Understanding Amnesty International’s Campaign against Israel

While the claim that that the Jewish state is somehow equivalent to pre-1990s South Africa is an old one, Amnesty International announced the publication of its 278-page report repeating this canard with much fanfare. Justin Danilewitz observes that there is much more at stake than its incoherent arguments and mangling of the facts:

I was born and raised in South Africa during apartheid. Those of us who witnessed that crime up close—to say nothing of our compatriots who were its immediate victims—know full well that the political status of Israel’s Arab citizens bears no resemblance in any imaginable way to that of blacks who suffered for 45 years under a monstrous system. Despite the socioeconomic inequity that exists in Israel (as in every other country), Israeli Arabs are promised by law the full panoply of political and civic rights that were denied non-white South Africans. Any comparison is a perversion of history, reason, and morality. It is an offense to the victims of apartheid. And it is a slander against the state of Israel.

Yet the report’s authors themselves admit that it “does not seek to argue” that Israel’s “system of domination and oppression” is “the same or analogous to the system” that existed in apartheid-era South Africa. What then is the purpose of this new campaign, besides an elaborate publicity stunt? The answer becomes clear in Amnesty’s suggested remedies, which include granting the “right of return” to Palestinian refugees (a “right” not recognized for any other people or group); the trying of Israel by international legal bodies; and boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.

Any differences between this platform and those of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine are purely cosmetic, not substantive. Amnesty’s recommendations come packaged in a glossy and colorful report, but this is legal warfare (“lawfare,” as some have aptly called it) against the Jewish state. The goal, unmistakably, is the destruction of Israel. . . . Lest there be any mistake about this, Amnesty’s U.S. director, Paul O’Brien, declared before an audience in March that Israel “shouldn’t exist as a Jewish state.”

Finally, the human-rights organizations that have internalized the Palestinian narrative, and now aid and abet international lawfare, do the Palestinians more harm than good. [Their approach] furnishes maximalist Palestinian leaders with sham legitimacy and institutional cover to wage war and keep their people in misery.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Amnesty International, Anti-Semitism, apartheid, Lawfare


Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University