On August 23, 2010, executive director of Amnesty-Finland, Frank Johansson, referred to Israel as “a scum state” on his blog. Although Johansson’s title as “director of the Finnish branch of Amnesty International” appears on his blog, Amnesty maintained that “We do not consider that this instance provides grounds to call into question either Amnesty International’s integrity and commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights…” Following publication of the story, Johansson removed the blog post and apologized to the Israeli ambassador to Finland.
NGO Monitor’s International Board of Advisors condemned Johansson’s remarks, called on Amnesty to suspend their Finnish branch until Johansson resigns, and called for an “independent evaluation of biases in Amnesty’s activities and publications, particularly related to Israel.”
Amnesty International’s spokesperson responded that “There is no question of Amnesty International in Finland being asked to suspend its international human rights work because of this matter.”
The Amnesty-Finland incident is yet another example of the organization’s bias and false use of human rights claims. In March 2010, Amnesty senior staff member Gita Saghal was suspended after she condemned Amnesty’s alliance with an alleged Taliban supporter, Moazzam Begg. Amnesty’s (interim) Secretary General Claudio Cordone defended Begg, stating that “jihad in self-defence” is not “antithetical to human rights.”