B’Tselem USA was a participating organization in the J St Conference, joining many Israeli and American groups that are dedicated to a different and better reality for Israelis and Palestinians alike. This year we were proud to organize a distinguished panel addressing Israel's human rights record and the way the international community treats Israel when it comes to human rights issues - a question that is many times abused by the political debate, but rarely examined factually.
B’Tselem USA promotes human rights awareness and advocacy among US audiences. We are glad that J Street offers the opportunity to engage with a broad and diverse spectrum of views. We are committed to ensuring that human rights are a central part of this conversation, especially within an atmosphere in the US where many times such voices are silenced.
"Holding Israel to a Universal Standard or to a Higher Standard on Human Rights?"
Zehava Gal'on, Chair of Meretz and member of Knesset,
Founding Executive Director, B'Tselem
Iain Levine, the Deputy Executive Director of Human Rights Watch
Alan Elsner, the Senior Director for Communications and Research at the Israel Project
Uri Zaki, Director of B'Tselem USA
J St Conference, Washington DC
26 March 2012
Israel receives a lot of international attention and criticism for its human rights record. Is this appropriate and fair? Is Israel being held to a higher standard than other countries? Should we as Jews demand more from Israel than we do from other countries? In fact, the international community is not a monolith of this matter. Some international actors are indeed using the language of human rights as a tool to advance an anti-Israel agenda. Others are applying the same universal standards to Israel as they do elsewhere. Still others have a special interest in Israel for understandable reasons, which results in disproportionate attention, both positive and negative. How do we, who care about Israel and care about human rights, navigate this complexity?
Thank you for joining us for this critical discussion of Israel’s human rights record and its treatment by the media, various UN agencies, governments and international organizations.