This Lazar Berman interview with Secretary-general of Amnesty International Agnes Callamar and advocacy director Philip Luther is getting attention for the double standard on China and Israel.
Berman: Your organization has been in China. It’s spent a lot of resources. They come out with no determination on apartheid after you’ve been there.
Luther: You’ve got to go in with that particular; we can’t even go into China.
But another exchange captures the basic antisemitism which insists that Jews have no right to live in Jerusalem, including in the Jewish Quarter.
You include a very specific number in the report – exactly 225,178 Jewish Israeli settlers living illegally in East Jerusalem. Where is the line on the ground between a Jewish Israeli living legitimately in Jerusalem, and illegitimately?
Luther: Well, what we’re talking about are settlements that are illegal under international law, and that are on occupied Palestinian territory.
So where is that? What is the dividing line?
Luther: The [pre-1967] green line.
So a Jew living in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City is counted here [in your report] and is living in an illegal settlement?
Luther: The specific figures I’d have to go to… they’re all footnoted…
On principle, a Jew living in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem…
Luther: No, in Jewish settlements. Illegal settlements in the sense that they have been moved in there, those constructions have been built in order to facilitate settlers on occupied Palestinian land.
Does that include the Jewish Quarter?
Luther: The Jewish Quarter, as you know, there are many Jews who have been there for generations.
Also in Hebron. The Jewish Quarter is over the Green Line, and I’m trying to understand if this figure, this very specific figure that you put in the report, includes the Jewish Quarter of East Jerusalem.
Luther: I need to get back to you on exactly what it includes because I don’t know that level of detail in terms of what that footnote referred to. But what we are referring to in terms of what we are considering problematic is the establishment of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, and that is referred to as East Jerusalem and the West Bank. I don’t want to get drawn in terms of what exactly that figure is because I don’t know off the top of my head.
Don’t ask Amnesty International about the basis for their figure, but do assume that Jews living in the Jewish Quarter can be settlers.
Even more revealingly, this exchange lays out an Amnesty International position that Jews have no right to buy houses in Jerusalem.
If I go anywhere over the Green Line and I buy a house, am I now a settler living illegally in East Jerusalem?
Who transferred me?
Luther: The state has facilitated you doing it.
Luther: By constructing housing there.
I’m buying a house that is 300 years old.
Luther: Now we’re getting into really fine detail. I know you think it’s instructive — it’s not instructive. There are expectations, I totally agree you may find that situation. Let’s talk about the 99% of the situation of settlers who live in the Palestinian territories. You can’t deflect from that… It’s a red herring. It’s a complete red herring.
This is actually apartheid. It’s not just coming from Amnesty International, but the entire international framework of organizations, including the UN, that insist that the Arab Muslim invasion and occupation gives them unlimited rights to the city while Jews have none.
This is the underlying argument in the Sheikh Jarrah occupation which argues that Jordan kicking out Jews and moving in Muslims is legitimate, but Jews reclaiming their property in Jerusalem are settlers.