Our Mission

Few geopolitical conflicts attract as much attention as those involving Israel and its Arab neighbors – and none are as ubiquitously framed in the terminology of international law. Thus nowhere is objective academic analysis and debate about the application of international law more essential.

Yet academic legal discussions of the conflict are often explicitly normative, seeking to develop “new” legal norms in the unhospitable soil of the Levant.  Legal discussions of the Israeli/Arab conflict often take place in a bubble, where purported norms are not tested by applicability elsewhere.

The Center will seek to foster debate and critical engagement on international law in the Middle East, with a particular emphasis on developing voices and perspectives that have largely been excluded from the academic discussion, and on challenging underexamined consensus.

The Center is funded in part by a generous grant from the Goldhirsh-Yellin Foundation.


International law, like any other system of law, must treat similar cases similarly. This is not simply a requirement of fairness, but a necessary requirement for the existence of a rule of law.

The inevitably porous border between international law and geopolitics is best enforced by a rigorous adherence to positivist, empirical, and descriptive scholarship.

The overwhelmingly disproportionate attention paid by the international community to aspects of the Israeli/Arab conflict often comes at the expense of attention to other international law issues in the region.