critical Israelis in the Netherlands

Keynote Lecture

Eitay Mack is a Jerusalem-based human rights lawyer and activist who works towards increased transparency and public oversight of Israel’s defence exports. Mack is acting to expose the State of Israel’s military and diplomatic connections (past and present) with regimes that committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and severe violations of human rights– such as South Sudan, Serbia, Rwanda, South Africa, Argentina, Chile and Sri Lanka. Mack is also representing Palestinians and human rights activists in civil cases against the Israeli security forces, involving violence, the denial of liberties and false arrests.

Exposing the past, stopping the present and preventing the future of Israel’s military support of dictatorships and human rights violations around the globe

Israel maintains its advantage in counter-insurgency, population control and surveillance systems without the US or the EU taking a stance. Israel continues to sell anything and to train everybody, with almost no limitations, and continues to find clients in marginal markets or with states that are ostracized. To date, the Israel Defence Export Control Agency has approved defence exports to some 130 countries; there are approximately 6,800 defence exporters and over 1,000 Israeli companies permitted to export defence equipment, knowledge and services.

In contrast with parallel legislation in many countries (e.g. the US and the EU), in which explicit expression is given to human rights considerations and to meeting the humanitarian standards of international law, Israel’s oversight law relates only to the Security Council embargo which includes a very limited number of countries (and often the Security Council is paralyzed by the Veto rights of the great powers).  In this context it should be noted that Israel has declared that it will not ratify the Arms Trade treaty.

Mack argues that Israel’s Defence Export Policy undermines the EU efforts to stabilize different regions in the world (e.g. South Sudan and Burundi), and puts unnecessary obstacles in transition to democracy in many states (e.g. Myanmar and Azerbaijan).