Headshot of George Bisharat

George Bisharat

The Honorable Raymond L. Sullivan Professor of Law


George E. Bisharat was a trial lawyer for the Office of the Public Defender in San Francisco before joining the UC Law SF faculty in 1991. Professor Bisharat studied law, anthropology, and Middle East studies at Harvard, and wrote a book about Palestinian lawyers working under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank. He writes frequently on law and politics in the Middle East, both for academic audiences and for major media sources in the U.S. and abroad. Professor Bisharat is an avid fly fisher, sometimes in such exotic locations as Russia and New Zealand, and also writes articles for fly fishing magazines. He is a singer, songwriter, and blues harmonica player specializing in the chromatic harmonica, and as “Big Harp George” has recorded two albums that earned award nominations and critical acclaim . His wife, Jaleh Bisharat, is a business marketing executive working in high tech.

Selected Scholarship


Palestinian Lawyers and Israeli Rule: Law and Disorder in the West Bank (Univ. of Texas Press 1989).

Journal Articles

Apersistência das desigualdades raciais no sistema de justiça criminal dos EUA, 21 Juris Poiesis 256 (2018) (in Portugese). FULLTEXT

Mobilizing International Law in the Palestinian Struggle for Justice, 18 Global Jurist (2018) (with Jeff Handmaker, Ghada Karmi & Alaa Tartir). FULLTEXT

Law Against the People/The Empire Strikes Back, 42 Revista Antropolítica 296 (2017). FULLTEXT URL

Re-centering Justice as the End Goal of Our Struggle, 20 Palestine Y.B. Int’l L. (2017).

Stumbling Forward in Syria, 37 Hastings Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 159 (2014). FULLTEXT

The Plea Bargain Machine, 7 Dilemas 767 (2014). FULLTEXT URL

Anthropology & Law as Two Sibling Rivals, 34 Antropolítica 121 (2013). SSRN

Re-Democratizing Palestinian Politics, 17 UCLA J. Int’l L. & Foreign Aff. 1 (2013). FULLTEXT

Violence’s Law: Israel’s Campaign to Transform International Legal Norms, 43 J. Palestine Stud. 68 (2013). FULLTEXT

Introduction to “Litigating Palestine: Can Courts Secure Palestinian Rights?”, 35 Hastings Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 91 (2012). FULLTEXT

Freedom Thwarted: Israel’s Illegal Attack on the Gaza Flotilla, 4 Berkeley J. Middle E. & Islamic L. 79 (2011) (with Carey James, & Rose Mishaan). FULLTEXT

Boycotting Israeli Apartheid: Practical and Ethical Questions, 10 Illawarra Unity 23 (2010). FULLTEXT URL

Israel’s Invasion of Gaza in International Law, 38 Denv. J. Intl’l L. & Pol’y 41 (2009) (with Timothy Crawley, Sara Elturk, Carey James, Rose Mishaan, Akila Radhakrishnan, & Anna Sanders). FULLTEXT

Mobilizing Palestinians in Support of One State, 2 Contemp. Arab Aff. 552 (2009).

Maximizing Rights: The One State Solution to the Palestinian–Israeli Conflict, 8 Global Jurist Frontiers Art. 1 (2008). FULLTEXT

Facts, Rights, and Remedies: Implementing International Law in the Israel/Palestine Conflict, 28 Hastings Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 319 (2005). FULLTEXT

Facing Tyranny with Justice: Alternatives to War in the Confrontation with Iraq, 7 J. Gender Race & Just. 1 (2003). FULLTEXT

Sanctions as Genocide, 11 Transnat’l L. & Contemp. Probs. 379 (Fall 2001). FULLTEXT

Peace and the Political Imperative of Legal Reform in Palestine, 31 Case W. Res. J. Int’l L. 253 (1999). FULLTEXT

Courting Justice? Legitimation in Lawyering Under Israeli Occupation, 20 Law & Soc. Inquiry 349 (1995). FULLTEXT

Land, Law, and Legitimacy in Israel and the Occupied Territories, 43 Am. U. L. Rev. 467 (1994). FULLTEXT

Chapters In Books

Justice for All: Toward an Integrated Strategy for Liberation in Israel–Palestine Palestine Yearbook of International Law 28 (Ardi Imseis ed., Brill 2014). CATALOG

Maximizing Rights: The One-State Solution to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, in International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Rights-Based Approach to Middle East Peace 29 (Susan Akram et al. eds., Routledge 2011). CATALOG

The Gaza Occupation and Siege Are Illegal, in Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How It Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict 102 (Moustafa Bayoumi ed., Haymarket Books 2010). AMAZON

