(Jerusalem) – Jerusalem-based research organization NGO Monitor today released its review of Amnesty International’s 2008 activities, ahead of the scheduled publication of Amnesty’s own 2009 Annual Report. Although Amnesty International has a stated policy of political neutrality, and universal morality, NGO Monitor’s research shows that its activities on Israeli and Palestinian issues are highly biased and lack credibility.
Throughout 2008, Amnesty disproportionately focused on Israel’s Gaza policy, while little attention was paid to Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. This trend culminated in Amnesty’s obsessive, distorted and disproportionate condemnations of Israel over the recent Gaza conflict. In the three weeks of combat, Amnesty International headquarters issued over twenty statements and its branches tens more, primarily critical of Israel. For example, during a similar period, human rights abuses included the massacre of over 600 villagers by Ugandan rebels in the Congo, yet Amnesty devoted minimal attention to these atrocities.
Similarly, the Israel section of Amnesty’s 2009 Annual Report is comprised of a four page political attack on Israeli policy towards the Palestinians. This contains unsubstantiated and unverifiable allegations including claims that ‘impunity remained the norm for Israeli soldiers’. Instead of an unbiased evaluation of the complex status of human rights in Israel, this section portrays the issue entirely through the distorted prism of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. As a result, human rights issues such as human trafficking are ignored entirely, while the plight of asylum seekers and migrants are relegated to a mere two short paragraphs.
The section on the Palestinian Authority again promotes an overwhelmingly Palestinian narrative of events, absurdly claiming that underground tunnels from Egypt to Gaza used for weapons smuggling, (including thousands of missiles targeted at Israeli civilians) were solely a conduit for food and fuel for ‘increasingly dependent’ Gazans. Hamas’ highly visible preparations for resumed Palestinian aggression during the six month cease-fire in 2008, including the preparation of a human shields strategy, are entirely ignored in this section.
However, the report acknowledges the continued imprisonment and denial of access for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and the widespread indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians in 2008. This is a significant change for Amnesty, which has failed to issue a single "urgent action" during the three years since the kidnapping.
More broadly, NGO Monitor’s ongoing quantitative analysis reveals that Amnesty continues to devote a disproportionate amount of its resources to attacks on Israel that are unjustified by human rights standards. In 2008, Amnesty publications that condemned Israel again exceeded those directed at Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Iraq. Similarly, more in-depth reports were written criticizing Israel than any other country in the Middle East including Iran. Amnesty’s decision making processes that result in the gross over-emphasis on Israel remain hidden.
NGO Monitor’s Executive Director, Professor Gerald Steinberg said, “Amnesty International’s activities in the Middle East are totally divorced from reality, and constitute a continued attack on the moral foundation of human rights. The world’s most prominent human rights organization continues to abuse this position to join the ideological campaign that seeks to single out Israel for condemnation, promote the Palestinian narrative, and erase the context of mass terror and aggression by Hamas.
By any measure, Amnesty consistently goes far beyond legitimate criticism, and has made a mockery of human rights and international law. Many of the claims and campaigns in Amnesty’s publications are ludicrous, including the references to the massive construction of tunnels from Egypt to Gaza as being primarily used for food and fuel. As a result, at least in the Middle East, Amnesty has become the leading anti-human rights organization."
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Click here to view a debate between Prof Gerald Steinberg and Amnesty’s Josh Rubenstein titled ‘Human Rights, Inhuman Wrongs’ in Boston on 10 May 2009
NGO Monitor was founded to promote transparency, critical analysis and debate on the political role of human rights organizations. For more information, see our website at
Other recent publications and reports by NGO Monitor include:-
Betrayed by Silence: NGOs Ignore Gilad Shalit’s Rights – March 26, 2009
PCHR, Amnesty Lead Gaza ‘Lawfare’ Claims, Ignore Hamas Crimes – Feb 9, 2009
The NGO Front in the Gaza War: Amnesty International – Jan 25, 2009
NGO Monitor’s Executive Director is, Prof. Gerald Steinberg.
Members of NGO Monitor’s International Advisory Board include Elie Wiesel, Prof Alan Dershowitz, Sir Martin Gilbert and R. James Woolsey
For further information, comment or interviews, contact Dan Kosky
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