“ISGAP strongly rejects the biased antisemitic tropes found within
Amnesty International’s recent report, “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity.”
The bending of history and facts in this report is a prime example of how contemporary antisemitism manifests itself, with the sole goal of dismantling
the only Jewish State.”
ISGAP Fellows have organized a number of resources that counter the report’s antisemitic claims. Please bookmark the page on our website as it will be regularly updated. The current resources are listed below:
The report’s central charge of apartheid has been rejected in official statements from representatives of several democratic governments:
- The US State Department spokesman, Ned Price, said in his daily briefing for reporters on 2 February 2022: “We reject the view that Israel’s actions constitute apartheid.”
- The US Ambassador to Israel, Thomas Nides, said in a Tweet on 1 February 2022: “Come on, this is absurd. That is not language that we have used and will not use.”
- US President Joe Biden’s nominee for the US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, Professor Deborah Lipstadt, similarly said in evidence to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “I found the language used in that report more than ahistorical. I found it unhistorical. Branding Israel an apartheid state is more than historically inaccurate. I believe it’s part of a larger effort to delegitimize the Jewish state. Such language, I see it spilling over onto campuses where it poisons the atmosphere, particularly for Jewish students.“
- The UK Government’s adviser on antisemitism, Lord Mann, said with regard to the report: “It is time for Amnesty to receive some training in what antisemitism is.”
- A spokesperson for the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office stated: “We do not agree with the use of this terminology.”
- German Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Christopher Burger, stated on 2 February 2022: “We reject expressions like apartheid or a one-sided focusing of criticism on Israel. That is not helpful to solving the conflict in the Middle East.”
- French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, denounces AI at CRIF dinner stating, “How dare anyone speak of apartheid in a state where Arab citizens are represented in the government, in the parliament, in leadership positions and in positions of responsibility, where all citizens, regardless of their religion, have understood that their only hope is peace together…”
- The President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, wrote to the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, “I am horrified about such a strong antisemitic stand and I completely condemn such unilateral statement” (unofficial translation Tweeted by the Czech Embassy in Israel).
- The Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a Tweet on 3 February 2022: “We do not consider the use of the term “apartheid” in the context of the Middle East conflict to be appropriate. The serious crime of apartheid refers to a specific context. We reject the application of this term to the State of Israel.”
- A spokesperson for the Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, stated: “We do not agree with the report’s characterisations of Israel.”
Numerous organisations representing Jewish communities have expressed concern that the report will promote antisemitism:
- The President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, stated: “The report does absolutely nothing to offer a constructive way forward and has no real interest in promoting the human rights of Palestinians or advancing peace and a lasting two-state solution. It will only serve, like previous similar prejudiced reports, to fuel the fires of antisemites under the guise of political correctness.”
- The President of the European Jewish Congress, Dr Moshe Kantor, said: “It is clear from the tone and language used that they are seeking the end of Israel, and are using all of their supposed good name and diplomatic capital to launch a full-frontal attack against the Jewish State. That they use the terminology of ‘apartheid’ while Israel’s Arab citizens sit in the Knesset, are ministers in Israel’s current government and sit as judges on the country’s Supreme Court, shows just how disingenuous and twisted this imagery is. These are extremist political activists disguised as human-rights advocates, and their obsessive focus on Israel should dispel any notion of objectivity, neutrality or accuracy. This report will become a weapon used against Jews around the world. We have seen that every time that there are high-profile attacks against Israel with these types of scurrilous lies, people think Jews everywhere should be made responsible for it. As a result, Jewish students and members of the academia will be forced to express fealty to these distortions, and attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions will increase. None of the authors of the report will be able to ignore the direct line from their work with a rise in antisemitism.”
- The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), American Jewish Committee (AJC), B’nai B’rith International, and the Jewish Federations of North America stated: “This libelous document resorts to baseless ‘apartheid’ accusations against Israel, among other distortions. In so doing, the report commits a double injustice: It 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.”
