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November 4, 2014 3:42 pm

Watchdog: Amnesty International Claims of Israeli ‘War Crimes’ Have No Credibility

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Cover of Amnesty International's report about the IDF. Photo: Screenshot / Haim Schwarczenberg.

"Trigger-Happy:" a recent Amnesty International report attacking the Israeli military. Photo: Screenshot / Haim Schwarczenberg.

As Amnesty International prepares for tomorrow’s release of a report that is expected to excoriate Israel for alleged war crimes committed during the summer 2014 war in Gaza, an influential Israeli monitoring organization is urging skepticism with regard to the claims made in the publication.

“Amnesty, which played a central role in the discredited UN Goldstone report of 2009, routinely minimizes the moral crimes of terrorist organizations, while baselessly alleging Israeli violations of international law,” said Professor Gerald Steinberg, the President of NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research and advocacy organization that counters anti-Israel propaganda from the numerous private advocacy groups covering the Palestinian conflict with Israel. “By granting Hamas virtual impunity, Amnesty empowers the terror group and its affiliates to commit more war crimes and atrocities.”

Citing admissions by senior Amnesty officials that their organization is ill-equipped to comment on military matters, NGO Monitor asserted that “Amnesty’s publications related to armed conflicts notably lack credibility. ”

For example, NGO Monitor said, “Amnesty’s Secretary General Salil Shetty acknowledged in a February 10 interview: ‘We are not an expert (sic) on military matters. So we don’t want to, kind of, pontificate on issues we don’t really understand.’ Yet Amnesty’s admitted lack of military expertise has not stopped the NGO from publishing hundreds of unfounded accusations against Israel’s military, including its most recent report.”

At the height of the most recent clashes in Gaza, the third such Israeli military operation since 2008, Amnesty’s U.S. branch called on the Obama Administration to immediately curb the supply of weapons to Israel.

“It is deeply cynical for the White House to condemn the deaths and injuries of Palestinians, including children, and humanitarian workers, when it knows full well that the Israeli military responsible for such attacks are armed to the teeth with weapons and equipment bankrolled by US taxpayers,” said Amnesty spokesman Brian Wood at the time.

“Amnesty’s claims had no validity when they were first made, without evidence, during the fighting, and they have no more credibility now, despite the façade of ‘research’ and ‘investigations,'” NGO Monitor’s Steinberg concluded.

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  • Repulsed by the crimes of Israel

    The “terrorists” are the Israelis who continue in their murder of Palestinians. The world is sick of your lies and your violence, backed-up by US warmongers. To use the crimes of the Holocaust as an excuse to turn the lives of others into a living hell is despicable and the world no longer tolerates Israel’s crimes. These people have no honour. The zionists writing their usual bilge here about “anti-Jew hatred” – you people have blood on your hands. Israelis have murdered, in cold blood, more than 2000 in two months… not counting the years and years of oppression and murder, the displacement of a people who had nothing to do with the crimes of the Holocaust.

  • A. Sanders

    Of course Amnesty International’s report has no validity. The real war criminals are Hamas who have terrorised not only Israel but its own civilians in using them as human shields. I haven’t seen too much of AI criticising atrocities in Syria, China, Zimbabwe, ISIL etc. all who have systematically liquidated their own people and ethnic minorities in their own countries.

  • Amnesty has long been in bed with terrorist organisations like HAMAS and their ilk and has not only been infected with a virulent Jew hatred, but they are working against all decent Western democracies and have been quite defamatory against Australia, listening to our most unsavoury islamophile Greens and other propagandists and quoting their baseless accusations as fact. From some of their accusations against Australia it is obvious they dont have a strong relationship with truth nor do they “check” facts.

    They have become cheap (but dangerous) propagandists for the baddies, and should they actually defend a good cause today, this cause would be tainted by their association with
    Amnesty – at least for me.

  • Julian Clovelley

    Question – what do you think the role is of a person who can be described as (in your own words) – “the President of … a Jerusalem-based research and advocacy organization that counters anti-Israel propaganda from the numerous private advocacy groups covering the Palestinian conflict with Israel.”?

