Robert Wintemute on “Israel-Palestine: Is it apartheid, and is boycott justified and legal?”

Room 2003, Osgoode Hall Law School, Ignat Kaneff Building

Israel-Palestine: Is it apartheid, and is boycott justified and legal?


A growing number of people around the world (especially black South Africans) view the situation in Israel-Palestine as one of apartheid (racial discrimination in access to citizenship and the right to vote).  Is this true, or is the situation one of temporary occupation, necessary for the security of Jewish-Israelis?  If it is true, did the apartheid begin in 2002, 1987, 1967 or 1948?  If it is true, are calls to boycott Israel, until it ends its apartheid, a justifiable response and a form of protected political expression, applying the reasoning of the US Supreme Court in National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Claiborne Hardware Co. (“a nonviolent, politically motivated boycott … is constitutionally protected”)?  Or are they incitement to racial discrimination or hatred, as the French Cour de cassation found in 2015 (rejecting the conclusion of the trial court), and as the French Government contends in the pending case of Baldassi and Others v. France (European Court of Human Rights)? []


Robert Wintemute is a Professor of Human Rights Law at King’s College London, UK, and the author of “Israel-Palestine Through the Lens of Racial Discrimination Law:  Is the South African Apartheid Analogy Accurate, and What If the European Convention Applied?”, (2017) 28 King’s Law Journal 89 [].  Originally from Calgary, he did his B.A. at the University of Alberta and Université Laval, his LL.B. and his B.C.L. at McGill University and, after practising bankruptcy law for five years with Milbank in New York, his D.Phil. at the University of Oxford. He has worked on lesbian and gay human rights cases in the European Court of Human Rights, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Constitutional Court of Colombia, and the Supreme Courts of Argentina, Massachusetts and the United States.  He was inspired to begin researching and writing in the area of Palestinian human rights after speaking at a conference in Ramallah in December 2009, seeing the West Bank Wall, and passing through the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and East Jerusalem.

Register Now