This week Amnesty International delivered itself of a 278-page attack on Israel, using terminology and analytic approaches it applies to no other country on earth.
This language of this vile “report” is reminiscent of Soviet-era assaults on the legitimacy of the Jewish State, as I pointed out by quoting a front-page 1983 article in Pravda in the analysis I did for National Review entitled “Amnesty International Joins the Anti-Israel Jackals.”
What’s so bad, what’s so unfair, about the Amnesty document? A deep insight into the thinking of Amnesty’s top officials is revealed in the interview the top two—Secretary General Agnes Callimard and Middle East and North Africa “research and advocacy director” Philip Luther-- gave to The Times of Israel. It is a brilliant interview by the newspaper, well worth reading here, revealing Amnesty’s thinking.
Look at this excerpt:
You include a very specific number in the report – exactly 225,178 Jewish Israeli settlers living illegally in East Jerusalem. Where is the line on the ground between a Jewish Israeli living legitimately in Jerusalem, and illegitimately?
Luther: Well, what we’re talking about are settlements that are illegal under international law, and that are on occupied Palestinian territory.
So where is that? What is the dividing line?
Luther: The [pre-1967] green line.
So a Jew living in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City is counted here [in your report] and is living in an illegal settlement?
Luther: The specific figures I’d have to go to… they’re all footnoted…
On principle, a Jew living in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem…
Luther: No, in Jewish settlements. Illegal settlements in the sense that they have been moved in there, those constructions have been built in order to facilitate settlers on occupied Palestinian land.
Does that include the Jewish Quarter?
Luther: The Jewish Quarter, as you know, there are many Jews who have been there for generations.
Also in Hebron. The Jewish Quarter is over the Green Line, and I’m trying to understand if this figure, this very specific figure that you put in the report, includes the Jewish Quarter of East Jerusalem.
Luther: I need to get back to you on exactly what it includes because I don’t know that level of detail in terms of what that footnote referred to. But what we are referring to in terms of what we are considering problematic is the establishment of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, and that is referred to as East Jerusalem and the West Bank. I don’t want to get drawn in terms of what exactly that figure is because I don’t know off the top of my head.
But you gave a very specific figure.
Luther: No, I know we have a specific figure. But it’s in the report in terms of why.
But it’s conceivable that Jews living in the Jewish Quarter are considered by the report [to be] illegally living there?
Luther: The reality in terms of what is considered occupied Palestinian territory is that, yes, the Old City is in East Jerusalem….
If I go anywhere over the Green Line and I buy a house, am I now a settler living illegally in East Jerusalem?
Who transferred me?
Luther: The state has facilitated you doing it.
Luther: By constructing housing there.
I’m buying a house that is 300 years old.
Luther: Now we’re getting into really fine detail.
Luther bobs and weaves but cannot deny it: according to Amnesty, a Jew living in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem is a settler, participating no doubt in the “racism,” “apartheid,” “oppression,” and “domination” of which Israel is accused and condemned by Amnesty in its report.
So Amnesty, as I wrote in National Review, truly has joined the jackals. Its complaints relate repeatedly to 1948, not 1967 when Israel conquered East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Amnesty’s argument is that the State of Israel is from its founding illegitimate, not that settlements are a bad thing. For those who thought Amnesty was an organization conscientiously working to free political prisoners, this report shows the fallacy of that view. Amnesty now leads fundamental attacks on the very existence of the State of Israel. As The Times of Israel interview points out, the term apartheid has never been applied by Amnesty to the condition of Kurds in Turkey or Uighurs in China; only Israel gets this treatment.