Palestinian condition. From occupation to apartheid and genocide, the most commonly applied legal concepts rely on abstraction and analogy to reveal particular facets of subordination. This Article introduces Nakba as a legal concept to resolve this tension. Meaning “Catastrophe” in Arabic, the term “al-Nakba” (النكبة) is often used to refer to the ruinous process of establishing the State of Israel in Palestine. But the Nakba has undergone a metamorphosis; it has evolved from a historical calamity into a brutally sophisticated structure of oppression. This ongoing Nakba includes episodes of genocide and variants of apartheid but remains rooted in a historically and analytically distinct foundation, structure, and purpose.

This Article therefore proposes to distinguish apartheid, genocide, and Nakba as different, yet overlapping, modalities of crimes against humanity. It first identifies Zionism as Nakba’s ideological counterpart and insists on understanding these concepts as mutually constitutive. Considering the limits of existing legal frameworks, this Article goes on to analyze the legal anatomy of the ongoing Nakba. It positions displacement as the Nakba’s foundational violence, fragmentation as its structure, and the denial of self-determination as its purpose. Taken together, these elements give substance to a concept in the making that may prove useful in other contexts as well.

The full text of the 106-page article, “Toward Nakba as a legal concept,” can be read here [PDF].

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