Release Date: May 27, 2008

Amnesty International attacks Democracy before Oppression in Middle East  

(Jerusalem) – Jerusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor today released its review of Amnesty International‘s 2007 activities, ahead of the scheduled publication of Amnesty’s own 2007 Annual Report.     
Amnesty International, with its international reputation as a human rights advocacy organization, has a responsibility to adhere unwaveringly to its stated policy of political neutrality.  NGO Monitor’s detailed research shows that it is falling short in its Middle East coverage.
NGO Monitor’s report utilizes both quantitative and qualitative analysis to reveal that Amnesty continues to devote a disproportionate amount of its resources to criticizing Israel.  In 2007 more Amnesty publications condemned Israel’s human rights record, than either Syria or Libya; and more in-depth reports were written criticizing Israel than any other country in the Middle East (except for Iraq which received the same number of reports).  This raises serious questions about both Amnesty’s methodology and neutrality when the country it promotes as one of the major human rights violator in the Middle East, is also the only genuine democracy in the region (according to Freedom House, the independent monitor of political and civil freedom).
Following their extraordinarily unbalanced coverage of the 2006 Second Lebanon War, in 2007 Amnesty continued to dedicate more resources to criticizing Israel, than the terrorist organization Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority combined.  Meanwhile, Amnesty frequently condemned Israeli self defensive measures, and minimized the hundreds of rocket attacks against Israeli civilians by Hamas and other terrorist groups.  
Amnesty’s myopia regarding terrorism is not only confined to its reporting on Israel.  The Ethiopian government recently criticized Amnesty International for condemning the actions of the Ethiopian army, after it transpired that Amnesty’s "research" comprised reports from members of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group, which has links to Al-Qaida.
Amnesty is also guilty of continually exploiting the language of human rights in order to demonize Israel.  Amnesty routinely accuses Israel of "war crimes" and of "abusing international humanitarian law", whereas such terminology is employed far more sparingly towards oppressive regimes such as Syria or Saudi Arabia.
Commenting on the release of the report, NGO Monitor’s Executive Director, Professor Gerald Steinberg said, "We will closely study Amnesty International’s Annual Report.  In particular, we will be looking for an explanation as to why the organization appears to favor authoritarian, oppressive states over democracies.  No serious objective study can conclude that Israel deserves more detailed analysis of its human rights conduct than Iran.
"It may be that Amnesty International simply finds it easier to operate in democracies and therefore subjects them to greater scrutiny.  The perverse result of this is that the more brutal a regime, the less it will have to account to Amnesty for its human rights record.  If this is the case, Amnesty International is guilty of placing convenience above human rights.  If not, then we require some other explanation for this continued bias against Israel in its reporting on the Middle East."

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 Editors Notes:

Please contact Paul Gross at the details below for a copy of the full NGO Monitor report on Amnesty International’s 2007 activities.

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:-

NGO Monitor’s Executive Director is, Prof. Gerald Steinberg.

For further information, comment or interviews, contact Paul Gross

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