NIF hosts civil rights champion

October 9, 2012 Agencies
Read on for article

The New Israel Fund’s Australia branch is this week hosting Hagai El-Ad, the chief executive of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), on his first visit to Australia.

Hagai El-Ad

El-Ad is delivering a diverse array of addresses at speaking engagements in Sydney this week on behalf of NIF. On Thursday he is traveling to Melbourne for one week.
ACRI, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, is Israel’s oldest and largest civil rights organisation and is the flagship grantee of the NIF.
Robin Margo, NIF Australia president, said: “The Association of Civil Rights in Israel is the New Israel Fund’s largest grantee and its work goes to the heart of NIF’s purpose. We are therefore delighted to have Hagai El-Ad come to Australia to tell us first hand about ACRI’s work safeguarding fundamental democratic principles and human rights in Israel.”
ACRI’s legal accomplishments have shaped core policies in key areas over the years, including:
• successfully demanding recognition of Reform conversions to Judaism performed in Israel in registering citizens as Jewish in the Population Registry.
• successfully petitioning the Supreme Court for the equal provision of rent support for Arab and Jewish families.
• successfully petitioning the Supreme Court for the right of women to participate in Air Force pilot aptitude tests.
• winning a judgment against El Al prohibiting the airline from refusing to consider a female pilot as a candidate for a position.
ACRI is currently petitioning the Supreme Court to prevent the government from building seven new towns in the Negev, which would destroy five existing Bedouin villages that are home to 8,000 people.
Last year ACRI won the prestigious Gruber International Justice Prize, only the second Israeli organisation or individual to do so (Justice Aharon Barak was first in 2006).
Born in Haifa, El-Ad studied astrophysics, earning a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s of Science at the Hebrew University. Between 1997 and 2000 he was a pre-doctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astro-Physics in Cambridge, MA. He did not continue his doctoral studies, deciding instead to return to Jerusalem to take up the fight for human and civil rights.
Over the last decade, El-Ad has become an influential advocate whose views on Arab-Jewish relations, human and civil rights, LGBT rights and equality in Israel have been widely published in Israel and abroad.
A trailblazer since he was a student at the Hebrew University, El-Ad was the first executive director of the Jerusalem Open House, the community and advocacy centre for the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. In June 2002, he launched what has now become Jerusalem’s Annual Pride and Tolerance March. In June 2010, he was one of 17 protesters wrongly arrested in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem while opposing the eviction of Palestinians from their homes and their replacement with Jewish families.
El-Ad said Israel’s democratic reputation is maintained by foundations such as NIF and the organisations it supports. “Anyone who defames NIF may think they are damaging it; but in fact, they are causing tremendous damage to our democracy – and to its image throughout the world,” he said.

Hagai El Ad is in conversation with Shirli Kirchner at the NCJW in Woollahra on Wednesday night at 7.30pm, 111 Queen Street. See for further details of speaking engagements.

He will speak on Sunday night in Melbourne at 7.30pm at Glen Eira town hall theatrette at 416 Glen Eira Road, Caulfield. See for further details of speaking engagements.


12 Responses to “NIF hosts civil rights champion”
  1. michael says:

    For the Life of me I can’ t work out if the NIF have such a big budget & support here in Australia ,why they cant use all this to saturate our country with Israeli advocates types rather than only those that come here to criticize or find fault with Israel.

  2. Danny says:

    Palestinian rights, Bedouin rights, women’s rights, gay and lesbian rights, civil rights, human rights. Hagai seems to be championing a lot of rights, though the right of his own people to self determination seems to have fallen off the list.

    • Shirlee says:

      Well said Danny

    • pam says:

      It seems to have escaped Hagai El-Ad’s notice that Palestinians don’t believe in women’s or gay and lesbian rights, nor for that matter do they believe in Human Rights, especially not for Jews.

      El-Ad is passionate in embracing Jew-hating Palestinians. While bizarre, it is his right to do so in a free society like Israel.

      I just hope he doesn’t expect reciprocity.

  3. pam says:

    I’m puzzled why Israeli Jews like Hagai El-Ad are so keen to promote those who wish to kill them and all the other Jews (not just Israelis).

    If El-Ad is so keen to be killed by terrorists, that’s his concern. But what is totally objectionable is that he slanders the one country in the Middle East where everyone has civil rights, whether they be Jews, Christians or Muslims. Why does he not point out that in no Muslim country do women or non-Muslims have human rights?

    I’m the first to admit that Israel, like Australia, is not perfect. No country is – unless you believe in utopian Marxist paradises like Cuba or Venezuela. But democracies are much more pleasant places to live in than totalitarian Islamic hellholes.

    Maybe El-Ad should try living in Syraa, Libya or Saudi Arabia, and see how they uphold civil rights.

