case western reserve university



Public Affairs Discussion Group

"Morality in Armed Conflict"

March 25, 2005
Crawford Hall, Room 14

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Professor Amos Guiora

Amos Guiora

Case Visiting Professor of Law and Lt. Colonel, Israeli Defense Forces


Dear Colleagues:

This Friday, our lunch discussion will focus on what may be the hardest issue of all: whether there can be any morality in war.

War is hell, it has been said.  Hell is not known for good behavior.  But there have long been efforts to create rules and law of proper behavior in war, from the codes of chivalry to the Geneva Conventions. 

The concept of “war crime” may seem an oxymoron if war is the greatest crime of all.  It may also be ignored by those who believe that war is for survival and survival is the ultimate law.  Probably most people, however, think of armed conflict as something in which it is sometimes necessary that their countries engage, but on which there should be some limits, some bounds of decency or at least prudence.

The disgusting pictures from Abu Ghraib and “collateral damage” in the invasion and occupation of Iraq should bring these issues home to Americans.  But Israelis have had to think constantly about war and its limits since the birth of their nation in armed conflict, and that was only exacerbated when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza in 1967.

Visiting Professor of Law Amos Guiora has had to deal with these issues at first hand.  He is also Lt. Colonel Guiora of the Israeli Defence Forces Judge Advocate General Corps.  He has been Commander of the IDF School of Military Law, Judge Advocate for the Navy and Home Front Command, and Legal Advisor to the Gaza Strip.  He has had to both train soldiers and commanders in a code of conduct, and judge violations of the code.  

He will discuss Morality in Armed Conflict at this week’s Friday Public Affairs Lunch Discussion, March 25 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Toepfer Room on the Second Floor of Adelbert Hall.  As usual, cookies and beverages will be provided to accompany the lunch you bring.  Please come with questions.

Joseph White, Ph.D.
Family Professor and Chair
Department of Political Science
Director, Center for Policy Studies
Case Western Reserve University

About Our Guest

When Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law decided to teach national security law, it turned to its 1985 graduate, Amos N. Guiora, from the Israel Defense Forces, an expert in the legal aspects of security and counter-terrorism. Guiora will spend the next year at the law school as a visiting member of the law faculty.

Part of the legal expertise Guiora brings to Case is negotiations in Washington, D.C., of the “safe passage” agreement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank with the Palestinians, the Gaza-Jericho Agreement and the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement. Guiora has also served as Judge Advocate of the Israeli Navy during the capture of the Katrine A—a Palestinian gun-running ship.

His legal expertise was integral in forging the Gaza-Jericho Agreement and the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement.

“Over the years, Amos Guiora has been a frequent visitor and lecturer at the Case School of Law,” said Gerald Korngold, McCurdy Professor and dean of the law school. “Amos continually has received an overwhelming reception by the students and faculty. His wealth of knowledge and expertise in security issues at the national and international levels will enhance the education provided to Case law students and the Case community.”

Guiora, who was born in Israel but moved to the United States before the first grade and has dual citizenship, grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich., and attended Kenyon College where he graduated in 1979 with honors in history. He claims to own one of the largest Wolverine football tape collections outside the United States.

Prior to attending law school at Case, Guiora worked in Washington, D.C., for two years as assistant to U.S. Rep. Howard Wolpe (D-Mich.) and one year for a communications consulting company.

Shortly after graduating from Case, he moved to Israel and was drafted into the Israeli Defense Forces Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

“Over the past 18 years, I have been very involved in national security/counter-terrorism issues, in negotiating with the Palestinians and teaching international and counter-terrorism law,” elaborated Guiora via email from Israel.

He also held senior positions as Commander of the Israeli Defense Forces School of Military Law, Judge Advocate for the Navy and Home Front Command and Lead Advisor to the Gaza Strip.

During a NATO conference in Prague, Guiora came to the international media’s attention with his demonstration of interactive software that he developed that teaches IDF commanders and soldiers an 11-point code of conduct in their relationship with Palestinian citizens during conflicts. He also has shown the software to the U.S. military and government officials in Washington, D.C.

“It is the only such software in the world and has had incredible responses from the target audience of the IDF commanders and soldiers and from the international community,” he said. The software that was developed at the IDF School of Military Law commanded by Guiora until recently has been translated into English and made available internationally.

Spring 2005 Semester Schedule

April 1: Toepfer Room: Sharona Hoffman, Associate Professor of Law, “Race and the Law.”

April 8: Toepfer Room: Robert Clarke Brown, Member of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and Capital Markets Advisor at the U.S. Department of Transportation: “The Politics of Airports.”

April 15: TBA

April 22: Toepfer Room: Robert Walters Ph.D., “Responding to Humanitarian Emergencies – What a Geologist Learned at the State Department.”

Parking: People who due to mobility concerns need to make special arrangements for parking for the Public Affairs Discussion Group Friday Lunch Series can send their request for parking to, or you can call 216-368-4440 and speak to Pat or Fay to make arrangements.

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