Hunger-strikes present a challenge to state authority and abuse from powerless individuals with limited access to various forms of protest and speech—those in detention. For as long as hunger-strikes have occurred throughout history, governments have force-fed strikers out of a stated obligation to preserve life. Some of the earliest known hunger-strikers, British suffragettes, were force-fed and even died as a result of these invasive procedures during the second half of the 19th century.

This Article examines the rationale and necessity behind hunger strikes for imprisoned individuals, the prevailing issues behind force-feeding, the international public response to force-feeding, and the legal normalization of the practice despite public sentiment and condemnation from medical associations. The Article will examine these issues through the lens of two governments that have continued to endorse force-feeding: the United States and Israel. This examination will show that the legal normalization of force-feeding is repressive and runs afoul of international human rights principles and law.