by Jake Wallis Simons
Wednesday, 2
February 2022
Analysis
07:30

Amnesty publishes yet another anti-Israel report

This time the charity group accused the country of 'apartheid'
by Jake Wallis Simons
The front page of Amnesty’s Israel report

Amnesty International has continued its long-standing campaign against Israel with its most recent report, accusing the country of “apartheid” and committing crimes against humanity.

In the report, Amnesty concluded that Arabs in Israel and the Palestinian territories were treated as an “inferior racial group and systematically deprived of their rights”. They were forced to live with “cruel policies of segregation, dispossession and exclusion” that amounted to “crimes against humanity”, the report said.

Issawi Frej, Israel’s second-ever Muslim government minister, responded to the report by tweeting: “Israel has a lot of problems that must be solved, but Israel is not an apartheid state.” He was right. And he, after all, should know.

There is no space here to address every one of the untruths, half-truths and exaggerations that form the tissue of Amnesty’s pernicious document. But even the briefest look at Israel’s prominent Arab citizens will allow one to conclude that the “apartheid” claims are poppycock. 

Ironically enough, the same week that the Amnesty report was published, Osila Abu Assad, from Nazareth, became the first female Arab judge to be elevated to an Israeli district court. She was one of six Arabs appointed to important positions in the judiciary this week, half of them women. 

This is a country in which an Arab judge has presided over the prosecution of a former Prime Minister. The chairman of Bank Leumi, the largest bank in Israel, is an Arab, as is Israel’s Covid czar. Arab Christians in Israel consistently perform far better in education than their Jewish counterparts. And in 2019, thousands of people attended the funeral of Ayman Sofia, the prominent gay, Arab-Israeli ballet dancer, who had drowned while trying to rescue a friend. It is impossible to imagine this taking place anywhere else in the Middle East.

If this is apartheid, then clearly we need a new word to describe the former regime in South Africa.

High-flyers aside, it is true that Arab Israelis generally occupy a lower socio-economic position than their Jewish compatriots. They also receive less state investment, in education in particular, and crime rates in Arab communities are high. These are social problems that must be fixed, something the government is working on. Given the domestic unrest in Arab areas last May, many maintain that the government is not acting quickly enough (I have argued this myself). But this does not amount to apartheid, any more than similar problems do in Britain.

It is also true that Palestinians living on the West Bank can be subjected to invasive Israeli security measures, such as checkpoints on certain roads or violent detention. This can be demoralising and oppressive for Palestinians. Many in Israel, such as the public intellectual Micah Goodman — a friend of Naftali Bennett — have advocated for such measures to be relaxed where possible. 

Nevertheless, the threat of terror attacks in Israel is real, and claims many lives each year. Who in their right mind would argue for Israel to lift security controls in a way that puts its own civilians at risk?

The real question is why Amnesty is so overwhelmingly concerned with Israel — the sole outpost of democracy, gay rights, the rule of law and equality for women in the Middle East — while giving comparatively little attention to the truly despotic regimes around the world.

In the last five years, Amnesty has released six reports criticising North Korea. By comparison, 50 have targeted Israel. I know which country I’d rather live in. Moreover, the group has barely mentioned the extensive human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories — where Jews are banned from living and working. Which is really the more divided society?

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Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
6 months ago

Amnesty lost its way a long time ago. I used to be a supporter of its work when it’s work was advocating for prisoners of conscience; it then started to criticise some western nations, often not unjustly, but the criticism became more and more politicised and, frankly, anti-western as it picked up fashionable causes. All its adverting stresses its work supporting prisoners of conscience, but it has long expanded its remit and its primary mission seems to have taken a back seat – perhaps that mission was too difficult and it decided to turn it’s attention to easier targets,

I have often been critical of some of Israel’s policies, especially its occupation of Arab lands on the West Bank and the expanding Jewish settlements, however, I found this article heartening; I was unaware of the strides that Israel had taken to integrate its Arab population, and really please to hear about them. Even though I might have critisms of Israel, if I had to live in the Middle East I would choose Israel over any other country there.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
6 months ago

Rather coincidentally, Whoopi Goldberg’s latest pronouncements on the Holocaust not being driven by racism nicely illustrates your point. Amnesty has lost its perspective in the last 20 years or so as it has chosen to target the west over the far worse behaviour of other countries, and it’s blind spot on the Jews is the apotheosis of this political ignorance.
Thus I can say:
Amnesty International is the Whoopi Goldberg of human rights lobbying groups.

