Multiple choice question:
Name the person, place or thing that referred to Israel as a “scum state,” called for an international arms embargo of Israel, accused Israel of “war crimes,” and lashed out at the Jewish state more than any other nation on the planet.
1. The Islamic Republic of Iran
2. Louis Farrakhan
3. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib
4. Amnesty International
If you answered Amnesty, you would be correct.
I was still a teenager when Amnesty started taking pot shots at Israel during the First Intifada. In the early 1990s, they circulated posters and articles to US high school students. The materials accused Israel of condoning violence against Arabs.
Nowhere did Amnesty mention homicidal Arab violence, terrorism, the targeting of Jewish civilians, intra-factional Palestinian violence, or our people’s right to self-defense.
About this time Amnesty made a shift in its messaging. It transitioned from false moral equivalence arguments (blaming Israel for using force when force was needed to protect the innocent) to outright condemnation. The move appears to have occurred after Amnesty hired full-time staff dedicated just to Israel. Their job would be to monitor and criticize Israel – forever.
Between 1948 and 1989 there were three published Amnesty research reports on Israel available today on Amnesty’s website. In the subsequent 24 months there were 84, according to the site. By 2006, the year of the Second Lebanon War, Amnesty managed to generate more documents, condemnations, and libels against Israel than on the genocide in Darfur.
Who are these staff members? Many assigned staff members over the years have been virulently anti-Israel. Some have even been shown to have admiration for (even personal relationships with) individuals with ties to terrorism or the funding of terrorism. One Amnesty staff member was caught providing consulting services to Hamas. Another – a deputy regional director –replaced his Facebook profile picture with that of Leila Khaled, the convicted hijacker who tried to blow up an El Al flight.
Faced with a clearly one-sided Israel desk, Amnesty eliminated its own conflict-of-interest rules for employees in the early 2000s.
Jew hatred almost always escalates. Moral equivalence is followed by condemnation and then libel. It was therefore no surprise when Amnesty started libeling the Jewish people in the late 1990s. They officially came out of the shadows in 2002.
At the now infamous United Nations World Conference against Racism, in Durban, South Africa in 2002 Amnesty leveled defamatory allegations against the Jewish state. It claimed that Israel was racist and violated human rights. No other country – not even the world’s most brutal dictatorships or the Taliban – received any such attention.
Boycotts follow libel. Here again Amnesty delivered. Not only is Amnesty supportive of BDS, but evidence collected in a 200-page report by researcher David Collier suggests that Amnesty staffers may be coordinating with the BDS movement.
In addition to yesterday’s claim by Amnesty that Israel is an apartheid state, I am concerned about Amnesty’s decades-long claim that Israel is perpetrating “war crimes.”
The Jew as a “war criminal” is – as a concept – a linear descendent of the Jew as the “Christ Killer.” It is an antisemitic libel; one that has condemned great numbers of us to gallows, to inquisitors, to bayonets, rifles, and gas chambers.
It is hard to explain to non-Jewish friends and colleagues why we are critical of Amnesty. The international organization is so successful at branding, image, and fundraising that it feels like taking issue with panda bears or Rotarians. People remember Amnesty’s glitz, their red carpet events, and their celebrity supporters like Sting, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Peter Gabriel.
Amnesty may have had glory days in the 1970s. But today they are a corrupt farce obsessed with delegitimizing Israel.
Their hostility is rooted not in Israel’s treatment of prisoners, the conduct of the IDF, or Arab voting rights, but in the fact that Israel exists at all.
Chris רמי Robbins is a writer and real estate developer from Denver, Colorado. firstname.lastname@example.org