Category: Jewish Chronicle

Amnesty lost its way long ago

This article appeared today in the Jewish Chronicle.

Imagine Israel without guns or ammunition, without Iron Dome, as helpless before the armed fanatics of Hamas as Jews had been for centuries. Of course we can’t imagine such a thing. But Amnesty International can.

Its response to the current fighting in Gaza is a campaign to “stop the arms, stop the killing” — and Amnesty is concerned about only one side. They write “The death toll is rising as rockets rain down on the citizens of Gaza … nobody is safe from the indiscriminate bombing. Israel says it’s targeting ‘Hamas operatives’ but most of the dead are civilians.”

No mention of Hamas rocket attacks, terrorist infiltrators, attack tunnels, the right of self-defence, nothing. Israel “says” it’s targeting Hamas fighters, but Amnesty thinks Israel is lying.

Amnesty calls “on the UK government to halt the supply of arms to Israel.”

This view has a long history in Amnesty.

Four years ago, I ran as a candidate for the Board of Amnesty’s UK Section, which has a quarter of a million members. Though only a small fraction of them voted in those elections, I placed fifth out of the ten candidates, four of whom were elected. And I ran on platform explicitly critical of Amnesty’s views on Israel.

Amnesty lost its way a long time ago when it turned against Israel. They’re not alone in that view, which is shared by many in the UK and elsewhere. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Amnesty remains a democratic organisation where the members can change policies.

Amnesty won the Nobel Peace Prize for good reason. It does fantastic work in defence of human rights. It should not be allowed to sleepwalk its way into irrelevance with these kinds of stupid and uninformed positions on Israel and Palestine. Amnesty needs a wake-up call now.

The problem with Amnesty

This article appears today on the Jewish Chronicle website and will appear in tomorrow’s print edition. It is also being reprinted on the website of Pluto Press.
In recent months, Amnesty International in the UK has taken a sharp anti-Israel turn. This will be obvious to anyone who receives the organisation’s bi-monthly magazine, which now features articles bashing Israel in every single issue.
For example, last summer the magazine carried a long report on a visit by an Amnesty delegation to Israel and Palestine. It was an utterly one-sided account, reporting the suffering of Palestinians without even hinting at the possibility that Israelis too might be victims of the conflict.
Amnesty condemns the building of the separation barrier without mentioning why it exists or the lives it has saved. Its report focuses on petty matters like the cleanliness of toilets at Israeli checkpoints, without a mention of why those checkpoints are there (to counter terrorism).

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TUC boycott call could lead to sanctions against Israel

This article appeared in today’s Jewish Chronicle.
If the TUC adopts the resolution proposed by the Fire Brigades Union, the implications are far-reaching.
First and most important, it opens the way for the Labour Party, in which the unions play an increasingly important role, to shift its own views on the Middle East toward a more pro-Palestinian position.
This could result in the British government supporting sanctions targeting Israel. As the UK is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, this might even mean an eventual push for UN sanctions against the Jewish state.

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My Shylock Moment

I call it “my Shylock moment” and it’s happening more and more. I’ve had the opportunity three times in the last few weeks to represent the Israeli point of view in public debates. As you can imagine, it’s not an easy task. The audiences — two British universities and at a TV studio in London — are overwhelmingly hostile.
Read the full article in today’s Jewish Chronicle,