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Lea Tsemel defends Palestinians: from feminists to fundamentalists, from non-violent demonstrators to armed militants. As a Jewish-Israeli lawyer who has represented political prisoners for five decades, Tsemel, in her tireless quest for justice, pushes the praxis of a human rights defender to its limits. As far as most Israelis are concerned, she defends the indefensible. As far as Palestinians are concerned, she's more than an attorney, she's an advocate. ADVOCATE follows Tsemel's caseload in real-time, including the high-profile trial of a 13-year-old boy - her youngest client to date - while also revisiting her landmark cases and reflecting on the political significance of her work and the personal price one pays for assuming the role of "devil's advocate." Tsemel spoke truth to power before the term became trendy and she'll continue to do so after fear makes it unfashionable. As such, she's a model we're hard-pressed to preserve in Israel/Palestine, and elsewhere.


  • Hanan Ashrawi
  • Tareq Barghout
  • Avigdor Feldman
  • Lea Tsemel
  • Michael Warschawski
  • Nissan Warschawski
  • Talila Warschawski

Did You Know?


  • Tsemel identifies the song, I Can't Understand the Parisians, with Maurice Chevalier whereas it was actually sung by Leslie Caron.


    • Lea Tsemel: I'm a very angry optimistic woman.
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Atom User Reviews

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Jan 2, 2020

At one point, Tsemel describes herself as a member of an occupying force and defines her mission in life as to somehow rectify the resultant power imbalance. The only way to get there, as the film's pointed final image suggests, is to keep on trudging.

Metacritic review by Keith Uhlich
Keith Uhlich
The Hollywood Reporter
Jan 2, 2020

The directorial choices, from the minimal use of music for dramatic embellishment to the innovative split-screen technique used to blur the identities of individuals in courthouse footage, are spot-on throughout.

Metacritic review by Nick Rocco Scalia
Nick Rocco Scalia
Film Threat
Jan 2, 2020

Advocate is a reminder to audiences everywhere of the importance of the rule of law, its equal application and appointing judges who understand that importance.

Metacritic review by Roger Moore
Roger Moore
Movie Nation