Letter to the editor of the Jewish Advocate from Amnesty International in response to articles written by Charles Jacobs
Original articles written by Charles Jacobs:
- Charles Jacobs, "Amnesty’s Disproportion," The Jewish Advocate, September 13, 2006.
- Charles Jacobs, "Amnesty’s dirty little secret," The Jewish Advocate, September 18, 2006.
Letter to the Editor
The Jewish Advocate
In two recent columns, Charles Jacobs argues that Amnesty International (Amnesty) is biased against Israel and indifferent to the suffering of people throughout the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. Citing the self-titled "NGO Monitor", Jacobs concocts his argument by counting the number of reports and press releases on Israel, China and Sudan, and then concludes by hinting that Amnesty must be anti-Semitic. Both Jacobs’methodology and his conclusions are mistaken.
From the beginning of the recent conflict between Israel and Hizbullah, Amnesty consistently condemned violations by all parties to the conflict. We sent fact-finding teams to both Israel and Lebanon almost simultaneously, investigating how civilians on both sides were being affected. We issued a statement before the United Nations Human Rights Commission urging them to investigate violations by both Israel and Hizbullah, and then condemned the UNHRC when they voted to investigate only Israeli actions. Amnesty International’s report on Hizbullah violations was released last week. We state that Hizbullah was deliberately targeting Israeli civilians and that such attacks constitute war crimes. Do those two press releases count in Jacobs’ statistical tally as "evidence" of our bias?
As for Mr. Jacobs’ claim that we have been indifferent to abuses in Muslim countries and in sub-Saharan Africa, Amnesty International activity has been focused on Sudan for several years. The U.S. Section played a key organizing role in the recent Day for Darfur events around the world, including in New York’s Central Park. Mr. Jacobs himself cited Amnesty for its report on slavery in Mauritania in a letter to The Boston Globe on November 17, 2002. Readers can learn more about our work on countries around the world by consulting our website at www.amnestyusa.org. In that way, they can judge for themselves.
Northeast Regional Director
Amnesty International USA