Last edited 6 months ago by Ian Stewart
Samir Iker
Samir Iker
6 months ago

On order to satisfy Amnesty, Israel should treat muslims the way Hindus are treated in Pakistan, Armenians are treated in Turkey or Kurds are treated by practically everyone .

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
6 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Oddly enough it doesn’t seem to stop Armenians from immigrating to Turkey.

andrew harman
andrew harman
6 months ago

There is so much implicit anti-Semitism amongst the “liberal” establishment, of which we have to say AI is a part.
Just been listening to a discussion about the alleged rape case in Cyprus and the woman defending the victim, assuming she was, kept referring to “these Israeli men”. Would she have done so if they were Pakistani, or Chinese?

George Glashan
George Glashan
6 months ago
Reply to  andrew harman

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/27/black-people-were-hitlers-victims-too-that-must-not-be-forgotten
this was Guardianlands attempt at a Holocaust day remembrance piece. To be honest I’m surprised they remembered at all. Read at your own risk, its full of that implicit Anti-Semitism, although this leads to the bizarre implication in the article that the reason the Nazi’s were racist wasn’t because of the 6 million Jews they exterminated, but because they refused to include Black people in that extermination, if only they had been racially inclusive exterminators. If i was going to satirise the Guardians Anti-Semitism even i wouldn’t have thought to AllLivesMatter the holocaust.
The antisemitism is now hardwired into these institutions, they can’t be salvaged only scrapped.

Last edited 6 months ago by George Glashan
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
6 months ago
Reply to  George Glashan

I’ve just looked at the article (thanks for the link). The gist appears to be we mustn’t forget people of African ancestry’s ‘pain and suffering’ because they were discriminated against in Nazi Germany, even though they weren’t rounded up for mass extermination. An extraordinary argument that leaves out the word ‘thankfully’.

George Glashan
George Glashan
6 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

thanks Judy, yours is a far more charitable interpretation, mines is the least charitable. For me its the context which damns’ them, it was Holocaust remembrance day, the only article The Grievance put up to commemorate the event is one which calls to specifically remember people who weren’t actually victims of the holocaust. the Nazi’;s did also abhorrently treat blacks, gypsies, gays etc. but I think the timing and premise of the article is a calculated insult against Jews.
The equivalent,, which the Guardian would never ever print, would be on the anniversary of George Floyds death to release an article saying : we need to remember the real victims of police brutality – white people.
there’s a good article Andrea Re posted somewhere on unherd today. it probably doesn’t say anything you aren’t already aware of, and im not sold on its conclusions but it is a good first person account of CRT / antisemitism in academia.

https://sapirjournal.org/social-justice/2021/05/critical-race-theory-and-the-hyper-white-jew/

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
6 months ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Yes, there’s a sense of disappointment in the article that black people were NOT part of the Holocaust.

James Joyce
James Joyce
6 months ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Question for my British friends: is The Guardian your equivalent of The Onion, a fake, satirical newspaper?
Forgive me if I fail to notice a distinction….

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
6 months ago
Reply to  andrew harman

The answer to your rhetorical question is I sincerely hope so!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
6 months ago
Reply to  andrew harman

On the other hand we condemn on Unherd comments the failure to refer to Asian, or Pakistani, grooming gangs that were so prolific in the U.K.
These ‘Israeli men’ brought shame on their people and in this instance the country of Israel, which intervened to help them escape and protect them from the consequences of their appalling actions.
One should never excuse rapists, regardless of origins.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
6 months ago

It’s very simple. Jewish people and white people are safe targets for racists who want to vent their hatred in comfort.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
6 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Aren’t Jewish people white? The way you put implies they are not.

