Israeli human rights lawyer Lea Tsemel is the subject of “Advocate” a film about her determined efforts to defend Palestinians caught up in the nightmare of Israel’s justice system. On May 24th, OFIP interviewed Ms. Tsemel about her work. By coincidence the webinar took place just as Israel was starting mass arrests of Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank and inside Israel itself. She described the unfairness of the Israeli system. “Torture is rampant”, she told OFIP viewers. Read more and watch the interview...
Lea Tsemel defends Palestinians: from feminists to fundamentalists, from non-violent demonstrators to armed militants.
As a Jewish-Israeli lawyer who has represented political prisoners for five decades, Tsemel, in her tireless quest for justice, pushes the praxis of a human rights defender to its limits. As far as most Israelis are concerned, she defends the indefensible. As far as Palestinians are concerned, she’s more than an attorney, she’s an advocate.
OFIP arranged a special screening of “Advocate’ a film about Lea Tsemel that was featured in 2020 at the HotDocs festival. We followed up with a private webinar with Lea for those who had watched the film.
When we arranged the session with Lea we did not know, of course, that the tensions between Israel and the Palestinians would soon quickly to extreme violence.
Nor did we anticipate that after the truce, Israel would launch a wave of arrests targeting hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel who rallied in support of Sheikh Jarrah, Al-Aqsa and Gaza. Some Palestinians have described it as a “declaration of war” by Israel against Palestinians.
“More than 1,550 people have been arrested over the past two weeks, the Israeli police said on Monday, on suspicion of involvement in the recent outbreak of mob violence between Arabs and Jews that convulsed cities across Israel”, according to the New York Times, the vast majority of them Palestinians.
In our one hour webinar, she was joined by Palestinian Canadian Nahla Abdo, a professor at Carleton University. Professor Abdo and Lea Tsemel were good friends many years ago. They both shared similar political positions on the Israeli state and occupation.
The interview was carried out by Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP) and Arthur Milner a Jewish Canadian playwright and a member of OFIP’s council of advisors.
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Dont miss OFIP’s next video on June 3rd – an interview with British Journalist and blogger Jonathan Cook. Cook, an Israeli citizen, will discuss Israel’s peculiar citizenship laws and what they mean for its non-Jewish citizens. To register, click here:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar
Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.
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