Amnesty International Exposes the Man Behind the Curtain

Few who have followed the activity of Amnesty International and other similar organizations in recent years had reason for surprise when it issued a lengthy and tendentious report accusing Israel of implementing systematic “apartheid” against Palestinians. But something deeply revealing happened when the Israeli journalist Lazar Berman interviewed the group’s secretary general, Agnes Callamard, and its Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director, Philip Luther. While Berman’s questions were straightforward and even predictable, the two interviewees were at a complete loss to answer them cogently.

Shany Mor comments:

Luther . . . says Israel has actually managed to “shut down scrutiny using the power of its relationships” and charges that the UN is actually a locus of inaction because Israel “has influence over powerful allies who then manage to stop it, stop the scrutiny.” And that of course is the appeal of anti-Israel activism in the West: the sincerely held belief that by engaging in it you are somehow standing up to dark, powerful forces at home. There’s a word for this pathology.

Besides the conspiratorial tone (there would be more of that in the interview), it’s an odd claim to make when elsewhere Luther argues that Amnesty can’t investigate other countries for the crime of apartheid precisely because they, unlike Israel, are actually able to stop scrutiny of their actions.

That’s not even the furthest extreme of Luther’s conspiratorial claims. Later in the interview he claims that what makes it hard to see the apartheid in Israel is the “smokescreen” created by Israel’s “democratic system” and “judicial institutions.” These, according to Luther, “make it challenging to disentangle” the picture of the apartheid he and others claim to have found. What he refers to as “the Israeli state” is “a driver of complexity and a driver of resources unnecessarily spent on investigations by anybody.”

These passages were rightfully mocked online, but it’s worth pausing over what he is saying and the psychological process he is describing. He knows Israel—ahem, “the Israeli state”—is guilty of not just committing a grievous crime but of being a grievous crime. But what he observes are a complex set of practices and institutions that don’t quite appear to be the unvarnished evil he knows is there, and to him this is not cause to revisit his assumptions, but actually further proof of just how nefarious the “Israeli state” is.

Read more at Fathom

More about: Amnesty International, Anti-Semitism, Human Rights

Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security