    Isn’t it just as much the production and dissemination of propaganda itself. How far then has the expression of his “opinion” got us towards uncovering the truth? Like it or not Amnesty International has enormous and well deserved credibility – hence the need to counter its reports for any offending individual group or nation. The good professor is really only behaving in the manner that would be expected of him in his position as president.

    It is perfectly reasonable after examination of Amnesty findings to criticise them, but I would suggest that instead of bluntly denying them one needs to look closer, not into some imagined blanket dislike of Israel on the part of Amnesty, but into the nature of the incidents themselves, the results of thorough and open investigations etc.

    What is the propaganda role of “Denial” if not to try to cover up the real existence of realities the denier finds uncomfortable? “Holocaust Denial” is about denying the existence of the Holocaust – not so much as a result of antisemitism, as of an attraction to the political form of National Socialism and of Fascism. The Holocaust shows Fascism and Nazism as they really are – not as their advocates claim then to be. Beneath the claims of purity there lies an almost bottomless evil.

    “Climate Change Denial” is not an academic argument against weather patterns. The evidence for serious problems is overwhelming. The Denial exists because Climate Change is pointing in the direction of human industrial practices, most especially such matters as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. The big polluters and the loggers deny Climate Change and/or its human cause because it displays an inconvenient truth .

    You cannot look at the continuing Occupation, now nearly half a century old, three times the suggested occupation period of the inflammatory Treaty of Versailles – the blatant imperialist invasion through Settlement which presents the pattern of all colonisation, including the existence of resistance and the persistance of consequent concurrent military presence and actions – without being profoundly disturbed, unless you are a Zionist with an expansionist Greater Israel agenda.

    It is hard to view the Arab people in the territory occupied by Israel – and for that matter in Israel proper – as having equal rights, when the class division is on claimed Genealogical lines, justified by a religion, myth, or superstition. The simple fact is that Arabs are denied residence in housing projects even on their own Palestian territory, and living areas in Israel itself are often far from being integrated. There is so much that reasonably causes concern. The rubble of Arab suburbs in Gaza and destroyed homes in the West Bank, the dead children and families, the military actions by both parties in civilian areas. The loss of schools and medical facilities – all these and then specific instances are matters of concern.

    What the outsider is left with is the obvious existence – indeed often loudly stated ambition – of many of Israel’s Right and religious extremist faction to colonise what it claims to be ancient Israel and Jordanian land. The outside world sees that a myth of origin is in part to blame – and is well aware, from statements of Israel’s past military leaders and heroes, that confirm that this mentality extends into the armed forces

    Counter propaganda won’t solve this – Behaving in the anticipated manner won’t solve the problem of perception. What is needed is to prevent the incidents themselves. That requires Israel to stop defaming international charities and monitoring organisations, to stop defaming the United Nations, and any American President not following a Zionist agenda – It requires it to remain rigidly within Partition authorised boundaries, and to act in stricmonitored adherence to International Law and the Geneva Conventions. Nothing else will do.

    Long term Occupation – and even worse, actual settlement – can never display the “defensive stance” Israel seeks to promote as the reality. I live in a former (and possibly some say “continuing”) colony. It began with a British invasion of land they claimed to be “Terra Nullius” and proceeded by the erection of British Settlements, the first being Sydney, Australia. The settlements were heavily opposed by the displaced population, which turned to guerilla tactics – frequent and often murderous raids,on settlements. Their fight for survival, as Enclosures and fenced off areas that excluded them from the land they needed to survive, were created, is well recorded. For them too, discussions and minor police actions quickly became military repression. There is nothing new in how the Middle East currently appears to be. In my own country, after two hundred years we are really only now trying (and largely failing) to redress the continuing effect of those wrongs that were so easily justified by lies told in the early years of white settlement.

    Amnesty’s findings can only be truly ‘invalidated’ by a change in both behaviour and attitude. Counter propaganda may make you happier within certain communities but denial never works – The climate continues to degarde as the ice melts and the weather patterns change, the Holocaust really did exist with all its horror, and in the memory of its honoured survivors

    For “Denial” is really only counter propaganda – and as such an integral part of the original offence. Think about it. The solution lies elsewhere – in the active pursuit of peace, reconciliation, and regional equality of person.