Last edited 6 months ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
Mirax Path
Mirax Path
6 months ago

Are the Palestinians white?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
6 months ago

I can supply the Nazis charts that were used to define their race if you really need that Lesson 101 on racism – though I think you’re being ironic?

Last edited 6 months ago by Ian Stewart
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
6 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Correct ,I was being unnecessarily pedantic about the syntax of Julian Farrows earlier remark.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
6 months ago

Wow really appreciate this article Unherd for future reference re the anti-Israel and anti-semite commenters! Some of whom can’t tell the difference and lapse quite casually, or ignorantly, from being anti-Israel into anti-semitism.

Last edited 6 months ago by Ian Stewart
Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
6 months ago

As I remember it, the centre-left were once very pro-Israel: there was enormous sympathy for Jewish people after the holocaust, and we all admired how they ‘made the desert bloom’, created those kibbutzim, which seemed a form of socialism, and defended themselves from the perfidious Arabs.
So what changed the left’s view? I proposed in my earlier comment that it was coming to be be seen as a tool of the U.S.A., and their policy of constantly extending Jewish settlements onto Palestinian land.

From the comments I still haven’t learned why people think the left became anti-Israel, and how they justify the ever-expanding settlements. I’m not arguing, I really do want to know what people think.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
6 months ago

Meddlesome forces in the world wish to keep the world unstable, and this one keeps an entire region, and Religion, stirred up. Gives divisive sides to clash in all the West and MENA.

Only the West wants peace and prosperity there, the Global Elites, the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the Salafists, – they all want chaos as it aids their goals. The lefties have always been the useful Idiots of anyone who wishes harm to the West, and parts of the world.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
6 months ago

Most of these lobby groups devolve into get paid scams in the fullness of time.
And theres no pay in highlighting poor country problems.

Samuel Best
Samuel Best
6 months ago

Why do so many readers refuse to accept that the State of Israel is an oppressive occupier of Palestinian destiny? It doesn’t take much time to uncover the false image that the State of Israel has honed so finely. After exposure all becomes clear – no one cares about the continued denial of human rights of Palestinians. Amnesty got it right but no one is prepared to face the truth.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
6 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Best

You just described every state in the world, they are all based on the winners society at some point in their historical record.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
6 months ago

Deuteronomy 7: 4-5.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
6 months ago

What is wrong with that? It’s the Bible for God’s sake! The supreme one, the one who can do no wrong, etc, etc,, n’est pas?

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
6 months ago

“The real question is why Amnesty is so overwhelmingly concerned with Israel “. That’s an interesting question. Is it because we feel that Israel sort of represents us? Created partly by our imperial meddling, assisted militarily by us as a sort of western outpost in a hostile area? So, we’re very happy that Israel is “the sole outpost of democracy, gay rights, the rule of law and equality for women in the Middle East” but annoyed that it keeps pushing these ‘Jewish settlements’ onto Palestinian land, which seems to make any sort of settlement with the Palestinians recede into the distant future.

Mirax Path
Mirax Path
6 months ago

It is an easy target for bullies and busybodies. I can name dozens of countries committing egregious human rights violations but they never create as much excitement as the jews.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago

The comments so far are all about anti-Semitism which is totally irrelevant to the issue. If I criticize Britain’s policies does that make me anti-Christian? If I criticize Ireland am I anti-Catholic: how about if I criticize RC priests abusing children? Surely that makes me anti-Catholic, right? Wrong!
We criticize China for its abuse of the Uiygars and Tibetians why? Because we’re anti-Buddhist? What a load of old crap!
Of course playing the anti-semitism card is the oldest trick in the Zionist book: to deflect attention away from their murderous, apartheid, thieving regime.
Imagine having separate roads in the UK for Muslim citizens to use because of the terror attacks the UK has suffered! Or even more relevant imagine English people stealing Welsh owned land in Wales! And forcing the Welsh to use separate roads to the English in Wales! And if Welsh separatists commit acts of terrorism the English arrest, torture and murder Welsh boys! And bomb Welsh hospitals and schools: and bulldoze homes in reprisal!
If you can imagine such things then you get a hliimpse of what it means to live as a Palestinian in that horrible apartheid Zionist regime.
It’s hard to fathom how decent people still support that filthy wicked regime when even decent Jews in occupied Palestine and around the world have themselves condemned the Israeli wrongdoing so unequivocally!

