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February 3, 2022 11:40 am

Attention Amnesty International: The Jewish State’s Existence Is Not a Crime

avatar by Eitan Neishlos


Illustration with the logo of Amnesty International on the vest of an observer of a demonstration in Paris, France, Paris, on Dec. 11, 2021. Photo: Xose Bouzas / Hans Lucas via Reuters Connect

The recent Amnesty International report about the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories did not take many of us by surprise. Inherently flawed, biased, and inaccurate from start to finish, there was no shock at the way in which Amnesty co-opted the word apartheid for the purposes of criticizing the Jewish State. It’s what antisemites do. Unfortunately, despite the noble intentions of its founders, in recent years, Amnesty’s efforts have increasingly reflected the anti-Israel obsession of the organization’s leadership.

Amnesty, whose broad vision is of course applaudable, has become a hotbed of anti-Israel hatred. Take Saleh Hijazi, the Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. In theory, his role is to focus on human rights across the region. As anyone familiar with the Middle East will know, this is no small task. Yet, a cursory glance at his Twitter posts reveals what looks like an unhealthy obsession with — and even hatred of — Israel, the sole Jewish state (and of course the only liberal democracy) in the region. While his comments on evil regimes like Iran and Syria are sporadic at best, his criticisms of Israel are incessant. For Hijazi, it seems that Israel is the source of all evil.

The new Amnesty report concludes that “Israel has perpetrated the international wrong of apartheid.” As someone born in South Africa, I am deeply offended by this wildly inaccurate and historically illiterate comparison, and see it as my duty to draw readers’ attention to the malicious falsehoods inherent in this choice of terms. As the US ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, responded, “This is absurd.”

Indeed, anyone who has visited Israel — where equal opportunity is afforded to all citizens regardless of their gender, race, or religion — will instantly understand why this poor choice of terms is not only absurd, but also offensive.

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Furthermore, anyone with even minimal knowledge of the region, should know that Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, where Arabs serve as judges, ministers, and even the captain of the national soccer team. Arabs make up 17 percent of Israel’s doctors, 24 percent of its nurses, and 47 percent of its pharmacists. In Israel, freedom of religion is part and parcel of everyday life, and enshrined in law.

In contrast, the apartheid regime in South Africa was one of the worst human rights violators the world has ever known. To compare the two represents a farcical and cynical exploitation of the misery of those who actually suffered under apartheid.

Amnesty, unsurprisingly, has yet to focus its efforts on the human rights of the Jewish citizens of the State of Israel. With Palestinian terror attacks attempted on a seemingly daily basis — all with the full encouragement of Palestinian officials through their “pay for slay” policy — the lack of condemnation from Amnesty is deafening.

The same one-sided bias is also apparent during flare-ups of violence between Israel and the Islamist groups in the Gaza Strip — Hamas and Islamic Jihad. These terror groups intentionally target civilian communities, including kindergartens, schools, and hospitals, with their rocket attacks, while purposely and cynically hiding their own munitions underneath and alongside their own civilians. Where is the outrage from the human rights community? Where are the “reports”?

At a time when the region is undergoing a historic trend of reconciliation, normalization, and cooperation between Jews and Muslims, Amnesty has once again opted to fan the flames of hatred over cooperation.

Just last week we marked International Holocaust Day, the day that the world is supposed to remember what can happen when those who perpetuate hatred and lies have their way.

Part of the Neishlos Foundation’s vision is to create a new generation of upstanders, whose duty it is to put their foot down and ensure that never again means never again.

Never again will Jews be unfairly targeted. Never again will we allow falsehoods and lies to be spread against our people. Never again will we allow those who see our very existence as a crime against humanity, to dictate our future.

Eitan Neishlos is a grandson of a Holocaust survivor, Founder & Chairman of The Neishlos Foundation, and a strategic partner to the March of The Living.

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