  4. david says:

    ACRI head Hagai El-Ad would do the cause of peace far better were he to highlight the abuses of criminal justice suffered by the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank and the failure to hold elections there to give the people the opportunity to express their views on the current racist and Jew hating policies espoused by their leading political parties – the PLO and Hamas.

    NGO Monitor reports:

    ” In 2006-2009, the New Israel Fund (NIF) authorized grants worth $3,274,693 to ACRI (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009).

    ACRI receives funding from the European Union (€231,759 – 2010-2012); the governments of Sweden (via Diakonia), the UK (£73,000 in 2008-09), Norway, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium; Ford Foundation; and Christian Aid.”

    With friends like these heavily investing in interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign state – who needs enemies?

  5. Shirlee says:

    I made a mistake


  6. Harry says:

    “Anyone who defames NIF may think they are damaging it; but in fact, they are causing tremendous damage to our democracy – and to its image throughout the world,” he said.”

    So it’s a reflection of democratic principles for an Israeli fundraising group to be supporting an NGO that is committed to the dismemberment of Israel as a Jewish state? As other posters have mentioned, ACRI is committed to upholding the rights of Palestinians – which, in itself, is commendable – but at the expense of the inalienable rights of the Jewish citizens of Israel. ACRI uses inflammatory rhetoric to describe Israeli government policies, demonises Jews who live in the West Bank, and does not support the right of Jews to return to their ancestral homeland and to form a government there.

    Yes, this is democracy at work…

    With democracy like this, who needs dictatorships?

  7. Peter says:

    Why anyone would describe this guy as a civil rights champion is beyond comprehension.

    NIF supports an organisation that goes around the world promoting anti Israel sentiment, that denigrates Israel’s Justice system and that denigrates Israel’s Knesset and that states that Israel is no longer a proper democracy.

    This human rights “champion” blames Israel’s so called occupation for the so called human rights abuses that he alleges, but he does not say that Israel is not the party responsible for the Palestinians not having a State.

    He does not say that had the Palestinians agreed to Israel being able to exist within the 67 boundaries there would be a Palestinian State today.

    Instead this champion of Palestinian rights and denier of Jewish rights demonstrates against the decisions of the Israeli Courts and laws that have been democratically passed by Israel’s parliament.

    And he blames the moral failings of the Palestinian People not on their own failures as that would end his ability to travel around the world, but on Israel, the easy target for his slurs and inuendos.

    Anyone who is taken in by the sentiments promoted by NIF deserves the reaction from the community that they get when they attempt to harm the reputation of Israel, with inflammatory and often false allegations.

    For people really interested in championing civil rights don’t be taken in by a political organisation that hides behind a human rights platform but rather get involved in true apolitical organisations that strive for a better place for Jews and Arabs.


  8. Shirlee says:

    What on earth is his tripe doing on J-Wire?

    Better still come to the hall at Newtown Synagogue, Georgina Street tomorrow Wednesday at 8pm to hear Akiva Hamilton from Shurat HaDin

    Or you can hear him at the COA in Saber St. Woollahra on Thursday at 7.30pm

    If Hagai El-Ad has issues with his country, Israel, then those issues should be dealt with there.

    What on earth does he hope to achieve, other than to bring his country somehow into disrepute, by broadcasting them world wide.

    These people make me sick to the pit of my stomach. It took us thousands of years to return home and now we have our very own enemy within, trying to bring us down.

    Shame on you.

    Have a guess who one of ACRI’s major donors is.

    None other than the famously antisemitic Ford Foundation.

    In 2009 ACRI called Road 443 an “apartheid road.”

    ACRI campaigned in 2009 under the heading “Wake Up Call: Jerusalem is not Unified,” claiming that Israel illegally annexed Jerusalem in 1967.

    ACRI asserts that “defining the State of Israel as a ‘Jewish state’ in a binding article in the constitution is problematic, on the theoretical and practical levels.”

    Do we need this? No we don’t

    Michael you are quite right

    The Jewish left are the best Palestinian advocates they have,

    • Paul Winter says:

      How right you are Shirlee. ACRI also calls Israel an “apartheid” state, it describes Israeli security measures against terrorists as “collective punishment”, it defended the right of Bedouin squatters on private Jewish owned land (but stayed shtum on MIgron) and claims that Israel’s annexation of the Trans-Jordan occupied part of Jerusalem is illegal. ACRI does some civil rights work, but its main claim to fame is its activity in the field of uncivil wrongs. While NIF’s funding of ACRI has stayed the same, its membership has dropped from 5000 to 800.

  9. michael says:

    Oh so Human Rights Champion Hagai El-Ad was arrested along with Palestinian flag waving protestors fighting for Palestinian human rights.. I’ve always said the Jewish left are the best Palestinian advocates they have…


Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.