Amnesty International's Invented Gaza War Accusations
Jerusalem – In advance of a report on the 2014 Gaza War to be released tomorrow (Nov. 5) by Amnesty International, NGO Monitor emphasizes Amnesty’s lack of professional investigatory methodology and documented bias against Israel. The report is expected to repeat the standard accusations of war crimes, including claims that the Israeli military purposefully targeted civilians. The charges will again be made despite Amnesty’s lack of access to military intelligence and other vital decision-making information necessary to support its politicized allegations. NGO Monitor urges journalists to approach all such factual and legal claims with caution.
“Amnesty’s claims had no validity when they were first made, without evidence, during the fighting, and they have no more credibility now, despite the façade of ‘research’ and ‘investigations’.” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “For many years, we have shown that Amnesty’s ‘reports’ on Israel lack credibility and are based on double standards that reflect a radical ideological agenda under the façade of universal human rights.”
NGO Monitor recently published a series of detailed research reports that highlight Amnesty’s flawed research, unverifiable claims, and ideological agenda. Exploiting a façade of human rights expertise, Amnesty makes mendacious allegations against Israel without credible evidence or proper investigations. Compounding these fundamental errors, the Amnesty “researchers” who work on Israel have a record of anti-Israel activism that is incompatible with the claims of objective analysis.
In addition, Amnesty’s publications related to armed conflicts notably lack credibility. Donatella Rovera, Amnesty’s head of field investigations, acknowledged this in April 2014: “In Gaza, I received partial or inaccurate information by relatives of civilians accidentally killed in accidental explosions or by rockets launched by Palestinian armed groups towards Israel that had malfunctioned and of civilians killed by Israeli strikes on nearby Palestinian armed groups’ positions. When confronted with other evidence obtained separately, some said they feared reprisals by the armed groups.”
Further confirming the absence of expertise, Amnesty’s Secretary General Salil Shetty acknowledged in a February 10 interview: “We are not an expert (sic) on military matters. So we don’t want to, kind of, pontificate on issues we don’t really understand.” Yet Amnesty’s admitted lack of military expertise has not stopped the NGO from publishing hundreds of unfounded accusations against Israel’s military, including its most recent report.
For example, Amnesty condemned Israel for warning Gaza residents, in accordance with international law, to evacuate civilian facilities used by Hamas illegally to launch attacks. At the same time, Amnesty defended Hamas’ urging residents to stay in these areas – a practice known as human shielding – by saying it was “motivated by a desire to avoid further panic.” In this instance, and many others, Amnesty provided the “spin” to justify Hamas’ actions that deliberately endanger civilian lives.
“Amnesty, which played a central role in the discredited UN Goldstone report of 2009, routinely minimizes the moral crimes of terrorist organizations, while baselessly alleging Israeli violations of international law,” Steinberg continued. “By granting Hamas virtual impunity, Amnesty empowers the terror group and its affiliates to commit more war crimes and atrocities.”
To read NGO Monitor’s detailed analysis of Amnesty’s publications during the Gaza War, click here.
Other relevant publications include:
NGO Monitor’s Fact Sheet on Amnesty International
Best Practices for Human Rights and Humanitarian NGO Fact-Finding
The Goldstone Report “Reconsidered”
“Precision Guided or Indiscriminate”
“A Farewell to Arms, NGO Campaigns for Embargoes on Military Exports”