(photo credit: Sidelle Peled)
The Israel advocacy group StandWithUs and alumni of its student program are
continuing their efforts in the battle to influence Israel’s image on issues of
international law by hosting their third annual conference of foreign
Thirty-five students took part in this week’s event, the
Student Conference on International Law – Turning Theory into Practice, which
started Monday and ran through Thursday.
The 35 participants hail from 17
countries and speak 12 languages.
All of them have scholastic focuses,
internships or ambitions to work in fields relating to international
Two years ago, the group organized its first conference in response
to the would-be “Gaza Flotilla II,” in which people sailed their vessels toward
Gaza in an attempt to break the blockade, and the Welcome to Palestine
“flytilla,” in which hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists flew to
The theme for this year’s conference is addressing Israel’s legal
challenges, turning theory to practice.
Students are also attending from
countries as diverse as Macedonia, Singapore, Zambia and many Western
Mujina Kaindaima, a foreign student from Zambia, said, “I
learned a lot about IHL [International Humanitarian Law], the operational
aspects of the conflict – the split second decisions and the length the IDF
takes to avoid casualties and the tactical nature of it all – which I hadn’t
thought about, and that people have to go about living a normal life in the
“I learned about security vs. access and the fact that
you can’t have both; you have to compromise. It’s a questions of what you’re
willing to risk, to what end,” she continued.
As in past years, the
conference included workshops and lectures by high-profile law and diplomacy
experts, including officials from the Foreign Ministry, Justice Ministry, IDF
and media personalities, such as Channel 2’s Ehud Ya’ari.
speakers were Supreme Court Justice Uzi Vogelman, leading international law
experts from the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and delegates from
International lawyer Richard D. Heideman, who has
brought terrorism cases in the United States against Libya, Syria and Iran as
state sponsors of terror, also spoke.
StandWithUs Israel director Michael
Dickson said, “The conference could not have taken place at a more relevant
time, with the world focused on Syria’s daily, horrific human rights
Bringing these future international jurists, staffers of the UN
and prominent NGO workers to Israel allows them to fully understand how Israel
balances the strategic threats it faces with upholding international
The conference was sponsored by the Faculty of Law at Hebrew
University, the Washington, DC law firm of Heideman Nudelman & Kalik, P.C.,
Yehudah Raveh & Co. Law Offices and The Israel Forever Foundation.