Monday, March 19, 2012

Human rights group B’Tselem backs away from "sponsorship" of J Street’s Olmert gala

By Ali Abunimah

"Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has backed away from its sponsorship of US Israel lobby group J Street’s 26 March “gala” featuring former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert under whose leadership thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese were killed and injured in what B’Tselem itself has termed war crimes.

Last week, I reported that B’Tselem USA, the organization’s US branch, had sent out an email declaring that it “is proud to be a sponsor of J Street’s third annual conference, Making History, in Washington later this month.” The email, which asked for donations, noted that “The conference will feature former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.”

This was a shocking declaration for a human rights organization given that Olmert has never been held accountable for war crimes, and J Street itself has voiced “unequivocal support” for Israeli human rights abuses.

Today, Jessica Montell, executive director of B’Tselem wrote that the email was a “mistake.” Distancing her organization from J Street’s decision to invite Olmert, Montell added....."

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