From Stanley Heller, Executive Director of the Middle East Crisis Committee (CT)
This evening Tuesday, October 8, the former head of the Israeli Supreme Court will be giving a lecture at Wesleyan University. Outside the building Wesleyan students and members of the community will hold banners and signs of protest.. The demonstration will be held at the (interior) student entrance to the Memorial Chapel, 221 High Street, Middletown. Protesters will gather at 7:30 p.m. (See link to map below).
Justice Aharon Barak became a member of the Israeli Supreme Court starting in 1978. He was president of the court from 1995 until 2006 . His presence on the campus concerns human rights activists because of Israeli court approval of Israel’s separation wall, widespread Palestinian housing demolition and its acceptance of torture. Barak is to give the Hugo Black lecture devoted to furthering “freedom of expression”.
"Inviting a senior Israeli judge to lecture us on ‘freedom of expression’ will serve to further normalize the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. As president of the Israeli Supreme court, Aharon Barak was complicit in a military occupation that, day after day, violates human rights and international law. Judge Barak did not hold Israel accountable for the injustices being committed, but we will", said JJ Mitchell class of '15, member of Students for Justice in Palestine.
"When my alma mater invites a top judge who legalized Israel's separation wall and sanctioned torture, they make apartheid seem legitimate," said Dan Fischer, a Wesleyan alumnus who graduated in 2012. "Barak's court disregarded international law which says the occupation is illegal and Palestinians are constantly being denied basic freedoms of speech and movement."
"Aharon Barak is more than complicit in the violent domination of the Palestinian people; he served as a leading proponent of guidelines allowing torture and approved the barrier wall that crosses through occupied territory, which was deemed illegal in an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. He is celebrated by some as a champion of human dignity in a supposedly democratic regime, but as a as a leading judge and as a Chief Justice of the Israeli's High Court, he justified, refined, and represented colonialism, occupation, and apartheid. These three prongs of brutal oppression are not only illegal under international law, each is the very antithesis of human rights, democracy and freedom. 'Freedom of expression' for whom?" - J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, Associate Professor of American Studies and Anthropology at Wesleyan, and Advisory Board member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
Stanley Heller, Executive Director of the Middle East Crisis Committee (CT) said, “After media revelations of routine use of torture in Israel, an Israeli commission in 1987 said only ‘moderate physical pressure’ was allowed. In 1999 Barak’s Court outlawed physical or psychological abuse during interrogation of terrorism suspects, but in the same decision allowed the abuse in ‘emergency’ situations. As the Executive Director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Hagai El-Ad said in 2009, ‘necessity became routine’.”
Parking and exact location of protest