Smadar Ben-Natan

Project Description

Portrait of Smadar Ben-Natan, wearing a black button-up overcoat and blue-green patterened scarf, looking serious and confident, standing in front of a wall covered with colorful painted graffiti

Benaroya Postdoctoral Fellow in Israel Studies

Ph.D. Tel-Aviv University (2020)

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Faculty Profile

Smadar Ben-Natan is a longtime Israeli human rights lawyer who completed her Ph.D. in the Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel-Aviv University. Before arriving at the University of Washington, she was a visiting scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ben-Natan specializes in law & society and international law, with a particular focus on the intersection of criminal justice, national security and human rights. Her doctoral dissertation, titled “Citizen-Enemies,” explores how military courts inside Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories were used to construct and manage multiple fluid and scaled political categories of citizens and enemies. Contributing to the global study of military courts and tribunals, her study conceptualizes the doctrine of emergency powers as a third and hybrid model for security prosecutions, between criminal law and armed conflict.

Ben-Natan holds a Master in International Human Rights Law, with distinction, from the University of Oxford (2011), and an LLB from Tel-Aviv University (1995). She is the co-founder of Gun Free Kitchen Tables, the first Israeli gender-related gun control initiative, and has worked with various NGOs in Israel on prevention of torture, Palestinians’ rights, prisoners’ rights, gender, refugees and asylum seekers. She has litigated high-profile cases in the Israeli Supreme Court, appeared on national media, and published op-eds and blog posts on various platforms.

Selected Publications

  • “Self-Proclaimed Human Rights Heroes: The Professional Project of Israeli Military Judges,” Forthcoming, Law & Social Inquiry (2020)
  • “Revise Your Syllabi: Israeli Supreme Court Upholds Authorization for Torture and Ill-Treatment,” 10 Journal of Humanitarian Legal Studies 41-57 (2019)
  • “Controversy and Consensus, Pornography and Hate Speech: The Legal Challenge to the Playboy Channel,” In: Hertzog and Shadmi, eds., “Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking in Women: Israel’s Blood Money, Routledge” (2019)
  • “Constitutional Mindset: The Interrelations between Constitutional Law and International Law in the Extraterritorial Application of Human Rights,” 50(2) Israel Law Review 139-176 (2017)
  • “The Application of Israeli Law in the Military Courts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” 43 Theory and Criticism, Van-Leer institute 2014 (Hebrew)
  • “Are There Prisoners in This War?” In: Baker and Matar, eds., “Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel,” Pluto Press (2011)

Selected Online Publications