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February 8, 2022 10:07 am

Jewish Groups Urge UN Not to Use ‘False Claims’ of Amnesty Report Against Israel

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The United Nations building in New York. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – The blowback over a biased report by Amnesty International on Israel continues nearly a week after its release as 469 organizations and more than 4,000 individuals signed a strongly-worded letter on Monday urging UN Secretary-General António Guterres to make sure the report is not used to attack Israel within the United Nations.

Besides the 4,000 individual signees, the letter was signed by 172 Jewish federations and Jewish Community Relations Councils.

“The Amnesty report traffics in false claims against the sole Jewish state, distorts international law, questions the very existence of Israel, and ignores the violence and terrorist assaults on Israeli civilians—Jewish, Muslim and Christian,” the letter stated.

Released on Feb. 1, the report called Israel an “apartheid state” and even questioned the founding of Israel. It also urged the UN Security Council to impose a military embargo on Israel.

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An overarching concern of the organizations was that the report would be used by the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) into Israel, which the organizations vehemently oppose. That could lead to yet another review of Israel—a “democratic country in which multiple faith communities live under the rule of law, participate in civic life, contribute to the economy and serve in the highest levels of government”—by the International Criminal Court.

The groups further urged Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who was also sent the letter, to terminate the COI.

“Singling out the sole Jewish state and delegitimizing its existence is a form of antisemitism,” said Mark Wilf, board chair of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), in a news release on Monday. “Such rhetoric adds insult to injury at a time when the Jewish community has seen an escalation in antisemitic attacks and will further embolden extremist currents.”

The letter pointed out that the Human Rights Council already spends an inordinate of time on issues related to the Jewish state; some 20 percent of resolutions are about Israel with the country itself a permanent agenda item at the council.

“We are gravely concerned that the report’s release will bolster the anti-Israel sentiment of the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Occupied Palestinian Territories expected in March, as well the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry, which will report its first findings in June,” JFNA President and CEO Eric Fingerhut said in the release. “Secretary-General Guterres should call out the distortions and biases of this report and ensure that this report is not used by the UN or its bodies to unfairly attack Israel.”

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