Felice Gaer asks U.N. to take on anti-Semitism
On June 21, 2004, Felice Gaer gave a speech entitled "Unlearning Intolerance: Anti-Semitic Incidents Are Not Hooliganism—They Are Human Rights Abuses; The United Nations Should Address Them As Such" at the United Nations Conference on Anti-Semitism. Gaer has long been a familiar figure at the U.N. Between 1993 and 1999, she served in nine American delegations to United Nations human rights negotiations, including the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, the World Conference on Women and the World Conference on Human Rights. In 2003, she was re-elected to the United Nations Committee Against Torture, where she is the first American and the only woman on the 10-member committee.
Gaer's focus on anti-Semitism in her June, 2004, talk reflected her ongoing work within and on behalf of the American Jewish community. She is the director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights at the American Jewish Committee, where she has recently used her position to critique the treatment of Israel in international forums. In particular, she has criticized major human rights groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International for paying scant attention to Palestinian violence while singling out Israel for condemnation. In addition to her work at the Blaustein Institute and with the U.N., Gaer is vice chair of the Committee Against Torture and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a body that advises Congress, the Secretary of State, and the President.
Through more than two decades of activism in these various arenas, Gaer has established herself as a leading voice in the struggle for human rights. In 2002, the Forward newspaper chose her as one of its "Forward 50," calling her "the American Jewish international human rights expert in residence."