Recipients of the Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award – 2012

lasky-sfard

Attorney Gaby Lasky – Attorney Michael Sfard – Coalition Tag Meir

 

The Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award is given annually by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) to an individual or organization that has made a unique and outstanding contribution to the advancement of human rights in Israel. The award was established in 1981, but was renamed in 1983 after the murder of peace activist Emil Grunzweig by a grenade thrown during a demonstration against the First Lebanon War.
Below are excepts provided by the selection committee as to why these three deserving candidates were selected to receive the award for 2012.

 

Click here to read about past winners of the Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award.

To view pictures from the award ceremony, click here.

 

Coalition Tag Meir

Since its inception in 2011, the coalition’s central function has been to arrange public events in response to what is known as ‘price tag’ attacks. Following events such as the desecration of a mosque, a monastery or a church, the burning of the homes of job and asylum seekers or the physical assault of Palestinians, coalition activists conduct events at the place where the crime occurred. Attendance at these events can reach up to hundreds of participants. The coalition has also come to the aid of a number of victims of price tag attacks who were in need of financial support. Members of the coalition include several dozen Israeli organizations working for social change, youth movements, schools, Jewish renewal organizations and religious communities from all streams of Judaism from all over the country. It is in the shadow of difficult times for the public sphere in Israel that the committee chose to award this prize to the Tag Meir Coalition.

 

In these days where more and more instances of vandalism, violence and hate crimes motivated by racism and hatred of the other are accumulating, the voices of the committed activists from the Tag Meir Coalition are heard and will continue to be heard so long as these phenomena persist. It is due to their resolve and their ability to connect different groups in Israeli society in the battle against this despicable phenomenon, as a part of the wider struggle to eradicate racism and violence that the committee decided to grant the coalition the Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award for 2012.

 

A Tag Meir event - a meeting of members of the three religions at a monastery in Latrun after it was desecrated and had its door burned. Photo: Yossi Zamir.

A Tag Meir event – a meeting of members of the three religions at a monastery in Latrun after it was desecrated and had its door burned. Photo: Yossi Zamir.

A Tag Meir event - a meeting with a teacher from Qalansawe  who was attacked in her car in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem. Photo: Yossi Zamir.

A Tag Meir event – a meeting with a teacher from Qalansawe who was attacked in her car in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem. Photo: Yossi Zamir.

 

Attorney Gaby Lasky

 

Attorney Gaby Lasky. Photography: Oren Ziv

Attorney Gaby Lasky. Photography: Oren Ziv

Attorney Gaby Lasky has been defending human rights for many years. Lasky is a pillar of strength for activists in Israel and the Occupied Territories, and works tirelessly to defend their rights, often without payment. She represents Israeli activists, foreigners and Palestinian protesters who demonstrate against the occupation, in addition to minors who have been arrested by the Israeli Defense Forces and brought to trial in military courts. The wide scope of the activities she engages in is truly impressive. She has defended activists who were arrested and put on trial for their activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem from movements including Solidarity, Taayush and Anarchists Against the Wall.

 

In addition to her activities defending activists, Attorney Lasky focuses on protecting freedom of expression and the right to protest in Israel and has represented demonstrators who were arrested, such as those detained during the 2012 summer protests. In her public activities and impressive performances Lasky sends a clear message to Israeli society: the struggle to ensure civil and human rights in Israel, and in particular to ensure the rights of the weak and disadvantaged in our midst is not over yet.

 

 

Attorney Michael Sfard

 

Attorney Michael Sfard

Attorney Michael Sfard

Attorney Michael Sfard represents organizations and individuals who work against human rights violations in the Occupied Territories. Sfard is the legal counsel of the human rights organization ‘Yesh Din’ that works to ensure the enforcement of the law with respect to Israelis and Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. Attorney Sfard filed four separate petitions dealing with the separation barrier, of which he won three. The most famous of these petitions was the petition against the route of the fence through Alfei Mensashe, where Attorney Sfard represented the villages on behalf of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, who were imprisoned in an enclave created by the fence. The judgments in these cases brought about changes in the route of the separation barrier. Sfard has worked with much success in defending the property rights of Palestinians in the West Bank, and in legal battles against settlers who take over private Palestinian land. Attorney Sfard’s extensive activities and public prominence are important elements in the struggle to gain recognition amongst the Israeli public of the heavy moral price paid for the ongoing occupation in the West Bank.

 

 

The committee attaches great significance to the granting of the award to two attorneys who engage in defending freedom of expression, protecting against the injustices of the occupation, who represent individuals as well as launching petitions on matters of principle. The human rights activities of Attorneys Lasky and Sfard affects thousands of people and contributes and strengthens the activities of many others, owing to their inspiring persistence and the legal achievements that they have accumulated over the years. The protection that they provide to activists within Israel and the Occupied Territories enables the activities and inclusion of additional people in the fight for the character of Israeli society, in which they are amongst the most important at this time.

 

The award ceremony will be held on Monday June 24, 2013 in Tammuz, Jerusalem.

 

Click here to read about past winners of the Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award.

To view pictures from the award ceremony, click here.

 

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