Amnesty International (AI), which purportedly exists to fight against human rights violations, sharply disparaged Israel this week labeling Israel an “apartheid” state that should be scorned by the world.
In its Feb. 1, 2022 report, entitled “Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity,” AI disingenuously attempts to compare the treatment of blacks in South Africa during that period of racial segregation and oppression—up to the early 1990s—to how Israel “treats” Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza.
The AI report concludes that the state of Israel has “perpetrated the international wrong of apartheid” against Palestinians. The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), an organization that represents more than 2,000 Orthodox Jewish rabbis, condemned the report as “antisemitic” and a “litany of shameless lies.”
This false narrative, of course, profoundly misstates and misleads regarding the circumstances of Israel’s creation and survival among its hostile Arab neighbors. With a population of 9.2 million, Israel survives on a constant state of high alert in a largely antagonistic Middle East with a population of over 463 million.
First and foremost, we must recognize that many of the Arab nations that surround Israel still contain as a central tenet of their ideology, theology and governing charters the extermination of Israel. Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran still literally demand Israel’s removal from the map.
We could be forgiven for believing that Israel—since its creation in 1948—had permanently and unassailably established its right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state. It’s legitimacy and fundamental right to exist, created as it was in the aftermath of the Holocaust, are believed and accepted by hundreds of millions across the globe as definitive and inalienable.
Well, not according to the leftists at Amnesty International.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, “The Amnesty report isn’t (just) one more denunciation of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, or its housing policies in Jerusalem, though all of that is included. It also isn’t an attack on one Israeli government or another. The report is a denunciation of the very existence of Israel as a refuge for the Jewish people.” Emphasis added. (WSJ, Feb. 1, 2022).
The Amnesty report, WSJ further notes, makes no real effort to highlight or detail the great struggles Israel has faced in merely surviving as a nation state and being required to constantly devise security defenses to do so. (Including the Iron Dome rocket-defense system which was provided substantial funding by the George W. Bush Administration). It makes no effort to explain how Israel must constantly defend itself from the missiles lobbed into Gaza by Hamas—and in fact is always criticized for defending itself when it’s bombed—or the fact that through the 1990 Oslo Accords and again in 2000 the Palestinians could have had their own state had they agreed to a peaceful coexistence with Israel. Palestinian leadership always rejected this opportunity for peace.
Israel is our most trusted ally in the Middle East and one of our most trusted allies in the world. It is certainly the most like the U.S. in terms of dedication to democratic values. As the Journal further points out “… the report all but ignores that Israel is a democracy that accords more rights to Arabs and Palestinians than does any other state in the region. Arabs participate in elections, hold seats in the Knesset, and one Arab is now a cabinet minister.” (WSY, Feb. 1, 2022).
We should ask a simple question: where are basic civil rights and individual freedoms of speech and religion most likely to exist and thrive? In Israel, certainly not in the Arab nations that despise it. Yet, it is Israel that the AI report vilifies and calls upon the United Nations to sanction.
As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has observed before “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.” As CJV Managing Director Rabbi Yaakov Menken said after reading the report “no one should pretend it is about a political dispute when it is rife with hatred against individual Jews.”
Fortunately, the UK, the U.S., and Germany have joined many organizations around the world in rejecting and condemning the report. At a time when historic progress towards peace is being made between Israel and other Arab states this report does nothing but confuse and distort and should be soundly rejected. (See, timesofisrael.com/trump-nominated-for-nobel-peace-prize-for-brokering-israel-uae-deal/; nbcnews.com/think/opinion/trump-deserves-nobel-peace-prize-israel-bahrain-uae-deal-it-ncna1240363; nypost.com/2021/09/22/the-squads-anti-semites-carry-the-day-among-house-democrats-yet-again/).