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

It’s called anti-Semitism because that is exactly what it is. Do you think that every time Israel is attacked and retaliates, that people elsewhere think of these people only as Israelis? Maybe when we see anti-Semitism play out in the West, somehow these people are seen as Israelis and not just Jews? Hahaha….
Talking of ‘filthy wicked regimes’ I can think of many filthier, more wicked regimes who are really close to Israel and have considered themselves enemies of Israel from the get go.
Further as a South African who has been to Israel, I can assure you that apartheid in South Africa was a horse of a different colour.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
6 months ago

He seems to think China is a Buddhist country.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

This is an irrelevant comment until you can describe what Israel’s alternative options might look like…..

Mirax Path
Mirax Path
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Filthy wicked “regime” ooh aah. Dont get too excited, you give yourself away and people like you are why I am so resolutely zionist.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Jeez it’s handy to see where you’re coming from for context on your comments in future.

R Wright
R Wright
6 months ago

No mention of the giant west bank border wall in here then? The apartheid in Israel is far more visible than in 80s South Africa where all one needed was a pass. I find it interesting how successfully the Israeli manage foreign public opinion compared to the white Saffers

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
6 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Don’t mention the Wall!

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
6 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

The ‘border wall’, much of it a fence, is to keep terrorists out. It was built following the mass murders of the ‘2nd Intifada’ in which children and teenagers were targeted in pizza houses, busses and nightclubs. The death and injured toll was so large in this tiny country that few people did not know someone who was caught up in these attacks. Since the barrier was built the terror murders have virtually disappeared. It was terrorism, not a desire for apartheid, that motivated the erection of the barrier. Before it was built West Bank Arabs visited the seaside in Israel, and Israeli Jews and Arabs visited West Bank markets. The barrier was an awful necessity that has saved Jewish and Arab lives. So cease your apartheid libel.

Last edited 6 months ago by Judy Englander
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
6 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Perhaps we should have built one in Northern Ireland to protect against US funded terrorism ?

Last edited 6 months ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
6 months ago

Deaths and wounding from terrorism during the ‘Troubles’ as a percentage of the population didn’t approach the percentage in Israel during the 2nd Intifada.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
6 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Not over the 25 year killing spree I wholeheartedly agree.
However between the years 1971-1977 it certainly did.

Additionally had the conflict occurred in the USA it would have meant a ‘body count’ of over 600,000.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago

The number of bombings and shootings in Northern Ireland in the early 1970’s was astoundingly high. In one year it in excess of 3,000

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
6 months ago

Yes that would be ‘72.
However as we all know from a US perspective Israel can do no wrong, whilst the Brits are hell personified!

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
6 months ago

Actually, ‘peace walls’ were built in some areas of N. Ireland to keep the two communities apart (Wiki).

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
6 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Yes, but that wasn’t the problem after late 1970.
Incidentally you may care double check your figures for the Second Intifada versus Northern Ireland.
However in reality both the IDF & British Army faced a very similar problem, and reacted accordingly. Some might say they were, in the long run a little too circumspect, but at least Peace prevails, for now!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
6 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

And observation towers and bases were all over the border too.

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
6 months ago

We did, the Belfast Peace Wall. It’s still there. Who it was built to protect is probably slightly less obvious. Both sides from each other is the probable answer.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Wylde

Yes, agreed but I was think of something grander on the scale of perhaps Hadrian or the contemporary Israeli Wall.

Something that would have shut off South Armagh, the Bogside, Creggan, Falls, New Lodge, Ballymurphy and all other such Fenian nests.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
6 months ago

In places we did! My son drove a 4-tonner loaded with cement and it was a bombed by the IRA. My son was shaken but not deterred. The Sergeant and Corporal in charge of the section were in the lead landrover and were killed.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
6 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

They know you’re right Judy. They’ve chosen to live deluded lives and have no idea how insane they are. Why are you waisting your time with such insanity?

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
6 months ago

It’s not for them, Jonathan. It’s for all the nameless ones who come here to read and may like to see answers to these hostile comments.