- The Chief Executive of B’nai Brith Canada, Michael Mostyn, said: “By singling out only the indigenous Jewish people as unworthy of self-determination in their own land, the report reveals the antisemitic line of thinking behind the unconscionable bias in this document. As antisemitism continues to grow in Canada and worldwide, Amnesty’s over-the-top and wildly inaccurate rhetoric, including fabrications of apartheid and ethnic cleansing, are certain to embolden those already predisposed towards Jew-hatred.”
- The President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, and the Chair of Britain’s Jewish Leadership Council, Keith Black, wrote: “At a time of rising attacks on Jews around the world, Amnesty’s report is not just an attack on the state of Israel. It is an attack on the very concept and existence of Jewish sovereignty and on the Jewish people. Its misrepresentation and twisting of reality will reliably stir up and inflame hatred where Jews are most vulnerable. But as we have seen in Yemen, the rights and welfare of Jews are of little interest to this organisation. By this report, Amnesty has shown that it is not worthy to bear the name of a once noble enterprise.”
Commentators have identified examples of the falsity of the report:
- Professor Cary Nelson, Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, argues in Fathom that Amnesty International’s report, by reducing a complex, political, national question involving two victim peoples to a simplistic morality play about ‘racism’ distorts the origins of the conflict and makes a balanced and prudential approach to its resolution impossible. Amnesty, he says, are race-baiting. And by indicting Judaism itself as a racist supremacism, the organization has crossed a line into antisemitism.
- Referring to an earlier analysis by Josh Kern and Anne Herzberg, under the heading “Amnesty’s legal claims”, NGO Monitor points out how the report distorts the very terms of the definitions given to apartheid in international instruments in order to cover the report’s (false) portrayal of Israel. The distortion is manifest and it seems clear that it is deliberately dishonest.
- A Mishpacha article by Rabbi Dr Moshe Goldfeder also notes Amnesty International’s distortion of the definitions of apartheid in international legal instruments and points out that the concoction of a special definition of “apartheid” to catch the Jewish state is itself an antisemitic action.
- Dr Alex Safian, Research Director of CAMERA, demonstrates the falsity of the report’s claims of land discrimination and dispossession. He also addresses the report’s misleading claims relating to Israel’s Law of Return; its omission of a highly material sentence from a quotation of former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu; and an allegation that a Palestinian medic was willfully killed that ignores evidence to the contrary.
- Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and Keith Black, Chair of Britain’s Jewish Leadership Council, point out that the report’s misleading claims regarding infant mortality are a travesty of the true position, which is that Israel has an outstanding record of reducing infant mortality and extending life expectancy of both Arab Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Further statistics on the extraordinary improvements in the health and welfare of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip under Israeli rule are contained in an earlier article by Professor Efraim Karsh.
- Bassem Eid, Jerusalem-based political analyst and Palestinian human rights activist, tweeted, “Amnesty International is lying about Israel. As a Palestinian peace activist and founder of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, I’m here to set the record straight: Israel is not an apartheid state.”
- Yoseph Haddad, an Israeli Arab and CEO of the NGO, Together – Vouch for Each Other, wrote in the Jewish Chronicle: “As much as some may wish to use terms taken from other times to deem Israel an illegitimate country, a lie is a lie and reality cannot be distorted. Israel offers equal rights to all its citizens, regardless of religion or ethnic origin. This is not just the letter of the law but also the practice – and you will find Israeli Arabs across Israeli society, in hospitals, courts and high-tech companies virtually everywhere. Even within the Israeli government! According to Amnesty, Esawi Frej, the Israeli Minister for Regional Cooperation, is a citizen under an apartheid regime. Just as with Salman Zarka, Israel’s Covid Czar. One cannot forget Osila Abu Assad, who just yesterday was appointed Israeli District Court judge, or the chairman of Bank Leumi, the largest bank in Israel, Samer Haj Yahya, all of whom are Arabs, allegedly living under apartheid rule.”
