Becker, Tal 1972(?)–
Becker, Tal 1972(?)–
Born c. 1972; immigrated to Israel from Australia, 1994; married; wife's name Naomi; children: three. Education: Columbia University, Ph.D. Religion: Jewish.
Diplomat, lawyer, and author. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, former assistant legal adviser, currently director of international law department; Military Advocate General's Corps of the Israeli Defense Forces, former international law advisor; Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations, legal counsel, 2001-05. Vice chair, Legal Committee of the United Nations General Assembly.
Terrorism and the State: Rethinking the Rules of State Responsibility, Hart Publishing (Portland, OR), 2006.
Attorney Tal Becker, an expert on international law, became a diplomat early in his career. After immigrating to Israel from Australia in 1994, he became involved in defending Israel's right to exist and in peace negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors. He was an assistant legal advisor for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and an expert advisor in international law for the Military Advocate General's Corps of the Israeli Defense Forces. During the Middle East peace process negotiations, he was legal advisor to the Israeli delegation. As legal council to the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations, he represented Israel during negotiations on the comprehensive convention against terrorism in the International Criminal Court, for which he consistently pointed out imbalances in treatment and conditions as applied to Israel versus the Arab countries, as well as the need for a new paradigm regarding terrorists who masquerade as civilians.
Becker has been especially vigilant about anti-Israeli resolutions and potentially inflammatory wording of proposals in international law treaties, but he also has spent considerable time "just talking to diplomats, trying to develop relationships with people," as he told Donald H. Harrison of the San Diego Jewish Press-Heritage. His hope is that these people, who often hold powerful positions in government, will be able to go back to their countries with a better understanding of Israel's position on the world stage.
In his book Terrorism and the State: Rethinking the Rules of State Responsibility, Becker makes the case that international law changed spontaneously on September 11, 2001, when Al-Qaeda terrorists based in Afghanistan perpetrated a series of coordinated attacks within the United States. International law dictates that it is unlawful for one country to attack another without direct provocation. Becker argues that U.S. attacks on Afghanistan did not violate the law because, even though the government of Afghanistan did not itself attack the United States, the government's support of Al-Qaeda and failure to do anything to try to stop its actions made Afghanistan subject to retaliation.
In his review of Terrorism and the State in the Political Science Quarterly, Eric A. Posner argued that Becker fails to take into account geopolitical reasons for international support of the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan, and that these reasons, rather than a change in the universal norm allowing invasion of a country harboring foreign terrorists, should be taken into account before establishing precedents in international law. In summary, Posner wrote that "Becker is a learned and careful commentator, and international lawyers will benefit from reading his book." However, because it is highly technical, he recommended it for the professional, rather than the casual reader.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
International Affairs, November, 2006, Aurel Sari, review of Terrorism and the State: Rethinking the Rules of State Responsibility, p. 1170.
New York University Journal of International Law and Politics, fall, 2006, Joshua Rosenthal, review of Terrorism and the State.
Political Science Quarterly, fall, 2006, Eric A. Posner, review of Terrorism and the State.
San Diego Jewish Press-Heritage, December 20, 2002, Donald H. Harrison, "The Travails of an Israeli UN Diplomat."
Hart Publishing Web site,http://www.hartpub.co.uk/ (April 8, 2008), synopsis of Terrorism and the State.
Jewish Sightseeing,http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/ (December 20, 2002), Donald H. Harrison, "The Travails of an Israeli UN Diplomat," author profile.