R Wright
R Wright
6 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I didn’t say that it couldn’t be justified on practical grounds, in the same way the white Saffers sought to do, merely that the double standards and mental gymnastics involved in justifying it is intriguing. The convulsive tribalistic leaping into the rhetorical fray by many on the ‘boomer’ right to protect Israel’s good name just makes me suspicious.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
6 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Countless boomers were liberal – it kind of defined the age. Pity that a pile of wokesters came along and hijacked the word ‘liberal’ and used it as a front for an illiberal agenda.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Isn’t it interesting how anyone expressing that is even slightly negative about Israel gets voted down far more than anyone seems to on any other subject. Do you think there might be something organised about this?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago

Seems to prove my point

Mirax Path
Mirax Path
6 months ago

I voted you down and I am neither bot nor hasbara. What now?

JP Martin
JP Martin
6 months ago
Reply to  Mirax Path

Yes, whenever my comments get downvoted I blame it on the Zionist conspiracy too

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago
Reply to  Mirax Path

Russell Hamilton was down voted a net 18 times for the innocuous observation
“The real question is why Amnesty is so overwhelmingly concerned with Israel “. That’s an interesting question. Is it because we feel that Israel sort of represents us? Created partly by our imperial meddling, assisted militarily by us as a sort of western outpost in a hostile area? So, we’re very happy that Israel is “the sole outpost of democracy, gay rights, the rule of law and equality for women in the Middle East” but annoyed that it keeps pushing these ‘Jewish settlements’ onto Palestinian land, which seems to make any sort of settlement with the Palestinians recede into the distant future.”
I have never seen such an innocuous downvoted to this degree
Liam O’Mahony got downvoted a net 22 times for a slightly more contentious comment which is again unusual by Unherd standards.

All very odd

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
6 months ago

I have to say I think the downvoting of Russell’s comment is unfair. It’s a considered comment and not the usual kneejerk anti-Israel trope. I disagree with most of it but I wasn’t one of the downvoters.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Like I say, all very odd. Just like the voting in the US presidential election.
Also this is not a minor issue

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
6 months ago

Yes it is really odd isn’t it – a secret cabal targeting comments to support Israel. Who could it be?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Iran of course

Geoffrey Wilson
Geoffrey Wilson
6 months ago

No nobody organised me to downvote your comment. The article was about Amnesty International and its report that surely nobody could say was “slightly negative about Israel”. If you had put some sort of argument for example countering any of the points in the article, I would not have downvoted you.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
6 months ago

It isn’t expressing “slightly negative” views about Israel, it’s the hypocrisy and disguised anti semitism.
What is interesting is there are so many rights activities, UN resolutions etc – all condemning how Israel acts against people who openly state they wish Israel to not exist and commit terror acts against it.

But those same people are utterly silent about the Armenian genocide, the Hindu genocide in Pakistan, Tibet….

Forget all those, Jews driven out of their homes, deprived of all they owned, from Arab majority countries outnumbered Palestinian refugees in 1948.
Funny how our human rights gangs “not antisemitic at all, honest” never care about them, eh?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

And that’s the problem.
Anything that you do not like is automatically anti Semitism and the guns are bought to bear.
I did not see anything remotely anti-Semetic in the comment

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
6 months ago

Really interesting? Isn’t it more interesting how anti-semites suggest in all sorts of ways that Jews run the world. You’ve been found out, so you’re being downvoted.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Again you prove my point

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
6 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Rubbish. Just rubbish. Apartheid in South Africa certainly extended to where you could live, what beaches you could go to, where you could work, where you could sit on public transport, where you could go to school, whom you could date or marry and and I could go on.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
6 months ago

He knows all that very well. Yet he persists with his delusion.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
6 months ago

What’s wrong with that?
Daniel Malian won fair and square in 1948.. “To the Victor the spoils”.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
6 months ago

Who is Daniel Malian?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
6 months ago

Should be MALAN, Daniel Francois, fourth PM of South Africa.

However the wretched ‘gremlin’ who lives in my I-Pad thought differently and for some reason I was unable to change/edit it!