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Harvard Prof. Alan Dershowitz May Defend Israel at International Court of Justice

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to tap Harvard Law School professor Alan M. Dershowitz to defend Israel against genocide accusations in the International Court of Justice next week, Axios reporter Barak Ravid wrote in a post on X, citing anonymous Israeli officials.

Dershowitz told The Crimson on Thursday that he “can’t comment on any role that I may or may not play” in defending Israel in The Hague.

However, he said that he has been “defending Israel for more than half a century,” adding that he “will continue to defend Israel when it is right.”

South Africa accused Israel of genocide against Palestinians in a case filed with the International Court of Justice on Dec. 29. South Africa is also appealing to the court to issue an order for Israel to immediately suspend its military campaign in Gaza.

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In response, Israeli government officials said the case was a “despicable and contemptuous exploitation” of the court. But in a break with the country’s precedent of ignoring international judicial cases, Israeli officials said they intend to send a legal team to defend themselves.

Dershowitz said in the interview that South Africa’s charges of genocide are “totally false.”

“Israel has gone to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties,” he said. “Israel is not at war with civilians, it is at war with Hamas, which is at war with its own civilians.”

Israeli military operations in Gaza have drawn widespread condemnation from the international community over the high number of civilian casualties. More than 22,000 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli operation, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health.

Dershowitz, a strong supporter of the Israeli government, penned a essay in Compact Magazine on Wednesday claiming that the Israeli military has not committed war crimes in their incursion in Gaza.

In the essay, Dershowitz wrote that South Africa's accusations are “without merit.”

“Israel has committed no war crimes in seeking to degrade and destroy Hamas in Gaza,” Dershowitz wrote. “Hamas, by contrast, has committed at least four categories of war crimes.”

The first hearing in The Hague is set for Jan. 11.

—Staff writer S. Mac Healey can be reached at mac.healey@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @MacHealey.

—Staff writer Saketh Sundar can be reached at saketh.sundar@thecrimson.com.

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