Gaza Strip, in 2 Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizens’ Rights and Responsibilities 146 (C. Neal Tate ed., 2005). AMAZON

Palestine, in 3 Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizens’ Rights and Responsibilities 237 (C. Neal Tate ed., 2005). AMAZON

West Bank, in 4 Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizens’ Rights and Responsibilities 290 (C. Neal Tate ed., 2005). AMAZON

Sanctions Against Iraq Are Genocide, in Defining the Horrific: Readings on Genocide and Holocaust in the Twentieth Century 338 (William L. Hewitt ed., Prentice Hall 2003). AMAZON

Peace and the Political Imperative of Legal Reform in Palestine, in Palestine and International Law: Essays on Politics and Economics 214 (Sanford R. Silverburg ed., McFarland & Co. 2002). CATALOG

Attorneys for the People, Attorneys for the Land: The Emergence of Cause Lawyering in the Israeli–Occupied Territories, in Cause Lawyering: Political Commitments and Professional Responsibilities 453 (Austin Sarat & Stuart Scheingold eds., Oxford Univ. Press 1998). CATALOG

Exile to Compatriot: Transformations in the Social Identity of Palestinian Refugees in the West Bank, in Culture Power, Place: Explorations in Critical Anthropology 203 (Akhil Gupta & James Ferguson eds., Duke Univ. Press 1997). AMAZON

Pursuing a Questionable Suppression Motion, in Ethical Problems Facing the Criminal Defense Lawyer 63 (Rodney J. Uphoff ed., Amer. Bar Ass’n 1995). CATALOG

Displacement and Social Identity: Palestinian Refugees in the West Bank, in Population Displacement and Resettlement: Development and Conflict in the Middle East 165 (Seteney Khalid Shami ed., Ctr. for Migration Stud. 1994).

Book Reviews

Book Review, 20 Shofar 130 (Summer 2002) (reviewing Geoffrey R. Watson, The Oslo Accords: International Law and the Iraeli–Palestinian Peace Agreements (2000)).

Book Review, 99 Am. Anthropologist 664 (1997) (reviewing E. Valentine Daniel & John Chr. Knudsen Eds., Mistrusting Refugees (1995)).

Palestinian Sovereignty or Internationalization?, 12 J. Palestine Stud. 71 (Summer 1983) (reviewing Henry Cattan, Jerusalem (1981)).

Newspaper & Magazine Articles

How Can Targeted Killings Be Justified? Lawful Versus Wise PolicyN.Y. Times, Nov. 14, 2012. URL

Israel Stacks the Legal DeckL.A. Times, Mar. 7, 2012. URL

Palestine’s State Status Enables SecurityS.F. Chron., Dec. 3, 2012. URL

Israeli Intimidation Brings Shift in Gaza ReportS.F. Chron., Apr. 6, 2011. URL

A True One-State SolutionWash. Post, Sep. 3, 2010.

Gaza Occupation and Siege Are IllegalS.F. Chron., June 4, 2010. URL

Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem Intolerant?S.F. Chron., Sep. 5, 2010. URL

Palestinians Deserve to be RecognisedThe Australian, May 7, 2010. URL

A U.N. Report Finds War Crimes in the Fighting: Now Israel Must Be Held AccountableL.A. Times, Sept. 18, 2009.

Changing the Rules of WarS.F. Chron., Apr. 1, 2009. URL

Has Israel’s Response Exceeded its Right to Defend Itself?S.F. Chron, Jan. 5, 2009. URL

Hold Israel Accountable for GazaSeattle Times, Feb. 5, 2009. URL

Israel is Committing War CrimesWall Street J., Jan. 10, 2009. URL

Israel on TrialN.Y. Times, Apr. 4, 2009.

Obama Should Back Goldstone ReportS.F. Chron., Sep. 30, 2009. URL

Should Israel Deal with Hamas?L.A. Times, Jan. 9, 2009 (with James Phillips). URL

The Gaza Docket Israel IIIInt’l Herald Trib., Apr. 7, 2009, at 8.

