Israel Reflections 2017–Trust is Optional–Last Blog of the Trip!

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MOty Cristal stands in front of a classroom of students and lectures.Speaker Moty Cristal is always one of the student favorites and, frankly, I never know what he is going to do.  Last time, he led us in an exercise learning about coalitions.  This time, Moty focused on the lessons from his upcoming book chapter in the Negotiator’s Desk Reference regarding negotiation in low-to-no trust environments.  As usual, the students loved him!  Here is student James Wold’s assessment.

The most memorable speaker I found in Israel was one of the last ones we had during our week. Moty Cristal is one of Israel’s leading negotiation experts and I knew it would be an interesting discussion from the moment he called himself a prac-ademic (a play on practictioner and academic). He noted that he is not exactly a practitioner, nor a pure academic in the field of negotiation. What he is, however, is undeniably brilliant and fascinating. In many ways, he tied up a lot of the issues that we were dealing with on the trip, such as conflict resolution. I find myself wanting to learn so much more from and about him.

The portion of the one-hour discussion (it was anything but a lecture) that got me to stand up and take notice was his statement that trust is not a prerequisite to negotiation and that respect of the process and freedom to hate were important. While respecting the process is something I’ve heard before, the freedom to hate aspect was a sharp departure from most of what I’ve learned regarding negotiation. In most of my learnings, it emphasized gaining the trust of the other side is vital in starting a negotiation. Although it was perhaps a bit counterintuitive, the lesson I took away on freedom to hate is that neither side must be friends at the end of the day to make a deal work, especially when resolving a conflict. Moty’s entire presentation style and infectious energy kept me engaged from beginning to end. Read more »




Israel Reflections 2017–Treating Terrorists and Other Medical Challenges

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Television camras and microphones surround Dr. Ofer Merin dressed in doctor's scrubs.One other new visit this year was with Dr. Ofer Merin, a commander of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) Medical Field Unit and emergency room doctor at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.   As student Margo Clark notes, his roles often require both flexibility and understand beyond our immediate biases.

Dr. Ofer Merin is the Chief of the IDF Field Hospital, which travels to different countries to offer assistance in times of need. One example of the IDF Field Hospital’s greatest accomplishments is its ability to be the only field hospital from a foreign country to help the Japanese people after they were devastated by a tsunami. Their success comes from the amount of flexibility and understanding that Dr. Merin and his team work under. Rather than pushing their own system, Dr. Merin and his team worked under and around Japanese law. Under Japanese law, it is illegal for a foreign doctor to treat a Japanese citizen.  The team was flexible and put the Japanese people first. Their flexibility is exemplified by their assisting and enabling Japanese doctors to treat the large number of Japanese people who were in need. By foregoing their egos and putting understanding and flexibility first, Dr. Merin and his team were the only foreign field hospital team to be allowed to help the Japanese people.  Here is a MSNBC news report showing the IDF work in Haiti from 2010.

Dr. Merin’s flexibility and understanding is continually shown in his additional role as the Deputy Director of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center. This center is known for simultaneously treating terrorists and the victims of their attacks. It is excessively difficult to imagine how hard it must be to treat a terrorist. However, Dr. Merin understands the consequences of both treating and not treating terrorists and being beyond reproach as far as bias towards his patients. As a doctor, he is an example of following the Hippocratic oath and doing no harm under stressful conditions where many would be tempted to be biased and fail their duties as doctors. His example is important because if he can work without bias towards terrorists, doctors everywhere should use his example to attempt to work without any sort of bias. Read more »




Israel Reflections 2017–The Israeli Supreme Court

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Interior view of a hallway in the Isralei Supreme Court Building with natural light strwaming in from a row of windows.This year we were able to meet with two different former Israeli Supreme Court Justices–at the beginning and at the end of the trip–which provided great bookends to our week of learning.  Student Celeste Borjas reflects on the visit to the Supreme Court…

On our last day in Jerusalem we were able to tour the Israeli Supreme Court. The Israeli Supreme Court building is conveniently situated between the Israeli Parliament building (the Knesset) and the office of the Prime Minister. Our tour guide explained that this was purposeful, and was meant to symbolize the role of the judiciary as mediator of conflict. As we entered the building, I was taken aback by the amount of natural light entering through the windows. Though it was a very rainy day, there was no need for lamps or artificial lighting in the foyer. Another physical attribute of the Court foyer that caught my eye was the aesthetic created by a wall made entirely out of Jerusalem stone (a sandy-white limestone out of which most buildings in Jerusalem are constructed) standing opposite of a clean unadorned wall of white plaster. Our tour guide explained that this juxtaposition was meant to symbolize how the laws of men on Earth should complement the ultimate pursuit of eternal justice.

