Jerusalem – On August 23, 2010, the head of Amnesty International’s Finnish branch, Frank Johansson, referred to Israel as a “scum state” on his blog. In response, members of NGO Monitor’s International Board of Advisors released the following statement:
We condemn in the strongest possible terms Mr. Johansson’s recent remarks about Israel. Referring to Israel using offensive terms such as “scum state” is unacceptable, and does not help those that have legitimate human rights grievances.
Unfortunately, his statement is indicative of the anti-Israeli ideology that has permeated Amnesty International (AI), leading to one-sided calls for an arms embargo against Israel, and false accusations of Israeli “war crimes” and “deliberate attacks on civilians.”
We call on Amnesty International’s new secretary general, Salil Shetty, to condemn this statement and suspend the Finnish branch from active membership in AI until Mr. Johansson resigns. We also call for an independent evaluation of biases in Amnesty’s activities and publications, particularly related to Israel. This is an opportunity to reform Amnesty’s involvement in the Middle East in a manner that does not demonize and disproportionately focus on Israel.
Legitimate criticism of Israel is entirely appropriate. But vulgar language, accompanied by the political and legal campaigns that Amnesty and others are waging against Israel, must not be tolerated. Such activities are also contrary to the noble principles and goals on which Amnesty was founded.
Prof. Alan Dershowitz – Harvard University, lawyer and author
Hon. Fiamma Nirenstein – Vice-president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies
Elliott Abrams – Former US Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy
Ambassador Yehuda Avner – Former diplomat, served as Ambassador to UK and Australia
Douglas Murray – Director, The Centre for Social Cohesion
Prof. Judea Pearl – UCLA and President, Daniel Pearl Foundation
Prof. Ruth Wisse – Harvard University, Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature
Tom Gross – Journalist and international affairs commentator