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Global Jurist

Ed. by Mattei, Ugo / Monti, Alberto

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Legal Colonialism - Americanization of Legal Education in Israel

Haim Sandberg1

1College of Management - Academic Studies,

Citation Information: Global Jurist. Volume 10, Issue 2, ISSN (Online) 1934-2640, DOI: 10.2202/1934-2640.1355, June 2010

Publication History

Published Online:
2010-06-08

The American influence on the legal education in Israel has been significantly increased during the last three decades. Many faculty members gained their post-graduate education in American law schools. This phenomenon emerged out of both economic and cultural considerations. The result is an importation of research and teaching practices as well as the importation of theories and values. This process has significant influence on the Israeli legal system. The legal scholarship turns to be more universal and less local. English turns to be the main language of the legal academic discourse. The focus of the academic legal research is gradually concentrating on American contents and American materials. These phenomena have negative influences on the interaction of academy and legal practitioners in Israel. Moreover, theories that emerged in an American environment are percolated from the academic world to policy makers and judges. These policies have been applied as a solution for local and unique Israeli problems. The unique characteristics of the Israeli situation are neglected. Three examples to the latter are brought from the field of judicial cases concerning land policy. The first is the influence of the Brown v. Board of Education precedent on Israel policy with regard to allocation of land resources to minorities in a Jewish state. The second is the influence of American theories concerning indigenous people and distributive justice on the privatization of agricultural land in Israel. The third is the influence of American theories of distributive justice and social responsibility on the attitude of the Israeli legal world to land expropriations. These three examples show that the influence of the American education may go beyond the legal sphere and have a significant influence on basic political interior problems of foreign nations. Thus, the Israeli case may be a prism of a modern way of colonialism – a legal colonialism. This kind of superpower influence on small friendly nations is not exercised by military or economic pressure, but by an export of academic education. It may be noticed in Obama's insight that "American values are America's great export to the world."

Keywords: legal education; Americanization; globalization; colonialism; land law; land policy; expropriations; minority rights; law and culture; Israel; Palestinians

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