One of the first things to surprise me was that the Israeli Supreme Court actually operates similarly to the United States Court of Appeals. I had originally expected the highest court in Israel to resemble the Supreme Court of the United States. Not so. Like the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Israeli Justices (13 total) typically preside over cases in panels of three. Additionally, parties to a suit are entitled to an appeal at the Israeli Supreme Court as a matter of right. Moreover, any person may directly petition the Israeli Supreme Court (and bypass the district courts) if an action by an Israeli governmental entity contradicts/contravenes the basic laws of the Knesset. This last point reminded me of the power of the D.C. Circuit to hear cases involving federal agency action. Read more »




Israel Reflections 2017-The Case Of The Curious Citizenship (East Jerusalem)

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Our visit with Riman Barakat, a former Marquette Fulbright scholar who has worked in many different Palestinian-Israeli peacebuilding NGO’s is always a highlight of the trip.  Student Adrianna Hromadka reflects on the questions and answers of her talk.

East Jerusalem offers a unique type of citizenship. After 1948, East Jerusalem was not included in the Israeli held territory. However, following the Group of Marquette Law students and others on Israel tripSix-day War, Israel extended permanent Israeli residency to Arabs that were then living in Jerusalem. Others not then residing in Jerusalem were not extended the same right of residency. Today, East Jerusalem serves as the capital of the Palestinian territory. While all of the territory’s citizens have Israeli residency, only a small percentage of East Jerusalemites have Israeli citizenship. Without Israeli citizenship, residents can only vote in municipal elections. Additionally, East Jerusalemites can lose their right of residency if they live abroad for more than seven years.

On our fourth day of the trip we got to dive deeper into the complexity of East Jerusalem. We had the opportunity to have a discussion with Riman Barakat, the CEO of Experience Palestine and a social activist. Barakat is an East Jerusalem citizen that has played a significant role in the peace movement in the East Jerusalem community. Barakat spoke about the importance of building bridges between the different communities for the betterment of Jerusalem as a whole. Read more »




Israel Reflections 2017–Old Gesher (the Crossing into Jordan)

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View of stone bridge at Israeli settlement "Old Gesher," located on the Jordan River.This trip we added a few new places and this was one of them.  As student Jessica Lothman reflects in this post, this particular bridge was filled with history, symbolism, and hope.

 

Bridging Time and Space: The Gravity of Old Gesher

Einstein put forth his theory of relativity in 1915 having determined that massive objects cause a distortion in space and time—this force is felt as gravity. Traveling through two-thousand years of history in eight days exerted its own gravitational force, with each speaker and landmark along our route from Jerusalem to the ancient Jaffa port in Tel Aviv pulling and pushing my perspective on conflict resolution in the context of Israel. Reflecting on our visit to Old Gesher—a place ripe with symbolism and metaphor—provides a snapshot of how the themes of relativity and gravity wove throughout our journey, and the course of human events in Israel and the Middle East.

We stopped at Old Gesher as twilight fell over the valley of the Jordan River on our way to Tiberius. Standing on the grounds, we could see the fence demarcating the border between Jordan and Israel near the confluence of the Jordan and Yarmuk rivers, as well as the standing remains of three historic bridges (gesher is Hebrew for “bridge,” an obvious metaphor for conflict resolution). These bridges span not only vital terrain connecting the port city of Haifa to Jordan and Syria, but also epochs of strife-torn history from the Roman era to the Turkish era, and finally the British and modern eras.

It also is the site of a pre-Israeli state hydro-electric power station envisioned and orchestrated by “the old man from Naharayim,” Pinchas Ruttenberg in the late 1920’s This engineering feat operated for a short time providing electrical power throughout the region and serving as a symbol of cooperation between the early Zionists and the kingdom of Jordan. Jews manning the station built the only Kibbutz east of the Jordan. Prior to the Arab Legion attack on the compound during the 1948 War of Independence, Jordan took the unlikely step of alerting the people in the Kibbutz that danger was imminent, allowing all but the vital personnel to evacuate. 30 brave souls remained to protect the Kibbutz and power station, which was later destroyed during the war and was never to operate again—emblematic of the toll taken by armed conflict. Read more »




Israel Reflections 2017–Day One–or, Should a Bartender Be the Next Mediator for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

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Group photo of Marquette Law students that traveled to IsraelI am going to start posting the student reflections from the trip on a regular basis for the next couple weeks–hope you enjoy!

