Fighting Back Against Lawfare Posted By Jacob Laksin
FrontPage Interview’s guest today is Brooke Goldstein, a New York City-based human rights attorney, author and award-winning filmmaker. She serves as director of The Lawfare Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about and facilitating a response to the abuse of Western legal systems and human rights law. Her award-winning documentary film, The Making of a Martyr, uncovers the illegal, state-sponsored indoctrination and recruitment of Palestinian children for suicide-homicide attacks. To view the trailer, click here. Goldstein is the co-author, with Aaron Eitan Meyer, of the recently published Lawfare: The War Against Free Speech: A First Amendment Guide for Reporting in an Age of Islamist Lawfare.
Goldstein will be speaking at the Philadelphia Chapter of the David Horowitz Freedom Center at The Office of Duane Morris, LLP. 30 South 17th Street, 12th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103, on February 2nd from 5:00 to 6:30pm. To register for that event, click here.
FP: You run an organization that focuses on it and you’ve recently written a book about it, but for the benefit of the uninitiated reader, what is “lawfare” and what is it designed to accomplish?
BG: Lawfare is the use of the law as a weapon of war. More specifically, it is the manipulation of international human-rights law, the laws of armed conflict and legal terminology leading to their misapplication. Lawfare has basically three strategic goals. First, to frustrate and hinder the ability of democracies fight terrorism. Second, to undermine the rights of sovereign nations, including the rights to defend their citizens against imminent threats and exert sovereign control over their territory. And third, to punish and silence free speech about real national-security threats such as militant Islam, Islamist terrorism and terror financing.
FP: How does lawfare help to stifle free speech about the threats we face? And how did you become engaged in this subject?
BG: I’m a Canadian by birth but I moved to this country because I wanted to practice law and have a tremendous respect for the American Constitution. In the United States people enjoy more rights then ever recognized by a governing authority in the history of civilization. Yet there are many Americans who do not know what their rights are under the First Amendment and who don’t understand the implications of its guarantor of free speech. For instance, I get calls and emails from people who don’t know that blasphemy is not a crime in this country, or that free speech encompasses the right to speak and write truthfully about religion. I’ve gotten into discussions with bloggers who thought that hate speech was a crime in this country, which it’s not. American citizens have a right to speak freely and critically about their government and about religion. That principle is the cornerstone of liberal democracy and what the founding fathers based the First Amendment on.