The recent Amnesty International report which accuses Israel of apartheid and crimes against humanity is demonstrably dishonest, tendentious, and so lacking in context to be unworthy of serious consideration. Indeed, it has even been called “a paradigmatic example of anti-semitism [sic].” But this will not prevent its use as a weapon in the ongoing diplomatic and legal war being waged against Israel in the UN. As Anne Herzberg of NGO Monitor wrote,
These groups [Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem]—through their personal connections and singular influence at the U.N. Human Rights Council, and the acquiescence of Europe—instead will simply get U.N. Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk and the Navi Pillay-headed Commission of Inquiry [COI] to uncritically adopt their claims and mark them with the U.N. stamp of approval in the next few months. Unsurprisingly and in keeping with his history of anti-Israel activism (as well as in violation of U.N. rules), although he is ostensibly currently conducting an independent and objective investigation of apartheid, Lynk promoted the group’s report on Twitter. There is no doubt that the COI will act in a similar fashion.
Here are a few of Amnesty’s dozens of recommendations (p. 272ff.): Israel must repeal its nation-state law, “relocate” Jewish residents from areas outside 1949 armistice lines, cancel evictions of Arabs (for nonpayment of rent) and change the law so that “Palestinians” are not subject to “forced eviction,” grant recognition to all “unrecognized villages” in the Negev (i.e., legalize squatting on state land), remove all restrictions on freedom of movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza strip, punish officials and military personnel for their “violations of international law” and “crimes against humanity,” and – last but not least:
Recognize the right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to homes where they or their families once lived in Israel or the OPT, and to receive restitution and compensation and other effective remedies for the loss of their land and property.
It should be clear from the above that Amnesty’s objective is no less than the end of Israel as a Jewish state, and its replacement by an Arab-majority state. Nevertheless, we can expect in short order UN resolutions calling for sanctions on Israel and attempts to prosecute Israeli officials and IDF officers in accordance with Amnesty’s recommendations.
The accusations contained in the report constitute a große Lüge, a “big lie.” They are “supported,” in a parody of scholarship, by citations from their own previous reports, from anti-Israel UN agencies like the notorious Human Rights Commission, from documents provided by the so-called “State of Palestine,” from interviews with Palestinians, from the work of anti-Israel academics, and of course from numerous NGOs, including those that were recently outlawed in Israel because of their links with the terrorist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Amnesty is the largest player in the world-wide “human rights” industry. The organization operates in numerous countries and has an overall budget of close to $US 300 million. It started out in the 1960s with a pro-Western orientation, perhaps receiving funds secretly from the British government and the CIA. At some point it became more critical of the West; in 2011, it called for George Bush to be prosecuted over the treatment of 9/11 detainees. In recent years, it has focused disproportionately on alleged human rights abuses by Israel, perhaps as a result of hiring a number of anti-Israel activists for key positions. Agnes Callamard, Amnesty’s secretary-general since March 2021, recently had to disavow a tweet she made in 2013, idiotically accusing Israel of poisoning Yasser Arafat.
But Amnesty’s biased researchers had significant help on the ground. The Zionist group Im Tirtzu (disclosure: I’m a member and donor) analyzed the Amnesty report and found that 77% of the citations from various NGOs in the report came from 16 Israeli organizations, which are heavily funded by foreign money, mostly from the EU and its constituent governments. They are the usual suspects; B’Tselem, Adalah, Ir Amim, HaMoked, Peace Now, and others. Over the past 10 years, these groups have raked in more than half a billion shekels ($US 171 million) from the European Union and its constituent governments. B’Tselem alone got more than 62 million shekels ($US 19 million).
This is a huge sum and should be a scandal of major proportions. These organizations, despite having almost no support among Israel’s Jewish population, are able to exert great pressure in the legal and political realms. They have petitioned the Supreme Court to dismantle communities built over the Green Line, to prevent the demolition of the homes of convicted terrorists, to prevent the deportation of illegal residents, and so on. They seem to have good access to the Israeli media, as illustrated by the recent B’Tselem and Peace Now campaign to mainstream the idea that there is an outbreak of “settler violence.” But most importantly, they produce a steady flow of accusations against Israel to the international media and to foreign governments.
Whenever there is a military conflict, they swing into action to provide respectability to the propaganda from Israel’s enemies; and they provide the fodder for international condemnations of Israel, as happened in 2009 with the Goldstone Report. Much of the material they supply is simply a repetition of claims made by the PA and Hamas, which achieve credibility through the “halo effect” created by their passing through a supposedly disinterested NGO.
Why does the EU pay to maintain subversive anti-state organizations in Israel? Some of the officials involved may actually believe that they are advancing the cause of human rights. On a few occasions, when the connection to terrorism has been blatant, the EU or a government has suspended funding for a particular group. But they appear to be fine with the idea of supporting the Palestinian cause, the dissolution of the Jewish state, at least when no guns or bombs are directly and immediately involved. I believe that there is a deep feeling in Europe, possibly going back long before there was a Palestinian cause (or even Palestinians), that the world would be better off without Jews or, even more so, their state. Antisemitism has somehow morphed into humanism.
And why does Israel permit her enemies to support a subversive fifth column inside the state? I don’t know. Big money corrupts. Maybe enough Israeli politicians have personal connections to these NGOs, and they or friends and family benefit from them, and that’s why the laws that have been passed to regulate foreign money are weak and toothless. Maybe now, after the damage has been done, the Knesset will take action.
The Amnesty report is just another libel against the Jewish people, like the medieval blood libels and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. There is little that the State of Israel can do to silence its external enemies. But it does not have to allow them to pay her home-grown quislings to do their dirty work.
This is one major weapon in the campaign to destroy Israel. The other is the Iran and allies plan to do this violently The first campaign aims to take away our power of self-defense as aid to the second campaign. It seems to me we need a new strategy to combat both threats. I do not think our present weak government can do this. I do not know who can. Israel needs new leadership and I really do not know where to look.