In Israel and Australia, civil society and human rights voices are under attack. A backlash against the very idea of democracy is evident as governments adopt more repressive measures to curb individual rights and silence critical voices. Join the executive director of Israel’s largest human rights organisation, Sharon Abraham-Weiss, and lawyer and commentator Josh Bornstein to delve into these disturbing trends in both Israel and Australia.
Sharon Abraham-Weiss is the executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Israel’s largest and oldest civil rights organisation, and the flagship grantee of the New Israel Fund. ACRI’s devotes its resources to some of Israel’s most challenging issues, including protecting Israel’s democratic institutions, freedom of speech, minority rights, refugees and asylum seekers. For five years she was Tel Aviv’s equal opportunity commissioner. Sharon was nominated by Haaretz as one of the prominent female leaders in Israel and is an outspoken voice for social change and equality for all in Israel.
Josh Bornstein is a Director of Maurice Blackburn and National Practice Leader of both its Social Justice Group and its Employment and Industrial Relations Group. Josh has 20 years’ experience as an employment and industrial relations lawyer, advising executive, managerial and professional clients throughout Australia. He has also cornered the market in representing sacked rabbis. He is currently also acting for civil society organisations, GetUp and 350.org. Josh is deputy chair of the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board and a board member of the progressive think tank, the Australia Institute. He is a prolific writer of opinion columns, appears regularly on The Drum and an active tweeter.
Sharon and Josh will be joined by Debbie Whitmont, an award-winning journalist, author and former Middle East correspondent for the ABC. Among other awards, Debbie has won two Walkley Awards for her work on the ABC’s Four Corners and is a three-time winner of the Human Rights Commission award for TV for her investigations into the plight of asylum seekers and indigenous affairs.