A Human Rights Perspective During a Difficult Period

tag-meir-July2014-by-ACRI

 

Dear Friends,

 

We are confronted by one of the most difficult periods that Israeli society has experienced in many years.

 

ACRI is working during this time to minimize the harm to human rights and expand the struggle against the racism and incitement that has raged in recent days. The abduction and murder of Gilad, Naftali and Eyal touched us all deeply. But no less despairing has been the response to this tragedy – unconcealed calls for revenge, demonstration calling for death to Arabs and the Israeli left, and of course the shocking retaliatory murder of the 16 year old Palestinian – Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

 

ACRI has a strong presence on the ground in Jerusalem where we are monitoring instances of incitement and violence and providing information to the relevant authorities and the media. In addition we have been mobilizing our supporters to demonstrations in public squares that call for an end to racism and the cycle of violence. We are closely following the protests taking place around the country where we are ensuring that the right to protest is not infringed upon.

 

We are extremely concerned by the missile attacks targeting Israeli cities and the military campaign taking place in the Gaza Strip. We are hopeful that the cycle of violence will soon come to an end and that civilians will no longer be placed in the crosshairs.

 

It is clear that the current tension does not exist in a vacuum. Alongside the complex security situation, Israeli society has undergone a significant shift in recent years where it has become increasingly radical, nationalistic and antagonistic to ‘the other’. Individuals are not viewed as people entitled to equal rights, but on the basis of their ethnicity, gender or class. This trend is equally as dangerous for the future of Israeli society as the external security threat.

 

We believe that change is possible, but we are aware that it will not take place overnight. Real change requires transformation at the most basic levels of society – from the political echelon through to the government bureaucracy, the courts, the media and the education system – all in order to reinforce the basic notions of equality, human rights and democracy. Despite the erosion of these values, Israel has a strong democratic foundation that is committed to human rights. It is these central values that need to be strengthened.

 

Difficult days lie before us. We know that change occurs slowly and yet we are committed to seeing an Israel devoid of racism and violence.  Please share this message with your friends and family, and we invite you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive regular updates.

 

With warm regards,

Sharon Abraham-Weiss

Executive Director

Association for Civil Rights in Israel

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Categories: Democracy and Civil Liberties, Gaza Strip, Human Rights Defenders, Use of Force

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