L’Shanah Tovah, all. B’Tselem now has an American presence!
Israeli Rights Watchdog Sets Up Shop in Washington
Washington — A new and unusual player is joining the Israel advocacy scene in the nation’s capital.
B’Tselem, Israel’s leading human rights watchdog organization, launched its Washington operation September 24, aiming to spread information regarding Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians to the crowd of Capitol Hill policymakers and Middle East think tanks, and to the American Jewish community.
“This is definitely not a common phenomenon,” said Hadar Harris, executive director of the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the American University in Washington. “There is a unique opportunity for education and outreach by maintaining a Washington presence that B’Tselem will try to take advantage of.”
B’Tselem was founded in 1989 and quickly became a primary source of information on human rights issues in the Palestinian territories. It documents events of mistreatment and abuse of Palestinians, whether by the Israeli military, the government or settlers, and publishes periodical reports.
Recently, the group launched its Shooting Back program, in which video cameras were provided to Palestinians in areas prone to settler violence. Later, their footage is used to identify abusers and to file official complaints.
I think this quote is dead-on:
“So far, the reaction in the community is very positive,” said Mitchell Plitnick, the group’s U.S. outreach director. “We offer constructive criticism. We’re trying to make a better Israel.”
Criticism of Israel that doesn’t stem from hatred? Yes! It’s possible! Maybe once you’re finished with your tashlikh, you can toss them a donation. New offices need potted plants and mini-fridges, after all. Also copier paper.