In this episode of Occupied Thoughts, FMEP’s Lara Friedman speaks with Michael Sfard, Israel’s preeminent human rights lawyer. Michael offers his insights into the recent designations by Israel of 6 prominent Palestinian NGOs as terror organizations, including:
- the Israeli government efforts that led to it,
- why there is such deep skepticism about Israel’s claims about evidence incriminating the groups,
- the way that the “terrorist” label has been rendered almost meaningless by Israel, which applies it to virtually all forms of Palestinian political activity and organizing,
- the implications of the designations for Palestinian civil society, Israeli civil, and human right defenders worldwide,
- and prospects for challenging or overturning the designations.
Michael Sfard is Israel’s leading human rights lawyer. A former conscientious objector, he received the Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Awardand an Open Society Fellowship. His writing on human rights has appeared in The New York Times, Haaretz, The Independent, and Foreign Policy. In 2018, Sfard published his acclaimed book, The Wall and the Gate: Israel, Palestine, and the Legal Battle for Human Rights. He lives in Tel Aviv. @sfardm
Lara Friedman is the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP). With more than 25 years working in the Middle East foreign policy arena, Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular expertise on the Israeli-Arab conflict, Israeli settlements, Jerusalem, and the role of the U.S. Congress. She is published widely in the U.S. and international press and is regularly consulted by members of Congress and their staffs, by Washington-based diplomats, by policy-makers in capitals around the world, and by journalists in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to her work at FMEP, Lara is a Contributing Writer at Jewish Currents and a non-resident fellow at the U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP). Prior to joining FMEP, Lara was the Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now, and before that she was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. She holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service; in addition to English, Lara speaks French, Arabic, Spanish, (weak) Italian, and muddles through in Hebrew. She tweets @LaraFriedmanDC.