Amnesty International: Complicity in Propaganda

Mark Tapson, a Hollywood-based writer and screenwriter, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He focuses on the politics of popular culture.


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Last Monday, the UK branch of Amnesty International (AI) hosted a London event called “Complicity in Oppression: Does the Media Aid Israel?Aid Israel? Considering the predominant bias of the world media against Israel, one could be forgiven for suspecting that an event with a title this absurd must have been an evening of standup comedy.

Alas, the agenda behind this event is no laughing matter. The discussion was co-sponsored by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and the Middle East Monitor Online (MEMO), one of whose key propaganda strategies is to equate Israel’s necessary counterterrorism measures on the West Bank and in Gaza with the reviled policies of apartheid South Africa. The “Complicity in Oppression” conference gave voice to another strategy: promoting the twisted fiction that Palestinians are being bullied and silenced by pro-Zionist lobbies that have a stranglehold on media outlets. (To get a taste of actual media complicity and bias, please revisit the extraordinary al Dura hoax.)

Regarding Monday’s event, Michael Weiss of the UK’s Telegraph wondered specifically about MEMO, “Why is Amnesty hosting a Hamas-friendly publisher of racists?”

MEMO is run by one Dr Daud Abdullah, the deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain and a signatory of the Istanbul Declaration. This gothic document states that it is the obligation of the “Islamic Nation” to “carry on jihad and Resistance” against Israel and to fight “by all means and ways” any “foreign warship” attempting to block arms smuggling to Hamas, which, last time I checked, was still a terrorist organisation according to EU and UK law.

Weiss cited this tacit support of Hamas and Amnesty’s connection to MEMO as further evidence of AI’s ongoing, “easy-breezy attitude towards religious fundamentalism.” And indeed, among MEMO’s Honorary Advisors are a pair of notable Islamists: Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss Muslim philosophy professor whose media-slick sophistication sends a thrill up the collective leg of the multi-culti Western intelligentsia, but who exposes his totalitarian side to non-Western audiences; and British Lord Nazir Ahmed, who threatened to mobilize thousands of Muslims to protest an appearance before the House of Lords by anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

Weiss’ biting blog clearly touched a nerve – PSC responded to it on the event registration page itself, claiming that Weiss “sinks to a new level with an attempt to sabotage a meeting discussing media bias.” Of course, by “sabotage” what they mean is that Weiss merely reported revelations about the participants’ own bias, which PSC did not refute, and raised the larger question of why the supposedly neutral Amnesty would offer a forum to such organizations.

This July marks the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International, which touts itself as being apolitical and insists on the primacy of international law and adherence to “international human rights standards.” All well and good in theory, except that the reality is that submission to international law often results in Kafkaesque assaults on truth like the trial of Geert Wilders, and any concept of an “international standard” of human rights quickly loses validity when one considers the rogue’s gallery of human rights abusers, like Iran, dominating such transnational bodies as the United Nations Human Rights Council.

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  • dawning

    Is "amnisty" int. and the aclu all run by the same overseer??? Soros??

  • Ghostwriter

    It seems that Moazzam Begg and those like him (Julian Assange are among them) seem to think that Americans are little more than insects,you can squash them and think nothing of it. It's a shame that organizations like Amnesty International give any sort of platform to these people.

  • Tim Bus

    Puhleease;

    This is unnews. Damnesty International is an active branch of the KGB, its heirs and successors. And since communism/socialism is in bed with islam, fornicating for all they're worth, their bedroom stinks like ARTH's latrine.

  • scum

    Yes, you heard it right: The media's support for Israel.

    • MixMChess

      Your claim is absurd. The vast majority of western journalists are biased against Israel.

      For example, NBC's Tel Aviv bureau chief Martin Fletcher acknowledged that the "Intifada posed a fairness problem." He noted the "Palestinians manipulated the Western media by casting themselves as 'David' against the Israeli 'Goliath,'" a metaphor used by Fletcher himself in a 1988 report. "The whole uprising was media-oriented [...] It's really a matter of manipulation of the media. [...] We play along because we need the pictures."

      Journalist Fiamma Nirenstein stated that the "information coming out of Israel these days is heavily influenced by the political imagination of the reporters and columnists and cameramen… [who] are expected-to place those clashes within an agreed-upon framework: the framework, roughly, of David (the Palestinians) versus Goliath (the Israelis)."

      Likewise, journalist Judith Blaint stated that western journalists "are 'given' assumptions that provide the backdrop of all their coverage. Topping the list is the notion that Palestinians are engaged in a noble struggle for independence and Israeli oppressors are using their might and muscle to stand in their way."

      Dan Diker noted, that "most foreign journalists are not fluent in either Arabic or Hebrew, rendering them dependent on a network of local Palestinian 'fixers,' mostly young, educated Palestinians who speak Arabic, Hebrew and English…An Arabic-speaking journalist…noted that most fixers trumpet the PLO narrative and terminology of the conflict, which frequently collides with established historical facts and international law. Moreover, Palestinian security forces watch carefully what is said by local residents to both foreign and local journalists."

      Even public news outlets in the US have been found to award more coverage – and more sympathetic coverage – to Palestinians. For example, National Public Radio (NPR) awarded Palestinian perspective pieces over 4 times more (!) talk time than Israeli perspective pieces during a two-month study.

    • Leon

      Get back under your bridge troll …

  • scum

    Especially because the vast majority of media outlets are conservative, and corporate-based. Hard to find uninvested, objective media at all.

    • MixMChess

      The vast majority of media outlets do not parrot an (American) conservative viewpoint – especially when it comes to middle east affairs.

      Did you know Saudi Arabian princes own large shares of media outlets throughout the world and hold a virtual monopoly on media in the Middle East? For example, a Saudi Arabian Prince, Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Alsaud, owns $2.05 billion of AOL stock (parent company of time Warner and CNN). He also holds large portions of Disney (parent of ABC) and the News Corporation (Parent of the New York Post, Fox News, and the London Times). He admitted to the London times that he lodges protests of these publications' reporting directly to the chairmen and chief executives of the papers. If this isn't control of the media then I don't know what is…

      Case in point, Said Aburish chronicles Saudi Arabia's manipulation of the media in his book "The Rise, Corruption and Coming Fall of the House of Saud." According to Said, the ruling family of Saudi Arabia has purchased large shares of the Western Media including the whole of United Press International. He also chronicles the physical brutalization of reporters that differ from the Saudi stance on Israel among other issues.