Our vision is a world of justice where nations co-operate and live in peace.
‘They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’ (Isaiah 2:4).
These words of the prophet Isaiah, in the Jewish Bible, are inscribed in the Ralph Bunche Park opposite the United Nations Building in New York City. They reflect the fact that many of the values expressed in the purposes and principles of the UN Charter have their origins in Jewish writings and traditions. These include the concepts of “nations”, “friendly relations between nations” and “international cooperation”.
‘Justice, justice shall you pursue’ (Deuteronomy 16:20).
These ancient words from the Torah have inspired individuals and peoples throughout the ages in their quest for life in peace and security in both national and international society.
The pursuit of justice is reflected, for example, in the dedication of the western steps in the Ralph Bunche Park to Natan Sharansky, a Russian “refusnik” and writer who was denied permission to leave Russia during the Cold War for the sole reason that he was Jewish. Sharansky has since become a foremost human rights campaigner, as well as an Israeli politician and later Chairman of the Jewish Agency.
The Jewish people came into existence 3800 years ago and settled in the land of Israel. 2000 years ago, their land was occupied by the Romans and the Jews were scattered around the globe. A remnant of Jews has always remained in the land, subject to the rule of a succession of foreign empires. Wherever they were in the diaspora, they kept their identity as expressed by their religion and traditions. And wherever they were, they were persecuted because of their identity, because of what they were: Jews. No other people has gone through this and survived.
All these observations show that the Jewish people occupy a special place among the nations and that Jewish concepts and traditions play an important role in the law of nations.
As Rabbinical Jewish leaders recently stated, the Jewish people consider themselves to have received “a dual mission: to found the nation of Israel that would inherit, settle and establish a model society in the holy, promised land of Israel, all while serving as a source of light for all mankind”. (Between Jerusalem and Rome – reflections on 50 years Nostra Aetate)
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Allied Powers decided to enable the Jewish people to reconstitute their homeland in the territory that in the meantime had become known as “Palestine”. This decision was sanctioned by the League of Nations in the Mandate for Palestine in 1922. Since the State of Israel was proclaimed as a Jewish State in 1948, it has developed into one of the most successful nations in the world in fields such as agriculture, water management, economics, medical innovation, science and technology.
The atrocities during the Second World War were a horrific attempt at genocide, yet they gave rise to the modern human rights movement, as reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).
Ever since its creation in 1948, the position of Israel in the arena of international law and relations has been one of much controversy and debate. Today, Israel is the only UN Member whose very existence is denied by a significant number of other UN Members, and is the subject of constant contestation and condemnation in UN institutions. As former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon observed in 2016: “Decades of political maneuvering have created a disproportionate number of resolutions, reports and committees against Israel. In many cases, instead of helping the Palestinian issue, this reality has foiled the ability of the UN to fulfill its role effectively.”
thinc. takes the view that this constant contestation and condemnation is based on discrimination against the Jewish people.
We believe that respect for the sovereign equality of the Jewish State of Israel within the community of nations, in accordance with international law, is not only necessary, but is the key to the achievement of the international co-operation that is needed for peace, justice and security in the Middle East and beyond.
Our mission is to promote the fair and just application of international law in international relations, in particular to the Jewish people, to the State of Israel and to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
thinc. will strive to –
- ensure that UN Charter values and principles such as the sovereign equality of states, friendly relations among nations, non-aggression and the peaceful resolution of disputes, remain central to the quest for international peace and security;
- promote the rule of law in international relations, which is essential for the peaceful co-existence of nations and the pursuit and maintenance of international peace and security. Eugene Rostow (former Dean of Yale Law School) said: “Fidelity to law is the essence of peace, and the only practical rule for making a just and lasting peace”. The rule of law means, inter alia, that all states should be treated equally, and legal rules should be formulated, interpreted and applied equally to all equivalent states and conflicts;
- ensure that a clear distinction is made between international law and policy. Resolutions of the UN General Assembly or Security Council, for example, are essentially political in character, and do not necessarily reflect a true and accurate statement of the law.
However, these principles are often ignored, and the international legal system is often applied unfairly. It tends to be manipulated by groups of nations to achieve military and ideological ends that undermine the sovereign rights of smaller states and the human rights of peoples; one example of this is the case of Israel/Palestine. In our view such use of international law conflicts with UN Charter principles, impedes peaceful settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and undermines the international legal order itself.
Our strategy is to achieve our mission through research, debate, conferences and seminars, publications, education and advice.
thinc. carries out research, creates publications, facilitates debate and provides education about the legal position of Israel and the Jewish people in the national and international political arena, especially in the UN and the EU.
We advise politicians and policy-makers to make informed decisions based on the fair and non-discriminatory application of international law to the Jewish people, Israel and the Israel-Palestine conflict.
We carry out these activities by:
- facilitating a worldwide network of international law academics and practitioners, managed by an executive team based in the Netherlands; and
- where possible, adopting an inter-disciplinary approach, in which these international lawyers are complemented by experts in the fields of history, international relations, military affairs and security, foreign policy and other disciplines.
thinc. is a non-profit research organization (think tank) based in The Hague – City of Peace and Justice. We comprise a global network of experienced legal practitioners and academics in the field of international law, who are committed to our goals.
The thinc. network is managed by a Management Team (MT) of two Directors. The Board of Directors is assisted by an Advisory Board of academics in the relevant disciplines, and media experts.