What’s Israel Trying to Accomplish in Gaza?L.A. Times, Jan. 8, 2009 (with James Phillips). URL

Will Hamas Emerge Stronger?L.A. Times, Jan. 7, 2009 (with James Phillips). URL

A Two–State or One–State Solution?L.A. Times, May 14, 2008 (with Judea Pearl). URL

Israel Starting from ScratchL.A. Times, May 12, 2008 (with Judea Pearl). URL

Jimmy Carter, Hamas. Hamas, Jimmy CarterL.A. Times, May 13, 2008 (with Judea Pearl). URL

Obama’s MisstepsS.F. Chron., June 17, 2008. CATALOG URL

Roots in the Holy LandL.A. Times, May 16, 2008 (with Judea Pearl). URL

Should the U.S. Help Broker Peace?L.A. Times, May 15, 2008 (with Judea Pearl). URL

The ‘National Suicide’ IncantationL.A. Times, June 9, 2008. URL

The Fallacy of Islamic ‘National Suicide’L.A. Times, June 9, 2008. URL

Where’s Healthy Debate on U.S. Policy Toward Israel?Houston Chron., June 12, 2008. CATALOG

A Double Standard on Academic Freedom in the Middle EastBalt. Sun, Sept. 17, 2007, at A13 (with Judea Pearl).

A Question of JusticeS.F. Chron., Jan. 4, 2007. CATALOG URL

For Palestinians, Memory MattersS.F. Chron., May 13, 2007. CATALOG URL

From Personal ExperienceHouston Chron., Jan. 31, 2007 (reprinted as Pro–Israeli Lobby Is Silencing DissentSacramento Bee, Feb. 25, 2007, at E1). CATALOG

Solution on Which All Agree Impossible to AchieveS.F. Chron., June 2, 2007. CATALOG URL

Truth at Last, While Breaking a U.S. Taboo of Criticizing IsraelPhila. Inquirer, Jan. 2, 2007.

What Justifies Boycott of a State?S.F. Chron., Aug. 15, 2007. CATALOG URL

Aid to Israel is Out of HandTopeka Capital–Journal, Jan. 7, 2006.

Did Israel Really Need to Savage the Beauty of Beirut?USA Today, Aug. 2, 2006. URL

Israel Will Harvest a Future of Violence and Conflict with LebanonS.F. Chron., July 20, 2006. CATALOG URL

They Chose a Government That Will Stand Up For Their RightsDallas Morning News, Feb. 3, 2006.

Unilateral Action by Israel Spawns Violence in GazaBalt. Sun, Aug. 17, 2006, at A15.

What Did Bush Signal?S.F. Chron., May 29, 2006. CATALOG URL

Bigotry Hurts in the War on TerrorS.D. Union Trib., July 22, 2005.

In the Wake of Gaza Disengagement: Enforce Ban on SettlementsS.F. Chron., Aug. 26, 2005. CATALOG URL

New Page in Israeli–Palestinian Relations: Whither the Road Map?S.F. Chron., Dec. 8, 2005. CATALOG URL

Prosecuting Other People’s TerroristsS.D. Union Trib., Dec. 12, 2005, at B7.

Should Israel Give Up Its Nukes?L.A. Times, Dec. 9, 2005. URL

A Lifetime Of Challenge Stirred DeterminationSacramento Bee, Nov. 14, 2004, at E6.

Advance U.S. — Not Israel’s — InterestsSeattle Post–Intelligencer, Dec. 8, 2004, at B7. URL

In Arafat’s Aftermath: Peace Remains Elusive Amid Political TurmoilS.F. Chron., Nov. 12, 2004. CATALOG URL

Judgment on the Wall: Ruling Gives Hopes DiscouragedS.F. Chron., July 14, 2004. CATALOG URL

Look for a Future Palestine in the Past: Two Generations Later, Palestinians Have Hope for Their LandS.F. Chron., Dec. 19, 2004. CATALOG URL

Right of Return: Two–State Solution Again Sells Palestinians ShortL.A. Times, Jan. 25, 2004, at M3.

But Don’t Bet On It Establishing DemocracyHouston Chron., Mar. 3, 2003, at 27A. CATALOG

Impending War on Iraq: American JihadS.F. Chron., Feb. 13, 2003. CATALOG URL

Rite of Return to a Palestinian HomeS.F. Chron., May 18, 2003. CATALOG URL

Who Caused the Palestinian Diaspora?Sacramento Bee, Nov. 30, 2003.

Sanctions Against Iraq are GenocideSeattle Post–Intelligencer, May 3, 2002, at B7. URL

Views on the Middle East: Settlements Stand in the Way of Mideast PeaceS.F. Chron., Apr. 26, 2002. CATALOG URL

Dissertations & Theses

Practicing Law Under Occupation: Palestinian Lawyers of the West Bank (1987) (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University) (on file with Tozzer Library, Harvard University).


  • Harvard University
    Ph.D., Anthropology and Middle East Studies

  • Georgetown University
    M.A., History

  • University of California at Berkeley
    B.A., Anthropology


  • Criminal Procedure
  • Islamic Law Seminar
  • Law and Social Antropology Seminar