Earlier this month, Amnesty International released this report accusing Israel of apartheid.
They were probably expecting it to dominate the news and be the topic of conversation for days, if not weeks. But that didn’t happen.
Let’s look at what did happen.
Many Arab-Israelis, including Arab-Israeli lawmaker and Ra’am party head Mansour Abbas rejected it. One -activist Yoseph Haddad – even scared off Amnesty, who ran the other way when confronted with the prospect of debating him.
When the mainstream media did deal with it, some published op-eds in opposition – like the New York Post, who did not mince any words in its condemnation:
Amnesty International UK waited until after Holocaust Remembrance Day to publish its latest report on Israel — which depends on ignoring that history and Palestinian efforts to repeat it.
Expect the media to be all over it, since Amnesty is, for the first time, officially accusing Israel of “apartheid” (joining Human Rights Watch, which made the same obscene jump last year).
Anti-Zionist activists and politicians love using the word to smear Israel’s citizenship laws and national-security policies — to delegitimize the Jewish state by equating it with South Africa’s old racist regime.
Amnesty has only accused one other country of current apartheid policies, by the way: Myanmar, which is regularly genocidal against the Rohingya minority. Not China, Iran or Syria, which also seek to wipe out minority populations.
The report reviews Israel’s history since independence, pointing to a skein of examples that supposedly prove the “apartheid state” canard.
But what a lot of history Amnesty ignores. The Holocaust appears only in discussing Israel’s 1952 proffer of citizenship to any Jew who wanted it. It mentions “expulsion” — without noting, for example, Jews getting the boot from Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt.
Yasser Arafat does not appear. It mentions Hamas 25 times but no specifics of its political and military programs that openly aim at Israel’s annihilation. References to Egypt’s “tight” restrictions on the Rafah border crossing don’t explain the “why” — namely, that nation’s desire to prevent terror attacks on both sides of that border. It describes the unprovoked May 2021 indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli citizens as just “armed hostilities [breaking] out.”
Then, in what must have been hugely embarrassing for Amnesty, their own Israel chief went public with her strong criticism of it.
Things are going so badly for them, they are now offering a 90-minute online course titled Deconstructing Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians.
True, the haters predictably latched on to the report and tried to make a lot of noise. But it does not seem to have achieved much beyond galvanizing them in to even more firmly believing advocating for the destruction of the Jewish state is totally acceptable.
Update: How could I have forgotten this?
When Berman comes back to the UN issue one last time, Luther* gives perhaps the most astonishing response. He 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.
*Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director