Israeli Arab justice to speak at Cooley's Auburn Hills campus

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

A member of Israel's highest court will speak about the Israeli judicial system and the role of its Supreme Court at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School's Auburn Hills campus on Tuesday, May 3.

Justice Salim Joubran is the first permanent member of the Supreme Court from the Israeli Arab community, and will be visiting New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Detroit from April 25 to May 5.

Tim Attalla, an attorney with the law firm of Miller Canfield, will be Joubran's laison during the visit to the Detroit area.

"My passion for the last 20 years has been to try to bring the Arab and Jewish communities together," said Attalla, who is American-born and of Palestinian descent. "This is another opportunity to do just that."

Attalla said that before he learned about Joubran, he had no idea that an Arab sits on the Israel Supreme Court.

"I think there's a lot of misperceptions on both sides -- not only about the Israeli legal system, but a lot of things," said Attalla.

Attalla expects a good, diverse crowd that includes Arabs, Jews, and Muslims.

"It really shows a lot about the good people in our city when we can bring people together like this," he said.

Joubran will meet with judges, lawyers, legal academics and law students, and other policymakers, as well as representatives of the Jewish and Arab-American communities.

John Nussbaumer, associate dean for the Auburn Hills campus of Cooley Law School, looks forward to Joubran's visit.

"It's a real honor for us to be part of a national tour like this, and to play a small part in helping to further our understanding of the Israeli judicial system, the role of its Supreme Court, and the diversity of its judiciary," said Nussbaumer.

Joubran, a graduate of the Hebrew University law faculty, was a lawyer, magistrate and district court judge before he joined the Supreme Court. He has served as a lecturer at the law faculty of the University of Haifa, and is the founder and board member of several organizations devoted to improving Jewish-Arab relations.

Joubran's family of Christian Arabs has resided in Palestine and Israel for generations.

His trip to the U.S, which is sponsored by the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, will also include appearances at the law schools at New York University and Fordham in New York City, American University in Washington D.C., and the University of Chicago.

Joubran's talk Tuesday begins at 1 p.m. Seating is limited, and reservations are requested by contacting Julie Tiffany at or (248) 751-7873, ext. 7784.

Cooley's Auburn Hills campus is located at 2630 Featherstone Road.

Published: Mon, May 2, 2011