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A farewell to arms? NGO campaigns for embargoes on military exports: the case of the UK and Israel

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[Abstract]

International human rights NGOs utilize soft power resources to shape discourse on state compliance with the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC), as well as related policy decisions. The NGO impact is generally due to perceived expertise, credibility and commitment to universal principles. This article examines these factors in the NGO campaign in the UK calling for an arms embargo against Israel. NGO reports and activities created the basis for the July 2009 decision by the British government to cancel five military export licences. However, as shown, these reports contain problematic methodologies, inaccurate claims, and controversial interpretations of international law.

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About the Authors

Asher Fredman

Asher Fredman

Professor Gerald M. Steinberg

Professor Gerald M. Steinberg

Professor Gerald Steinberg is founder and president of NGO Monitor and professor of Political Studies at Bar Ilan University. He is the founder of the Program on Conflict Management and Negotiation at Bar Ilan University. His research focuses on the changing nature of power in international relations, as reflected in Middle East Diplomacy and Security, The Politics of Human Rights Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and Israeli Politics and Arms Control.

Anne Herzberg

Anne Herzberg

Anne Herzberg is the Legal Advisor of NGO Monitor. She is a graduate of Oberlin College and Columbia University Law School. Prior to joining NGO Monitor, she worked as an attorney in New York. Her areas of research include business and human rights, international human rights law, the laws of armed conflict, universal jurisdiction, international fact finding, NGOs, and the UN.