WPS 2014-11: Divorced Israeli Men’s Abuse of Transnational Human Rights Law

Daphna Hacker

This paper discusses an innovative transnational legal strategy, employed by a group of divorced Israeli men, as part of their battle over child custody. These men submit lawsuits to courts in the United States, under laws intended to offer aliens the opportunity to seek damages caused by severe human rights violations, or by the phenomena of global organized crime. In these lawsuits, the litigants seek damages and restitution from Israeli ministers, judges, social workers, as well as from charitable funds that support Israel, for sums of millions of dollars. While the claims are groundless, and are eventually dismissed by the judges, the paper points to the actual and potential harms that can be caused by such abuse of transnational human rights litigation, and suggests legal mechanisms that can be used to minimize these harms. By this, the paper not only strives to contribute to the discussion concerning the abusive strategies employed by some men’s groups, but also to the evolving debate concerning the needed conditions for a responsible transnational law, operating for the benefit of humanity.

WPS 11-14-1