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Brennan Praises Israel’s Protection Of Civil Liberties

December 22, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Israel may provide the world’s governments their best example of protecting civil liberties during national security crises, Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan said Tuesday.

In remarks prepared for delivery to a Hebrew University Law School audience in Jerusalem, Brennan said the United States ″has a long history of failing to preserve civil liberties when it perceived its national security threatened.″

He attributed past failures of U.S. courts, such as condoning the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, to ″the episodic nature of security crises″ - preventing development of a workable jurisprudence for times of crisis.

Copies of Brennan’s speech text were made available here.

″It may well be Israel, not the United States, that provides the best hope for building a jurisprudence that can protect civil liberties against the demands of national security,″ Brennan said.

″For it is Israel that has been facing real and serious threats to its security for the last 40 years and seems destined to continue facing such threats in the forseeable future,″ he said.

″The nations of the world, faced with sudden threats to their own security, will look to Israel’s experience in handling its continuing security crisis, and may well find in that experience the expertise to reject the security claims that Israel has exposed as baseless and the courage to preserve the civil liberties that Israel has preserved without detriment to its security,″ Brennan said.

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