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Home > Palestinian Americans
George Bisharat: Professor and commentator

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Palestinian-American law professor and commentator George Bisharat.
Palestinian-American law professor and commentator George Bisharat.
Moved by the actions of progressive lawyers while he was growing up, accomplished Palestinian-American law professor and prominent Middle East commentator George Bisharat decided to pursue a career in law. "I was going to school at a time when lawyers were very active in the anti-war and civil rights movements," explains Bisharat. "I was inspired to follow in the footsteps of those fighting for social justice."

Born in 1954 in Topeka, Bisharat earned his B.A. from UC Berkeley, an M.A. from Georgetown University, graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, and earned a Ph.D. in anthropology and Middle East studies from Harvard University in 1987. Upon finishing school, Bisharat served as deputy Public Defender for San Francisco until assuming his current position at UC Hastings College of the Law in 1991.

Though he grew up surrounded by his father's extended Palestinian family, it was not until the 1967 war that Bisharat fully understood his Palestinian identity. "After 1967, my parents became outspoken in the community," he says. "Being a member of this family entailed being part of a bigger community. That was when I awakened to the sufferings of the Palestinian people."

Bisharat has spent extensive time in the Middle East, visiting Palestine for the first time in 1977. "It was an amazing experience in many ways," he says. "I visited my grandfather's home in Jerusalem and met the Jewish residents. I went to Akka, north of Haifa, which was a really sobering and rich experience because I got my first exposure to the plight of the Palestinian citizens of Israel."

In 1989, Bisharat's book Palestinian Lawyers and Israeli Rule: Law and Disorder in the West Bank was published by the University of Texas Press. He has also been widely published in the opinion pages of papers such as the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Houston Chronicle, and San Francisco Chronicle. "In my writings, I try to bring a legal analysis to the issues and I'm a strong believer that respect for international law and human rights are the keys to finding a just and durable peace in the region."

Bisharat has also worked with the Palestinian Legislative Council to develop and reform its judiciary system and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Palestine Studies. Currently, he is working on a book on the legal aspects of a one state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Op-Eds by George Bisharat:

A double standard on academic freedom, The Baltimore Sun

Boycott movement targets Israel, San Francisco Chronicle

The mirage of the two-state solution, San Francisco Chronicle

The persistence of memory, San Francisco Chronicle

From personal experience, Houston Chronicle

Truth at last, Philadelphia Inquirer

Unilateral action by Israel spawns violence in Gaza, Baltimore Sun

Did Israel really need to savage the beauty of Beirut?, USA Today

Israel will harvest a future of violence and conflict with Lebanon, San Francisco Chronicle

What did Bush signal?, San Francisco Chronicle

Remembering the future, San Francisco Chronicle

They chose a government that will stand up for their rights, The Dallas Morning News

Aid to Israel is out of hand, Topeka Capital-Journal

Prosecuting other people's terrorists, San Diego Union-Tribune

New page in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Sharon - no negotiator, San Francisco Chronicle

Who caused the Palestinian Diaspora?, Sacramento Bee

In Arafat's aftermath, San Francisco Chronicle

Advance US - not Israel's - interests, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Rite of return to a Palestinian home, San Francisco Chronicle

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