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The Wall and the Gate: Michael Sfard in conversation with Jonathan Freedland
In conversation with award winning journalist Jonathan Freedland, Israel’s leading human rights lawyer, Michael Sfard, will discuss his recently published book ‘The Wall and the Gate’. Through recounting some of the key cases he has been involved in, the book examines the core ethics of legal human rights work in Israel, and the dilemma of bringing cases related to the occupation for judgement in Israel’s High Court – the court of the occupier. Together, they will discuss the moral ambiguities that arise in pursuit of justice, in the complex reality of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Michael Sfard was born in Jerusalem and is a graduate of the law faculty of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and received his MA degree from the University College of London. He has brought many high-profile cases before the supreme court that deal with issues of settlements, land ownership in the West Bank, the route of the separation barrier and the IDF’s rules of engagement. He is Israel’s pre-eminent legal expert on settlements and the challenges posed by the broader infrastructure of Israeli occupation to the daily life of Palestinians. Most recently, he has been involved in litigation in the Israeli Supreme Court on behalf of four Israeli Human Rights NGOs challenging the open fire regulations in force in the Gaza/Israel border and is currently involved in a case challenging the constitutionality of the ‘Legalisation Bill’, which would , if affirmed, confiscate thousands of acres of privately owned Palestinian land and allocate it for settlers.
Jonathan Freedland is a columnist and writer for the Guardian. He also writes a monthly piece for the Jewish Chronicle and is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and presents BBC Radio 4’s contemporary history series, The Long View. In 2014 he was awarded the Orwell special prize for journalism. He has published nine books including seven bestselling thrillers.
This is a joint event co-hosted by Yachad and New Israel Fund.
Acclaim for ‘The Wall and the Gate’:
“Comprehensive, detailed, reflective, troubling, thought-provoking and rooted in universal human principles, The Wall and the Gate is the definitive study of the struggle for Palestinian human rights under occupation — a must read.”
— Naomi Chazan, former member of Knesset and president of the New Israel Fund
“At a time of surging ethnic nationalism, the legal struggle to prevent injustice against Palestinians is especially difficult. Michael Sfard is at the forefront of this struggle and his account is both a compelling story and an important contribution to understanding how battles for human rights are fought in the courts.”
— Aryeh Neier, former executive director of the ACLU
“The Wall and the Gate grapples candidly with the dilemma of working within Israel’s courts to achieve some modicum of justice for the occupation’s victims while knowing that doing so reinforces a system of injustice. It is essential reading.”
— Kenneth Roth, executive director, Human Rights Watch