Jerusalem attorney Calev Myers on Thursday lobbied the European Union to make continued funding for the Palestinian Authority contingent on improvement in the human rights of Palestinians.
Myers traveled to Brussels to personally hand the EU a 35-page report that his organization, the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, compiled on human rights in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
It urged the EU to hold the PA and Hamas accountable for its human rights obligations under international law, which are only marginally influenced by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Myers brought with him four journalists from Israeli publications, including The Jerusalem Post, to ensure that the issue was highlighted in the press.
A US immigrant, Myers described himself as a human rights advocate within Israel and a strong supporter of Zionism outside the country.
Last summer, he said, he found himself in a meeting with Israeli human rights organizations.
“Looking around the table, I realized I was the only one that did not blame every Palestinian problem on Israel,” he said. “That is when the coin dropped in my mind.”
Myers said that after the meeting he asked the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, which he founded, to investigate the human rights record of the PA and Hamas.
He comes to it, he said, not just out of concern for Palestinian human rights, but also as an advocate for Israel who wants to transform the dialogue from one that harms his country to one that works in its favor.
“Until we really start speaking the human rights language we are going to continue to the human relations battle,” Myers said.
“If the Zionist camp leaves the human rights discourse just in the hands of the liberal left, the State of Israel is going to be the big loser at the end of the day,” he added.
On Thursday, he handed the report to Finnish parliamentarian Hannu Takkula of the Centre Party, who promised to help distribute it.
Myers held a seminar on the report in the parliament building along with Tomas Sandell, who directs the Christian group European Coalition for Israel.
The report detailed issues such as Palestinian corruption and internal fighting. It spoke about arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, discrimination against women and religious minorities, and lack of freedom of the press.
It also noted that the EU had in the past condemned Palestinian human rights abuses, but had not held the PA accountable.
The EU’s provision of direct funding for institutions that are responsible for those abuses is even more problematic, the report said.
Tovah Lazaroff’s trip to Brussels was funded by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice.