Amnesty International UK has come under fire by Israel as well as U.S. Jewry for a report accusing Israel of “the crime against humanity of apartheid.”
The report, which is set to be released Tuesday, is the first time the group has officially adopted the term “apartheid.”
“Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has pursued an explicit policy of establishing and maintaining a Jewish demographic hegemony,” the 211-page report states, according to the Forward, “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.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in response said Amnesty was no longer “a respected organization.”
“Today, it is precisely the opposite,” Lapid, who is also Israel’s alternate prime minister, said in a video statement. “It isn’t a human rights organization, but just another radical organization which echoes propaganda without seriously checking the facts. Instead of seeking the truth, Amnesty echoes the same lies shared by terrorist organizations.”
U.S. Jewish groups, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith International and the Jewish Federations of North America, also issued a rare joint statement of condemnation accusing Amnesty of presenting an “unbalanced, inaccurate and incomplete review.”
Amnesty International Boycotts UK Jewish Group, Silences Debate on Israel https://t.co/rZ2entDjpr
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 23, 2018
The report, they said, “inexplicably focuses on one aim: to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish and democratic State of Israel.”
The Amnesty report falsely claims 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” and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as “against Palestinian refugees and their descendants outside the territory.”
In their response, the U.S. organizations accused Amnesty of committing a “double injustice:” The report “fuels those antisemites around the world who seek to undermine the only Jewish country on Earth, while simultaneously cheapening and downplaying the horrific suffering that was a result of apartheid in South Africa.”
They also noted that Arabs in Israel have full and equal rights under the law, and that an Islamist party is even in the ruling coalition.
“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’. 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,” they note.
Message: Mind your language https://t.co/drQMIcMaZM
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 21, 2017
“At the very time when many Arab countries are forging new agreements and accords with Israel, and relations between Arabs and Jews are flourishing in numerous corners of the Middle East, Amnesty-UK’s misguided and backward-looking effort to vilify Israel seems to be trying to turn back the peace clock, inflame existing tensions and incite violence, while obstructing the path to peace and the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the organizations concluded.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the report served “as a green light… to harm not only Israel, but Jews around the world.”
The rights group “uses double standards and demonization in order to delegitimize Israel. These are the exact components from which modern antisemitism is made.
“Its extremist language and distortion of historical context were designed to demonize Israel and pour fuel onto the fire of antisemitism,” it said.
The ministry also said that Amnesty UK was “notorious for being corrupted by racism and xenophobia, and the organization’s secretary-general has previously accused Israel – with no basis or evidence – of murdering Arafat. It is not surprising that it took Amnesty eight years to back down from this serious and baseless accusation.”