A demonstrator displays a sign during a protest in Brussels, May 31, 2010.
A demonstrator displays a sign reading "Boycott Israel, racist state" outside the Belgian foreign affairs building during a protest in Brussels, May 31, 2010. Photo by Reuters
Text size
related tags

LONDON - One hundred and fifty lawyers from around Europe have gathered in London on Sunday for a two-day seminar, organized by the Israeli embassy in Britain, to discuss the various legal aspects of pro-Israel advocacy.

The seminar is taking place amid growing concern regarding boycott campaigns and as part of the emphasis Israel's foreign service is recently putting on legal activism and the attempt of Israel's critics to employ what is dubbed as "lawfare."

The seminar is the initiative of Ambassador Daniel Taub, who before his appointment to the Court of St. James a year ago served as the deputy legal adviser at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

In addition to lectures and workshops by the embassy's diplomatic staff and other experts, the participants will be addressed by Israel's Supreme Court Judge Elyakim Rubinstein and Colonel (res.) Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University and former commander of the International Law Department in the IDF's Military Attorney General Corps.

"The lawyers hail from Britain and around Europe, mainly Jewish but not only, who are active or want to be active in various legal and public-affairs fields in support of Israel," explained one of the seminar's participants."This is an important opportunity for them to network, connect with the foreign ministry and receive useful background information."

The seminar, taking place in a London hotel, was closed to the media by the embassy.

The subjects of discussion include the universal jurisdiction laws that permit the arrest of high-ranking Israeli officers and officials in some European countries over allegations of war-crimes.

Last year, Britain altered its universal jurisdiction law, allowing only the Director of Public Prosecution to issue universal jurisdiction arrest warrants, but the Israeli government is still concerned that this is insufficient. Other issues include facing the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement, lobbying and legal action against Iran's financial system, tackling anti-Semitism and the de-legitimization of Israel.

The Embassy in London would not comment on the seminar.