ACRI, Israel’s Leading Civil/Human Rights Organization Creates Unique Global Partnership
~Flagship Organization Marks its 50th Year with Expanding Ties to Legal and Human Rights Experts~
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) announced today the formation of an International Advisory Council (IAC) to partner with ACRI, Israel’s leading civil rights organization, during this unprecedented time in the nation. The IAC will help build support for ACRI in the United States and beyond while providing strategic guidance to ACRI’s leadership on key civil rights and civil liberties challenges facing Israel.
“The creation of the IAC is a new model for ACRI, creating partners who care about Israel to join us in advocating for more democracy here,” said Noa Sattath, ACRI’s executive director. “We have recruited prominent legal practitioners - lawyers and legal scholars - and human rights experts who place democracy at the core of their support for Israel to join us in our efforts. We believe that now, more than ever, people who care about democracy, human rights, and Israel should engage more-not less-with Israel, based on their values. There are multiple ways in which our struggles for equality are inter-connected. We are in fact seeing an awakening among people in the US who care about our agenda and want to get more involved with Israel.”
“As an American Israeli who cares deeply about civil rights in both Israel and the United States, I couldn’t be more thrilled to chair this effort,” said Udi Ofer, the John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor and Lecturer of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the former deputy national political director of the ACLU. “Israel is at a crossroads, choosing between the path of a liberal democracy or an illiberal one. As a former law school intern at ACRI, I saw first-hand how critical ACRI’s work is to Israel’s future. Traditional issues of democracy and human rights that have long concerned ACRI are now coupled with new issues related to an independent judiciary, policing, surveillance, and attacks on civil society. We can provide guidance to Israel on these issues, while learning from the experience of Israeli advocates fighting for human rights.”
“For more than a decade, the anti-democratic forces in Israel have benefited from sharing knowledge, policy ideas, tactics, and strategy with anti-democratic actors in the US—there is even an NGO modeled on the US Federalist Society in Israel today, the organization that has played a leading role in promoting the nomination and securing of right-wing judges on the US Supreme Court. We believe that the IAC model is an important addition to building a progressive infrastructure that will engage like-minded experts from Israel and the US to challenge the anti-democracy efforts,” Sattath emphasized. ACRI is the leading civil and human rights organization in Israel. Established 51 years ago, its role in promoting and defending democracy in Israel couldn’t be more critical as Israel faces the most racist, anti-democratic government in its history. It has offices in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Nazareth.
ACRI argues dozens of precedent-setting cases before Israel’s Supreme Court, and also seeks redress before district and labor courts, government ministries, and Knesset committees. Since its establishment, ACRI has achieved major advancements in a wide range of areas such as freedom of expression, the right to privacy, freedom of and from religion, women’s rights, criminal justice, equality for Arab citizens, LGBTQ rights, migrant workers’ rights, and human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The ACRI IAC is a growing list, but the participants include (titles for identification purposes solely):
Udi Ofer, Chair
David Astrove, principal; Friedlander, Mister, Washington, DC
Deborah Astrove, managing member; Friedlander, Mister, Washington, DC
Erwin Chemerinsky, dean; Berkeley School of Law, Berkeley, CA
Elizabeth Cooper, professor; Fordham University Law School, New York, NY
Jolene Foreman, director; The Just Trust, New York, NY
Robert Goldman, professor; Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C.
Michael Hirschhorn, Human and Civil Rights Non-Profit Leader, Brooklyn, NY
Aliza Kaplan, professor; Lewis and Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, senior rabbi; Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, New York, NY
Debra Katz, Katz, partner; Banks, Kumin, Washington, DC
Isabelle Kirschner, partner; Klayman, Rosenberg, Kirschner, New York, NY
Noemi Masliah, principal; The Masliah Firm, New York, NY
Lynn Paltrow, director; National Advocates for Pregnant Women, New York, NY
Debra Raskin, partner; Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, P.C., New York, NY
Hank Rouda, attorney, Hartsdale, NY
Geri Rozanski, director; Affiliate Support and Nationwide Initiatives, ACLU, New York, NY
Kathleen Rubenstein, director; Skadden Foundation, New York, NY
Ellen Shapiro, attorney, New York, NY
Ron Taback, special counsel; Skadden, Arps, Meagher, & Flom, New York, NY
Yuval Tal, partner; Proskauer, Rose LLP, New York, NY
Randi Weingarten, president; American Federation of Teachers, New York, NY
Michael Young, Arbitrator and Mediator/Principal at JAMS, New York, NY
Ken Zimmerman, CEO; Fountain House, New York, NY