For the start of our Israel trip this year, we first stopped for an overlook of Jerusalem. Here our tour guide, Asaf, gave us a very brief history of Israel—6,000 years in 6 minutes…well maybe it took 10 minutes.  Following a fabulous dinner at Focaccia-Bar (I highly recommend), several students explored night life in Jerusalem during Shabbat. Stephen Bollom shared his experience with identities changed to protect the innocent (sort of).

Should a Bartender Be the Next Mediator for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

Six hours after landing in Israel, I found myself amid an impromptu conflict resolution at Dublin Bar in Jerusalem. How could this be happening? I was only kidding when I told my friend we couldn’t leave Israel until we came to a two-state solution! Yet, there I sat, with my Jack and Diet half-full in front of me, as I pretended to not hear the commotion going on between him and two attractive Israeli women sitting next to him at the bar. How was he to know the ins-and-out of appropriate decorum considering the jet lag hadn’t even begun to wear off? How could it be our fault as Americans that the social constructs with which we are familiar would be considered offensive and insulting in Israel? Read more »




International Conflict Resolution Trip to Israel: Perspectives from a Property Law Professor

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An abandoned home in Lifta

I was fortunate to have gone on the Marquette University international spring break trip to Israel with Professors Schneider and Fleury and students in their Dispute Resolution Seminar. I attended the trip as a faculty guest without the benefit of being an expert in dispute resolution like my two colleagues or studying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict like the students enrolled in the seminar. Rather, my expertise is in the areas of tax and real estate law. Before embarking on the trip, I was excited to embrace the trip’s focus on dispute resolution, but I was also intent on learning as much as possible about my primary areas. I will limit my observations to real estate law.

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting with professors, justices of the Israeli Supreme Court, students, lawyers, historians, and other leaders. We also had two wonderful tour guides who provided us with a wealth of information during the entire trip. During our tour of Lifta, an abandoned Palestinian village in Jerusalem, I learned that the government owned approximately 90% of Israeli land. Therefore, most homeowners build their homes on land that is leased from the government under 99-year ground leases. The leases were executed post-1948; thus, none of them had expired. I asked the professor leading our tour of Lifta what would happen at the end of the lease terms. Her response was that no one really knew. In comparison, many long-term ground leases in the United States are renewable and include options to purchase. With the “bundle of rights” that we place on property in the United States, I find this lack of clarity related to the Israeli leases to be a bit unsettling. Read more »




Deadline Extended for Study Abroad in Germany

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Students walk outside of the law school at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.The deadline for submitting an application for the upcoming Summer Session in International and Comparative Law has been extended until April 25.  The program has been approved and will definitely take place.  However, there is still room for an additional five (5) students from Marquette Law School or from other U.S. law schools.

Every year, the four week Summer Session in the town of Giessen provides a fantastic opportunity to receive 4 law school credits while studying alongside an international student body and experiencing German culture.  Program participants can choose two courses from among four offerings: 1) Comparative Constitutional Law; 2) International Economic Law and Business Transactions; 3) Cyber Law; and 4) Business Ethics and Human Rights.  Two multi-day field trips — to Berlin and Hamburg — are included in the fees.

The program takes place from July 15 until August 12.  For more details, please visit the Study Abroad webpage, where you can also find more information on the tuition and fees, details on the course offerings , and where you can download an application.

Don’t delay, as the program will fill up quickly.

Photos:  Above, students walk in front of the law school building at Justus Liebig University.  Below, a view of the Giessen City Center, with Bell Tower and Opera House.

View from above of the City Center of Giessen, Germany with Clock Tower and Opera House.




Human Rights Expert Says Surviving the Holocaust Motivated His Career

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The last question at the “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Marquette Law School on Thursday with Judge Thomas Buergenthal went to a retired Milwaukee school teacher who painted a gloomy picture of the state of the world.

“Humanity is having a real problem,” she said. “These are horrible times right now.”

Buergenthal answered in a positive fashion: “You’re too pessimistic,” he said. “Things are happening. They’re not happening as fast as you and I would like it to happen. There are some bad things happening too. But overall, we are moving slowly, too slowly.” He mentioned efforts by the United Nations and regional human rights organizations around the world that he thought were having positive impact.

