Human Rights Upheaval: Amnesty International in 2009
NGO Monitor Amnesty’s annual report highlights the exploitation of human rights values May 2010
“Amnesty’s annual report repeats the discredited allegations and distorted human rights rhetoric used to target Israel,” said NGO Monitor President Gerald Steinberg. “Accusations of ‘war crimes’, ‘indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against civilians’, and ‘target[ing] and kill[ing] medical staff’ are made without any credible evidence and reflect the ideological bias that determines the content of Amnesty publications on Israel.”
During the Gaza war, the entire population of Gaza was used by Hamas as a massive human shield, but since Amnesty “researchers” did not hear this from frightened Palestinians, Hamas has been absolved. Similarly, Amnesty has erased all evidence that Gaza hospitals became shelters for Hamas leaders, that mosques were used for storing missiles, and that tunnels are used to smuggle weapons. “This systematic bias and lack of credibility forms the basis for the Goldstone report, and highlights Amnesty’s immoral exploitation of human rights principles in order to demonize Israel,” concluded Steinberg.
NGO Monitor’s analysis of Amnesty International in 2009 includes:
* While Amnesty International’s (AI) main focus in 2009 was Iran’s post-election crisis, arrests, and executions, it also allotted a disproportionate amount of attention and resources to the January 2009 Gaza war.
* During the war, AI led NGO campaigns accusing Israel of “unlawful,” “disproportionate,” and “indiscriminate” attacks against Palestinian civilians, releasing more than 20 statements criticizing Israel.
* After the war, AI called for an arms embargo against Israel, continued to promote “lawfare” against Israeli officials, and labeled Israel’s treatment of Gaza as “collective punishment under international law.”
* Analysis of AI’s 2009 Middle East activities reflects a disproportionate and unjustified focus on Israel. AI issued more in-depth reports (seven) on Israel than on any other country in the region.
* The data indicate that ideology, rather than universal human rights, continues to propel AI’s resource allocation. With the exception of Iran, AI devotes little coverage to other chronic Mideast human rights abusers.
* AI’s October 2009 report “Troubled Waters – Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water,” coincided with a campaign alleging that “Israel’s Control of Water [is] a Tool of Apartheid and a Means of Ethnic Cleansing.”
* Longtime Secretary General Irene Kahn left Amnesty in December 2009. Her interim replacement, Claudio Cordone, was centrally involved in the controversy over the suspension of a senior staff member who condemned Amnesty’s alliance with an alleged Taliban supporter. In response, Cordone stated that “jihad in self-defence” is not “antithetical to human rights.”
NGO Monitor was founded to promote critical debate and accountability regarding the political activities of non-governmental organizations.