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hagai el-ad

  • WATCH: Incitement against the Israeli Left just got a lot scarier

    Four Israelis who work for leading human rights organizations woke up to a new, frightening reality after a video accused each one of them of being a foreign agent working to defend Palestinian terrorists. A new video entitled "Foreign Agents - Revealed!" was released on Tuesday by Im Tirtzu, a neo-Mccarthyite, extreme right-wing group notorious for its public attacks against left-wing academics and organizations. In 2013 an Israeli court ruled that the group bears similarities to a fascist movement. Its leadership enjoys ties with Likud and Yisrael Beitenu politicians. [tmwinpost] The video plasters the faces of the heads of four Israeli human…

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  • Judge: Equality in the West Bank, just not for Palestinians

    A Jerusalem judge acquits an Israeli man who broke through an West Bank checkpoint into Palestinian-controlled territory, ruling that it’s unacceptable for an Israeli citizen to be discriminated against by virtue of his religion. (Arab — but not Jewish — citizens of Israel are allowed to enter 'Area A'.) But the ruling means nothing for the vast majority of West Bank residents who face discrimination on a day-to-day basis. By Hagai El-Ad In a refreshingly bold statement, an Israeli court recently seems to have firmly upheld the core values of justice and equality: the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ruled a few…

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  • In Gaza, justice delayed is justice denied

    Israeli army investigators have not even contacted the teenage victim of one of the few alleged war crimes it says it is probing. More than two months after Israel's assault on Gaza began, victims of the air, land, and sea invasion continue to have no recourse against their occupiers. It's been nearly two months since 17-year-old Ahmad Abu Raida says he was used as a human shield by Israeli forces near the Gaza border town of Khan Younis. Since then, human rights organizations and various media outlets have reported on the case (+972 was among the first), but Abu Raida has yet to face his alleged…

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  • Leading Israeli human rights group stops cooperating with IDF in Gaza probes

    In a move that could strengthen the case for international investigation of alleged Israeli war crimes, B'Tselem says it will no longer share its current Gaza case files with the country's Military Advocate General. Human rights watchdog declares that Israel is unable and unwilling to investigate alleged war crimes committed by its own soldiers. Citing "severe structural flaws" in the Israeli military's internal investigation mechanisms and a history of dismissing criminal allegations against military personnel, leading Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem announced on Sunday that it would not comply with a military request to share details of its independent investigations into alleged Israeli abuses…

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  • 'Occupation will never be consistent with human rights'

    +972 speaks with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel’s executive director Hagai El-Ad, discussing bittersweet legal victories, the downward trajectory of civil rights in Israel and how ACRI is facing its greatest challenge, winning over the Israeli public.  Hagai El-Ad’s change in career paths came from a self-realization that his destiny was not in some distant galaxy, but very much grounded on Earth, specifically, in Israel’s civil rights arena. The executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), El-Ad, 43, earned a master’s degree in astrophysics before moving to the nonprofit sector. In 2000, he became…

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  • If gov't had its way, Israel would rightfully be on UN list of human rights abusers

    By Hagai El-Ad There is no factual basis for listing Israel alongside countries like Zimbabwe or Venezuela, but that is not thanks to the government's efforts – which have fully pushed legislation against human rights NGOs; if the government actually had its way, then the recent condemnation of Israel by UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay would have been quite accurate. The Foreign Ministry was quick to characterize as "absurd" the recent statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who grouped Israel together with the likes of Belarus, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and other countries in the dubious club of…

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  • Michael Oren returned from Tel Aviv, but saw nothing

    By Hagai El-Ad Israel's ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, tries hard to separate the Israeli social justice protests from the Arab Spring. He ends up sounding both out of date and out of touch. Israelis and Palestinians are again gradually engulfed in escalating violence. While hoping that the situation will not further escalate, Israel's social justice protests are faced with the challenge of not evaporating in the face of security challenges. Business is not as usual – and no one is pretending that it is. And yet, nor were the social justice protests an expression of "business as usual". So,…

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  • Can South Africa provide the inspiration that Israel needs?

    In the struggle to achieve justice and equality in a land that has yet to fulfill its promise, what role will be played by those from the iconic country of South Africa, which has transformed itself so remarkably towards justice and equality? By Hagai El-Ad I was recently in South Africa for a few days, and I didn't once bump into Judge Richard Goldstone. As an Israeli, that may be surprising, because in Israel the only recognizable face of South African Jewry is in fact Judge Goldstone – and the way his rough handling by the Jewish community in that…

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  • Two pseudo-states is not a solution for flailing Israeli democracy

    By Hagai El-Ad The two-state solution? Instead of an end to the occupation, September might bring us not just more of the same, but worse: an occupied pseudo-State of Palestine, alongside a deteriorating pseudo-democracy in Israel The expected UN General Assembly decision on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state was perhaps supposed to usher in a new spirit of optimism among advocates of human rights and democracy. Self-determination for Palestinians and an end to the Occupation ought not only to have heralded a dramatic improvement in the human rights situation in the territories; it could also shift resources previously…

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  • The new Nakba Law: Privatizing freedom of speech

    By Hagai El-Ad | Originally published in Hebrew on NRG The creeping depreciation in the value of freedom of expression in Israel is part of a broader  erosion process of democratic principles, but even lengthy processes have their breaking moments. Amendment 39 to the Budget Foundations Law "reduction of budget or support as a result of activities against the principles of the state" expresses exactly such a fracture point. Yesterday (March 22, 2011) the Knesset voted into law Amendment 39, previously known as the Nakba bill. During the legislative process, the bill's scope was expanded: not just the "commemoration of…

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