The Volokh Conspiracy

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Volokh Conspiracy

Grandnephew of 'father of human rights law' killed for being Jewish


Eitam and Naama Henkin, two Israeli civilians, were gunned down in a drive-by shooting on a road in the West Bank yesterday. Four of their children were in the backseat of their car at the time.

The name Henkin will be immediately familiar to those interested in international law, because of Louis Henkin. Prof. Henkin was one of the defining figures in post-World War II international law. In a five-decade career at Columbia University School of Law, he pioneered the modern field of international law and has been called "the father of human rights law."

Eitam's grandfather was Louis Henkin's brother; his parents are prominent Orthodox figures, associated with liberal approaches to Judaism. Eitam himself was a graduate fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum, a Jerusalem think tank I am also associated with. My colleagues there describe Eitam as "an extremely impressive scholar and human being." The Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has apparently admitted organizing the attack. I assume Eitam was a U.S. citizen (his parents both are).