“We do more harm to these developments if we think they’re not working.” He said. “So the trick is to stay with it.“

Buergenthal has stayed with it for decades. He is an authority on international and human rights law and one of the youngest Holocaust survivors. He is an emeritus professor of law at George Washington Law School and a former judge of the International Court of Justice at the Hague – among many distinctions and accomplishments. And he is author or co-author of numerous books, including a memoir, A Lucky Child, about surviving Auschwitz as a child. In his early 80s, he is, in fact, one of the youngest survivors of the notorious Nazi concentration camp. Read more »




Apply Now for 2017 Summer Session in Giessen, Germany

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Three students in the summer program in Giessen, Germany sit at their desks and laugh.Applications are due March 24 for the Summer Session in International and Comparative Law being held in Giessen, Germany from July 15 through August 12, 2017.  Participants can choose from among four courses — CyberLaw, Comparative Constitutional Law, International Economic Law & Business Transactions and Business Ethics and Human Rights — and spend a month living and studying with a truly international student body.  A distinguished faculty from law schools in Germany, the United Kingdom and Wisconsin will lead the classroom instruction.  More information, as well as an application, can be downloaded here from the Law School Study Abroad webpage.  Past participants agree that this program was one of the most fun and memorable parts of their legal education.  If you need any more reasons to apply, consider watching this YouTube video made by last summer’s participant, A.J. “The Wanderer” Lawton, which documents his travels to Giessen, program field trip destinations in Hamburg and Berlin, and other sites throughout Europe.  Apply Now!




Congratulations to Marquette’s 2017 Jessup Team

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The 2017 Jessup Moot Court Team poses for a photo.Congratulations to Celeste Borjas, Alyssa Gemein, James Wold, and Dena Welden for their strong effort in the 2017 Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Midwest Regionals in Chicago last weekend.  This year’s Jessup problem involved international law issues related to transboundary water aquifers, cultural heritage and migrant/refugee rights.  Our Marquette team won the 2d place award for Best Memorial in the Midwest Region.  Big congratulations!

Attorneys and Marquette Law alumni Juan Amado (Jessup, 2011), Rene Jovel (Jessup, 2014) and Drew Walgreen (MU moot court, 2013), as well as Professors Megan A. O’Brien and Ryan Scoville served as team advisors.  Special thanks to Jared Widseth (Jessup 2014) and Margaret Krei (Jessup 2013) as well as Attorney Nathan Kirschner for giving so much of their time to judge practice rounds this year.




Study Abroad in Germany This Summer

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overview_2016-participantsThe campus of the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany will be the location of the Ninth Annual Summer Session in International and Comparative Law offered jointly by Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin, and the Justus Liebig University- Giessen.  This program brings together up to sixty students from law schools all over the world to take classes in comparative and international law over a four week session lasting from July 15 through August 12. In addition to students from the United States and Germany, over the years the program has attracted students from Russia, India, Columbia, Brazil, South Africa, Ethiopia, Spain, Vietnam, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Dominican Republic, Korea, Australia, Indonesia and Kazakhstan, among other countries.  Class instruction is in English, and the international student body provides for a unique learning experience.

Faculty will be drawn from the U.S. and Europe.  Each student will select two courses (each course worth 2.0 law school credit hours) out of a total of four courses in the curriculum.  In addition to coursework, the curriculum includes two overnight field trips to Berlin and Hamburg to visit courts, other governmental institutions, and historical sites.  In addition, the program includes speakers on a variety of topics including a panel discussion on differences and similarities in legal education and practice around the world and a discussion of opportunities for further legal study and internships in Europe.

Classes will be held Monday through Thursday, during the day, over the four weeks of the program.  This schedule leaves students with time to explore the cities, villages and countryside around Giessen and nearby Frankfurt, and the opportunity to travel throughout Europe.  Paris to the west and Berlin to the east are a mere 300 miles from Giessen.

Past participants in the program have given high marks to both the substantive learning experience and the opportunity to form international friendships.  Enrollment is open to students who have completed one year of instruction in any U.S. law school.  Students enrolled in law schools outside of the United States should apply through the Justus Liebig University.

A general program overviewtravel and tuition details, course descriptions and faculty biographies can be viewed online.  An application form can be downloaded here.  Apply now and I will see you in Germany this summer!