Jerusalem – Diplomats, journalists, and other consumers of NGO products have an obligation to carefully examine the methodologies and agendas behind Amnesty International’s latest allegations regarding the 2014 Gaza War before repeating them. In detailed analyses, Jerusalem-based research organization NGO Monitor has demonstrated fundamental failures in Amnesty’s “research,” as well as political agendas that undermine its impartiality and integrity.
“By Amnesty’s own admission, its methodology in Gaza is faulty and incomplete,” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “The ‘evidence’ is internally contradictory, and cannot sustain the accusations of ‘war crimes’ and the recommendations of legal warfare and sanctions against Israel.”
For example, in the latest publication, Amnesty writes that Israeli authorities indicated that “one of the destroyed buildings housed a Hamas command centre and of ‘facilities linked to Palestinian militants’ in another.” But Amnesty then claims that there is “no information as to why they levelled four entire buildings” and that there was “no military justification” for the strikes.
Since before the conflict, Amnesty staff has had no direct access Gaza, instead relying on anonymous “fieldworkers” and “military experts.” There is no way to confirm the requisite expertise and impartiality of these consultants, particularly in a territory controlled by Hamas. In addition, according to Steinberg, “The individuals who determine Amnesty’s Israel activities reflect a highly ideological agenda, as demonstrated in our research.”
Amnesty and similar NGOs claiming human rights expertise cannot possibly possess the requisite information to draw meaningful conclusions. Without specific information on Israeli military operations and targeting policies, including details on real-time intelligence available to Israeli commanders, Amnesty’s allegations are mere speculation.
NGO Monitor also notes that Amnesty’s string of publications attacking Israel, including a similar report from November, reflects an intensification of activity before the Schabas Commission delivers its report in March 2015.
“This is the second such document in as many months targeting Israel and stripped of any context, focusing on the Gaza conflict,” continued Steinberg. “Amnesty is actively working to construct a false narrative of Israeli guilt in support of Schabas’ efforts.”
Amnesty also played a primary role in “investigations” following the 2009 Gaza war, providing an outline for the discredited Goldstone Report and campaigning publically in support of the mission and its skewed conclusions. In promoting Schabas, Amnesty’s ideologues hope to “build on the analysis and findings of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (2008/2009) headed by Justice Richard Goldstone.”
For further information on Amnesty’s methodological failings and ideological agendas, including regarding the 2014 Gaza war, see:
- Breaking Its Own Rules: Amnesty’s Researcher Bias and Gov’t Funding
- Amnesty-UK and Kristyan Benedict
- Amnesty’s Q&A on the Gaza War: Many Questions, Few Answers
- Findings, but Few Facts
- Amnesty’s Disproportionate Focus On Israel
- Schabas is the Perfect Choice for Goldstone 2
- Amnesty International: Founding Structure, and Lost Vision
- Gaza War Summer 2014