- In another article with the Jerusalem Post, Yoseph Haddad wrote, “I can’t stand by and let these lies be spread by organizations like Amnesty International for its own political gain. The accusation of “apartheid” is a serious one and should never be used as a political tool to demonize a country that you don’t like.” He also drew attention to a poll showing that 81% of Israeli Arabs prefer to live in Israel over living in the US or in any other Western country. “Our organisation has similarly mentioned a Palestinian poll showing that 93% of Palestinians in East Jerusalem prefer to live under Israeli rule than under the Palestinian Authority.”
- Lorena Khateeb, a member of Israel’s Druze minority and social media officer for Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted, “As an Israeli Arab citizen, I condemn @amnesty report. I grew up studying and working with Muslim Christians, Druze and Jews, we all put together the Israeli puzzle, despite the challenges, we enjoy equal rights and even work to fix what is not.”
- Amjad Taha, a British-Bahraini social media influencer, tweeted, “We just visited #Israel and saw the state’s harmonious coexistence of many ethnic groups. Arabs, Muslims, Druze, and Christians participated freely in all enterprises. We saw Palestinians living in peace and prosperity in East Jerusalem. The #Amnesty report is a forgery #AmnestyLies.”
- Dan Diker, Research Fellow and Director of the Program to Counter Political Warfare and BDS, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs stated, “Arafat Used the Apartheid Israel Smear but it goes back even Further”
- As described in a report by David Collier published in December 2019, ultimately, the mendacity of the report stems from the extreme bias of the personnel engaged by Amnesty International. We suspect that David Collier’s report was brought to the attention of Amnesty International at that time, yet no action appears to have been taken to remedy the serious matters which it sets out.
The Amnesty International report contains numerous other false and misleading statements. We reserve the possibility of preparing a fuller analysis if the Charity Commission tells us that this would assist their examination. However, the analyses and comments mentioned above should suffice to show its impropriety and public disbenefit, and should prompt an investigation of the conduct of the Trustees of the Amnesty International Charities in sponsoring it.
We note that a petition to withdraw charitable status from Amnesty International charities in view of the report has so far received more than 2000 signatures, and that political figures have suggested that the Charity Commission should investigate:
- Michael Fabricant MP, member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Israel, told the Jewish Chronicle: “Some of the statements made by Amnesty International are highly questionable, if not immoral, and this is something the Charity Commission needs urgently to look at.”
- Lord Carlile, the former government reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation, stated: “As a lifelong Amnesty supporter, I am disappointed they have produced a report that is so overtly political and can only cause damage to the efforts being made by governments and individuals to secure conciliation between Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of Israel. This is on the very edge of their permissible role as a charity.”
“Projecting Malice, the Classic Antisemitic Trope: Amnesty International’s Apartheid Report”
Richard Landes, Professor Emeritus, Boston University; ISGAP Senior Research Fellow
Many have commented on the systematic effort of Amnesty International’s Apartheid Report to stigmatize Israel, to stretch beyond recognition of the definition of “Apartheid” and “race” in order to accuse Israel of “crimes against humanity.” It is worth noting that this effort is unparalleled in Amnesty’s research on other countries, where the documentation most often speaks for itself, and terms like “intention” and “deliberation” are sprinkled liberally without the need to justify their use. In the case of Israel, the need to prove intent is primary: The Report proves Apartheid “by first establishing Israel’s intent to oppress and dominate all Palestinians.”
This language, unfortunately, offers disturbing similarities with other patterns of “racialized” Jew-hatred; namely, the long and pervasive practice among antisemites of projecting onto the Jews (in this case, the Israelis), a defining and abiding malice towards gentiles. The Jews, so this widespread tendency runs, consider their chosenness as a warrant to exploit, enslave and rule over gentiles. It is at once a profound misreading of chosenness (a responsibility to bring blessings to all the families of the earth), and most often a projection of what the accuser believes chosenness means. This pattern characterized the Nazis, who even as they aimed in the most brutal fashion to conquer the world and enslave inferior races, projected that malevolent intention to the Jews. Their warrant for genocide? The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a text written by an antisemitic gentile in the voice of the Jew, projecting the merciless mentality that had characterized much of gentile politics for millennia. Today, it is a central element in the apocalyptic ideologies of Global Jihad.
