Israeli Courts and the Paradox of International Human Rights Law

Natalie R. Davidson, Tamar Hostovsky Brandes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article offers the first comprehensive mapping of the place of international human rights law (IHRL) in Israeli case law. It explores how Israeli courts use IHRL, based on quantitative and qualitative content analysis of all decisions, in all courts, referring to IHRL between 1990 and 2019. It reveals that Israeli courts mobilize IHRL predominantly with respect to children's rights and due process, seldom invoking IHRL in relation to ethnic and gender equality. It further shows that a significant portion of references to IHRL serve to justify state action. We discuss possible explanations for these patterns of use of IHRL and argue that, overall, these findings illustrate the paradox of IHRL being amenable to uses that are both emancipatory and protective of power.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1261
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of International Law
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law
  • Political Science and International Relations


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