StandWithUs hosts law parley in shadow of Syrian abuses

The student program attempts to positively influence Israel's global image in the face of international criticism.

August 29, 2013 22:21
2 minute read.
THE STANDWITHUS students in Belgrade.

StandWithUs 521. (photo credit: Sidelle Peled)


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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 students.

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.

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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 law.

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 Israel.

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 nations.


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 conflict.”

“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.

Other prominent speakers were Supreme Court Justice Uzi Vogelman, leading international law experts from the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and delegates from other organizations.

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 abuses.

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 law.”

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.

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