This projection of malevolence shapes and frames AI’s report from the very opening assertions: “Intent to Oppress and Dominate Palestinians” (14-15). This intent to commit a crime, mens rea (57), is key to the application of the label “Apartheid” and the legal implications such a label carries: “a crime against humanity.” Admitting that they cannot find any explicit evidence of deliberate intent (as opposed to the case of South Africa), they nonetheless insist that it may be “inferred from the facts” (58). And so, every time Israel places restrictions on Palestinian lives, it is, a priori, with malevolent intent. Then the term “oppress and dominate” appears sixteen times in the report, as if repetition were proof.
Having looked exclusively at the “facts” about Israel’s effort to restrict the Palestinians, with no consideration of the group being so restricted, by insisting on a racial definition (pure identity, behavior irrelevant), and not on the political culture that operates within Palestinian society, the AI report literally erases the very part of the picture that can explain Israeli behavior from their point of view; that understands Israelis as a people struggling with problems, rather than as malevolent, racist oppressors. However strategically or tactically mistaken one might consider it, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians makes most sense as a series of defensive moves against the cultivated hatred of its sworn enemies. Morally, however, this is far-removed from the embedded malice Amnesty finds everywhere, an attribution of malevolence that slots effortlessly into the Protocols projection: Jews want to dominate gentiles.
The irony, predictably, of this accusation is that one need not “infer from facts” (although one easily could) that Israel’s most implacable enemy among its implacable enemies, Hamas, is just as explicit in its intentions vis-à-vis the “Israeli race” as the South Afrikans were in their legislating “Apartheid” against black Africans. Indeed, by comparison with the South African White Supremacists, the explicit, intentional goals that Hamas (and the religious appointees of the Palestinian Authority (PA)), preach repeatedly from mosques and on television, is not the subjection, but the extermination of the Jewish race, “sons of pigs and monkeys,” the world over. Not even Nazi priests and ministers so openly preached genocide. And yet our own media do not inform us about it.
Nor is this malice confined to the Palestinians. Today, the delirious apocalyptic projection of Jewish evil that drove the Nazis, is to be found most often among Muslims, where the Protocols have become a part of the culture, and are considered a sacred Jewish text. Ramadan specials “re-enact” the Jewish Elders using the blood of Muslim children, to seal their pact; and harrowing children’s cartoons depict Jews conspiring with Satan to betray the Prophet. And among global Jihadis, these genocidal apocalyptic hatreds burn brightest.
Thus, whether it intends to or not (mens rea – intent to commit the crime), the Amnesty Report accusing Israel of Apartheid and crimes against humanity, participates in a millennia-long, episodically convulsive, history of Jew-hatred. The Report offers legal and “factual” analysis that permits making Israel a pariah nation (a primary Amnesty and Palestinian goal). In so doing, without explicitly making the link, it offers an “empirical” version of the Holocaust Inversion narrative in which the (innocent) Palestinians are the new Jews, and the (guilty) Israelis the new Nazis.
In so doing, the Report feeds the paranoid, genocidal drives of groups like Hamas, the PA, the Global Jihadis, even as it draws a curtain over their activity. At once, they take the side of those who explicitly wish to finish Hitler’s job, the inheritors of the Nazis, and at the same time, accuse Israel of being more cruel, racist, and oppressive than the Nazis. The report shows neither understanding nor compassion towards the Israelis; and shows no awareness of the mens rea of Palestinian leadership whose people’s lives the Israelis unfortunately restrict. It is a paragon of lack of empathy and moral integrity on the one hand, and a recipe for violence and humanitarian catastrophe for both Israelis and Palestinians were it taken seriously.
Amnesty International proclaims its admirable goal. They wish to:
“mobilize the humanity in everyone and campaign for change so we can all enjoy our human rights… We believe that acting in solidarity and compassion with people everywhere can change our societies for the better.”
In the history of a “human rights” organization with such aspirations, this remorselessly uncompassionate report marks a dark day indeed.