Amnesty International (AI)
July 04, 2012
- Website: www.amnesty.org
- Founded in 1961 by British lawyer, Peter Benenson.
- Amnesty International (AI) describes itself as a “worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all.”
- It claims to be “Independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion… it does not support or oppose any government or political system.”
- AI disproportionately singles out Israel for condemnation, focusing solely on the conflict with the Palestinians, misrepresenting the complexity of the conflict, and ignoring more severe human rights violations in the region.
- In violation of its policy of “impartiality,” Amnesty employs two anti-Israel activists with well-documented histories of radical activism in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Deborah Hyams and Saleh Hijazi, as researchers in its “Israel, Occupied Palestinian Territories and Palestinian Authority” section.
- Allegations of “war crimes”: Distorts international law, misusing terms like “collective punishment,” “occupying power,” and “disproportionate” in its condemnations of Israel’s Gaza policy.
- AI’s report, “Operation ‘Cast Lead’: 22 Days of Death and Destruction” (July 2009), charges Israel with “war crimes” during the conflict. The 127-page publication ignores considerable evidence that Hamas used human shields, minimizes Palestinian violations of international law, and promotes boycotts and “lawfare” against Israel.
- During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, AI unjustifiably accused Israel of “war crimes” and “deliberate attacks on civilians,” and relied on Lebanese “eyewitnesses” to allege that Hezbollah did not operate in population centers.
- AI hosted a “Russell Tribunal on Palestine” on November 8, 2010, dealing with “Corporate complicity in Israel’s violations of International Law.”
- Lawfare: On February 2, 2009, several media outlets reported that AI transferred files to the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor regarding alleged “war crimes” committed by Israel. These reports made no mention of any AI initiative regarding Hamas war crimes aided by Iran and Syria.
- AI defended the exploitation of British courts by pro-Palestinian “lawfare” activists. Amnesty-UK Director Kate Allen, along with other NGO officials, signed a letter published in the Guardian (“We must not renege on war crime laws,” January 16, 2010), protesting proposed changes to British law that would limit the unregulated access to UK judges that allows for politically motivated cases.
- Arms embargo against Israel: Campaigns for an arms embargo against Israel, while ignoring the massive flow of offensive weapons and explosives from Iran and Syria into Gaza. An April 1, 2009 press release (“Shipment reaches Israel, President Obama urged to halt further exports”) revealed that AI tracked a vessel carrying arms across the Atlantic Ocean and through the Mediterranean Sea. Amnesty-USA accompanied this report with a call for action, including letters to Secretary of State Clinton labeling Israel a “grave violator of human rights” and demanding to know the “reason behind sending these arms now.”
- Defending those linked to terror: Following the January 2011 conviction and sentencing of Ittijah head Ameer Makhoul on charges of spying for Hezbollah, AI claimed, “Ameer Makhoul’s jailing is a very disturbing development...[He] is well known for his human rights activism on behalf of Palestinians in Israel and those living under Israeli occupation. We fear that this may be the underlying reason for his imprisonment.”
- In 2010, senior staff member Gita Saghal was suspended after she condemned AI’s alliance with an alleged Taliban supporter.
- “Apartheid” rhetoric: The release of the report “Troubled Waters – Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water” (October 2009) coincided with a campaign alleging that “Israel’s Control of Water [is] a Tool of Apartheid and a Means of Ethnic Cleansing.” Ben White, author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginners Guide, spoke at the Amnesty-UK release of the report, as well as at other Amnesty-UK events.
- In August 2010, the executive director of Amnesty-Finland, Frank Johansson, referred to Israel as “a scum state” on his blog.
- Funding: In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010, AI reported an operating budget of approximately £21 million. In prior years, £30 million represented “approximately one quarter of the estimated income likely to be raised during the year by the movement´s national sections.” The majority of the funds come from individual donors, through AI local branches.
- Although AI claims that it does not accept donations from governments or political parties, in 2008 the organization received a 4-year grant from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), totalling to £3,149,000. In 2010, AI received £842,000 from DFID. Amnesty International and its branches have also received funding from the European Commission, the Netherlands, the United States, and Norway.
- Amnesty’s “Administrative Detention” Report: Issues of Credibility and Bias, NGO Monitor Analysis, June 7, 2012
- Breaking Its own Rules: Amnesty’s Researcher Bias and Gov’t Funding, NGO Monitor Reports, June 4, 2012
- Amnesty International’s Moral Equivalence, Omri ceren, Contentions blog (Commentary), October 18, 2011
- Amnesty International: Defending those linked to terror, NGO Monitor Analysis, February 3, 2011
- Statement Of NGO Monitor Int'l Advisory Board On Frank Johansson of Amnesty-Finland's Blog Post, Press Releases, August 30, 2010
- NGO Monitor letter to Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty Int'l, Correspondence, August 26, 2010
- Moral Collapse: Amnesty International in 2009, NGO Monitor Reports, May 26, 2010