Amnesty International has a history of anti-Israel bias. In March 2021, NGO Monitor wrote that Amnesty International “[d]isproportionately singles out Israel for condemnation, focusing solely on the conflict with the Palestinians, misrepresenting the complexity of the conflict, and ignoring more severe human rights violations in the region.”
Amnesty International-UK has now reached a new low in its anti-Semitic attack on the Jewish state. It issued a report on February 1st accusing Israel of subjecting Palestinians to “the crime against humanity of apartheid.”
Leftwing Human Rights Watch applied the label “apartheid” to Israel’s operations in the so-called “occupied territories” in its report last April. But Amnesty International-UK’s’ blood libel was even more extreme. It charged that Israel has engaged in “apartheid” since its founding in 1948.
“Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has pursued an explicit policy of establishing and maintaining a Jewish demographic hegemony,” the report stated, “and maximizing its control over land to benefit Jewish Israelis while minimizing the number of Palestinians and restricting their rights and obstructing their ability to challenge this dispossession.” The report added that “almost all of Israel’s civilian administration and military authorities” are involved “in the enforcement of the system of apartheid against Palestinians across Israel,” in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and “against Palestinian refugees and their descendants outside the territory.”
It’s no surprise that the Israeli government and leading Jewish groups angrily denounced Amnesty International’s report. “The purpose of this report is to eliminate the State of Israel as a nation-state of the Jewish people and the solution they give is for Israel to cease to exist,” said a spokesperson for Israel’s foreign ministry, who also called the report “pure antisemitism” that “legitimizes attacks against Jews.”
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), American Jewish Committee (AJC), B’nai B’rith International, and the Jewish Federations of North America issued a statement condemning the inflammatory Amnesty International-UK report against Israel. The statement reads in part as follows:
We vehemently reject the biased and one-sided report on Israel scheduled to be released February 1 by Amnesty International-UK that presents an unbalanced, inaccurate, and incomplete review and instead inexplicably focuses on one aim: to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish and democratic State of Israel.
This libelous document resorts to baseless ‘apartheid’ accusations against Israel, among other distortions.
The report makes no secret of its true intention – which is to cast aspersions on the State of Israel, which it portrays as illegitimate, starting ‘at its creation in May 1948’ (page 20). It disregards the fact that Israel’s robust democracy grants its Arab citizens full rights and equality, includes an Arab Muslim nationalist party in Israel’s governing coalition, as well as a history of senior Israeli Arab governmental officials, including Supreme Court justices, government ministers, high-level diplomats, military officers, and members of Knesset.
The only other time that Amnesty International used the “apartheid” label to denounce a country’s policies was in 2017. That was when it released a report charging that Myanmar’s treatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority in the region of Myanmar known as Rakhine State “amounts to apartheid.” However, Amnesty International-UK’s accusations against Israel are far more insidious.
Amnesty International-UK’s attack on Israel amounts to an attack on what it calls Israel’s “Jewish identity.” Yes, Israel was created to provide the Jewish people with one homeland of their own in which they feel that they can live securely as Jews. After enduring centuries of persecution in so many countries around the world culminating in the horrors of the Holocaust, the Jewish people deserve no less.
Israel has managed to adhere to its founding purpose of providing the Jewish people a country in which to live where they won’t be marginalized and persecuted. At the same time, Israel remains the only real democracy in the Middle East, which provides more political, civil, religious, and economic rights to its Arab citizens than many Arabs have in Arab majority countries.
But this is not good enough for Amnesty International-UK. It has sanctimoniously declared that a Jewish state by definition is an “apartheid” state, even where minority rights are protected. Yet Amnesty International-UK has not sought fit to apply the apartheid label to Muslim majority countries, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. In these countries, Sharia law is strictly enforced, and non-Muslims are regularly treated as inferior beings who cannot freely practice their own religious beliefs.
Israelis accepted the United Nations General Assembly’s partition resolution that had called specifically for the establishment of a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Palestinian leadership at the time rejected this original two state solution. Instead, they joined with military forces from neighboring Arab countries in their failed attempt to destroy the new state of Israel and drive the Jews into the sea.
Moreover, the Palestinians have forfeited opportunity after opportunity to achieve their aspiration of an independent state of their own. Their leadership has spurned several offers of very generous territorial concessions by successive Israeli governments. Time and again they walked away from promising negotiations.
Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, uprooting all Jewish settlers living in Gaza and leaving behind economic resources which the Palestinians could have used to begin building the prototype of a sustainable state infrastructure. Instead, the Hamas terrorists took control of Gaza, from which they have launched thousands of rockets aimed at Israeli civilian population centers.
The Amnesty International-UK report did acknowledge that “Palestinian armed groups fired indiscriminate rockets into Israel from Gaza” but played down its significance. The report said that “certain policies, such as the creation of access-restricted zones around Gaza, both on land and in the sea, may have been designed for a legitimate security purpose, namely to prevent Hamas from using these areas to launch attacks against Israelis.” (Emphasis added)
Saving civilian lives on both sides of the Israeli-Gaza border should qualify without any equivocation as a legitimate reason for access restrictions to keep out weapons and materials that could be used for military purposes. But not only did the radical, so-called human rights organization hedge its words in assessing Israel’s security concerns. Its report went on to condemn Israel for continuing to maintain its access restrictions, which the report charged were bringing about “systematic violations of human rights with severe impact on the livelihoods of Palestinians…”
Not once did Amnesty International-UK hold Hamas accountable for its egregious violations of human rights. There was no mention of how the terrorists put Palestinian women and children under its control in harm’s way by using them as human shields.
Amnesty International-UK added to its anti-Semitic tirade by characterizing Israeli Jews in racial terms as a self-identified racial group.
Nazis regarded Jews as members of a separate race, not as members of a religion or an ethnic group. Israeli Jews, like all those who identify themselves as Jews, base their Jewish identity on religion, ethnicity, tradition and family, or some combination of these attributes. Not on the basis of race.
The majority of Jews in Israel today are of Middle Eastern and North African descent, not white European Jews and their descendants.
“Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, was not established for just one type of Jew but for all Jews, from every part of the world — the Middle East, North Africa, Ethiopia, Asia and, yes, Europe,” wrote an Israeli Jew whose family emigrated to Israel from Iraq and Tunisia. “Jews that were expelled from nations across the Middle East, who sacrificed all they had, have been crucial in building and defending the Jewish state since its outset.”
Amnesty International-UK’s racialization of Jews harks back to a very dark past. Its weaponization of race in accusing Israel of “apartheid” is a blatant attempt to demonize and delegitimate Israel that reeks of anti-Semitism.