More than 400 lawyers at some of the world’s biggest law firms have signed a public statement condemning Hamas’s attacks on Israel and supporting the country’s right to self-defence.
The statement, published from New York late on Thursday, said: “We, the undersigned group of attorneys from around the world, publicly condemn and denounce the unspeakable acts of mass terror perpetrated by Hamas, a recognised terrorist organisation, against civilians in Israel.”
The group said they stand for the rule of law and are “shocked and horrified by the ghastly barbarism carried out against innocent civilians”. They also called for moral consistency, taking issue with “people who are indifferent or even hostile when confronted with Jewish suffering”. They affirmed the right for Israel to pursue justice against those who harm it and to defend itself against further aggression.
The statement continued: “We stand for peace. We affirm the right of all people – Jews and non-Jews – to live in peace and security, and we wholeheartedly reject the moral equivalence of bloodthirsty terrorists and Israel’s imperative to defend its population.”
The group called on their colleagues in the legal profession to stand with them and denounce terrorism against Israel and Jews throughout the world.
The statement was signed by lawyers and partners from firms including Sullivan & Cromwell, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, Latham & Watkins, Morrison & Foerster, Paul Hastings, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Kirkland & Ellis, Hogan Lovells, Baker McKenzie and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, among many others.
The signatories include Brad Karp, chair of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, who distributed a firmwide email on the evening of the attacks condemning them. He told Law.com he considered it one of his “principal responsibilities” as the firm’s leader to “speak out against injustice in all of its forms”.
Other prominent signatories include Richard Chesley, DLA Piper’s managing partner of the Americas and co-US managing partner, Andrew Brownstein, co-chair of Wachtell’s corporate group, and Kirkland M&A rainmaker Daniel Wolf, while the UK contingent includes Justin Stock, Cooley’s London managing partner.
Earlier this week, the International Bar Association joined a number of professional bodies and law firms condemning Hamas’s “heinous” attacks on Israel.
Hamas militants attacked Israel on Saturday after breaching border defences, taking at least 150 hostages and killing civilians in what was the bloodiest assault on Israel in half a century. More than 1,200 people were left dead in Israel by the attacks, including children. Israeli retaliatory air strikes in Gaza are estimated to have killed more than 1,400 people, according to the latest reports.
American Bar Association president Mary Smith also condemned the attacks by Hamas, calling on both sides to show restraint to spare the lives of innocent people caught up in the conflict.