Palestine Legal Director Dima Khalidi issued the following statement on the sad passing, today, of Michael Ratner, founding Board Member of Palestine Legal:
The Palestine Legal team is deeply saddened by Michael’s passing. His influence on our work is unparalleled. It is no exaggeration to say that Palestine Legal exists because of Michael. His prescient recognition of the growing need for a legal response to the intense backlash against advocates for Palestinian rights in the U.S. led to the founding of Palestine Legal. He has been instrumental in guiding and supporting the organization in its mission to ensure that human rights defenders in the U.S. are protected in their work to challenge one of the most entrenched political orthodoxies of our time – unconditional support for Israel.
Michael embodies the kind of legal advocate we all aspire to be: fearless, dedicated to achieving justice, working in support of radical movements that are challenging the status quo and fighting for people’s human rights. Michael has been spearheading this kind of cutting edge legal work, with the Center for Constitutional Rights, for many decades – supporting struggles for accountability for human rights abuses and atrocities from Latin America to Iraq, from Guantanamo to Israel. He was uncompromising in his dedication to the quest for Palestinian freedom and self-determination, and paved the way for international human rights work, and Palestine Legal’s own work, on this issue.
We will miss Michael’s wise, humble, and always principled voice as we continue his legacy of speaking truth to power. We are so thankful to have been touched and inspired by him, and for the example he has set for new generations of peoples’ lawyers. May he rest in peace and power.