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When Law Doesn’t Matter- Bring Back Our Boys

June 24, 2014

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I used to think the law was sacred. I would like to think the law is sacred. But I’ve seen the law so often used as a tool, that it sacredness, to me, is gone.

Two Stories:

1. I represent a plaintiff that he been savagely slandered by a vicious assailant. This plaintiff has lost a job and professional standing due to this assailant. I filed suit on this plaintiff’s behalf and defendant’s counsel, in an email, asked me for professional courtesy in extending him extra time to file his pleadings. Before I could answer him, I received written conclusive proof of another attempt by the assailant to slander my client.

I sent defendant’s counsel that proof by email with a note to call me. He did and all he could do was ask me for more time. He didn’t care that his client was breaking the law. That wasn’t connected to his need for more time. What I heard was: I don’t care about the law, I care about my schedule.

It’s probably my fault as I expect lawyers to at least pretend they care about the law, as I do. I’ll know better next time.

2. As you all know, three Israeli teenagers have been kidnapped. Most of the world calls for their release. However, there is a strong, growing chorus of people (I won’t dignify them by mentioning them by name) who can only talk about how Israel’s efforts to find and rescue these boys consists of collective punishment that is illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Can you think of a more cynical evocation of “the law”? Not that 3 youths were abducted by terrorists. That is a secondary matter.

“The Settlements are illegal” is the chorus. If that’s so, they’ve been illegal for over 40 years. Since the dawn of history, people have been building settlements on land that might have belonged to others. It seems that to some, only the movement started in 1967 is illegal. Why doesn’t anyone talk about other settlement movements? How about the one in 1066? or the one that started in 1492? If the answer is those are old and this one is new, when does the new one become old? What is the statute of limitations?

I only advance this argument half-seriously. My point is that illegality in this context seems to mean whatever you want it to mean – a completely subjective term. As I heard Alan Dershowitz say (I’m paraphrasing) – International Law can be divided into two categories. Cases that involve Israel and cases that involve everyone else.

When my youngest daughter tells me that something isn’t fair, I tell her “you mean you don’t like it”. That’s what I hear now when I hear the word illegal. It means “I don’t like it” or “I don’t want to do it”.

So much for the Law.

Law is supposed to be used to make our society better and more peaceful- not as a tool to promote a political agenda or justify criminal acts.

Avrum Aaron is the COO of Legal Outsourcing Partners, LLC (www.legaloutsourcingpartners.com). He can be reached at 201-379-9230 or at avrum@lop-llc.com.

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