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Nimer Sultany


Three Theses on ISIS: The Universal, the Millenarian, and the Philistine

[A view point of the city Kobanê, in Syrian Kurdistan, during the bombradment of ISIL targets by US-led forces, The photo has been taken from Turkish-Syrian border (Suruç). Photo by M. Akhavan / Persian Dutch Network.]

The ruthless brutality of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) unfolds before our eyes on the screens. As commentators struggle to explain and understand it, it becomes convenient to revive old Orientalist tropes. Beyond the spectacular brutality, the reason that ISIS invites attention (both fascination and fear) is that it seems easy to fit in confrontational narratives of Islam (us v. them, anti-American, etc.). Muslims are clearly angry at something. In his ...

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The Joint List: The Fetishism of Representation and the Illusion of Influence

[The Joint List at the consultations process at President Reuven Rivlin's official resident, after the 2015 elections. Image by Mark Nayman

In the recent Israeli elections, the parties representing the Palestinian citizens united in one list: the Joint List. It has attracted more external enthusiasm than internal. Authors like Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury praised the list, endorsed it, and even suggested it as a model for elsewhere in the Arab world. Yet, Arab voters—Netanyahu’s alarmism notwithstanding—did not go to the polls in droves. Lacking any element of fierce inter-party competition, the movement of ...

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New Texts Out Now: Nimer Sultany, Religion and Constitutionalism: Lessons from American and Islamic Constitutionalism

[Image from cover of

Nimer Sultany, “Religion and Constitutionalism: Lessons from American and Islamic Constitutionalism.” Emory International Law Review Volume 28, Issue 1 (2014). Jadaliyya: What made you write this article? Nimer Sultany (NS): The article is part of a larger project that originates in my dissatisfaction with both the English-speaking scholarship on shari’a and constitutionalism in Muslim-majority states, as well as the post-Arab Spring debates on constitution-making, ...

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Repetition and Death in the Colony: On the Israeli Attacks on Gaza

[Image by Ahmed and Mohammed Abu Nasser, aka Arab & Tarzan)

At the moment of writing these lines, the BBC reports one hundred deaths thus far in Gaza in the recent Israeli onslaught. As we have seen these scenes before, the invocation of repetition comes naturally. “Once again” is a commonly used word when it comes to death and suffering under occupation in Palestine and specifically Gaza.1 It can be a rhetorically deployed knee-​jerk reaction (as in: once again Israel is killing Palestinians; or: once again ...

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Boycott: Where To?

[Image from unknown archive.]

The Haifa-based Mada al-Carmel – Arab Center for Applied Social Research released its latest issue of the electronic quarterly Jadal entitled: Boycotting Israel: Between Theory and Practice. This issue provides a preliminary assessment and critical reflection on the question of boycotting Israel. So far, discussions on this subject have ranged between either an outright dismissal and knee-jerk rejection by pro-Israel groups, or an enthusiastic endorsement by pro-Palestine ...

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Roundtable on Occupation Law: Part of the Conflict or the Solution? (Part V: Nimer Sultany)

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[This is the fifth part of a six-part series associated with a Jadaliyya roundtable discussing the relevance of occupation law to the Palestinian-Israel conflict at this historical juncture. Participants include Darryl Li, Lisa Hajjar, Nimer Sultany, Asli Bali, Ahmed Barclay, a

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Nimer Sultany


Nimer Sultany is Lecturer in Public Law, School of Law, SOAS, University of London. Previously, he was Postdoctoral Fellow at SUNY Buffalo Law School (2012-2013). He holds an SJD from Harvard Law School; an LLM from University of Virginia; an LLM from Tel Aviv University; and an LLB from the College of Management. He practiced human rights law in Israel/Palestine, and was the director of the Political Monitoring Project at Mada al-Carmel - The Arab Research Center for Applied Social Research. His publications include: “The State of Progressive Constitutional Theory: The Paradox of Constitutional Democracy and the Project of Political Justification” in the Harvard Civil Rights—Civil Liberties Law Review; “Against Conceptualism: Islamic Law, Democracy, and Constitutionalism in the Aftermath of the Arab Spring” in the Boston University International Law Journal; “Activism and Legitimation in Israel's Jurisprudence of Occupation” in Social & Legal Studies; “Redrawing the Boundaries of Citizenship: Israel’s New Hegemony” in the Journal of Palestine Studies; and Citizens without Citizenship: Israel and the Palestinian Minority (Mada, 2003). His op-eds appeared in Arabic, Hebrew, and English in numerous media outlets, including: The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald, The Guardian, Buffalo News, Haaretz, and Al-Quds al-Arabi.