In April 2009, Amnesty International escalated its campaign for an arms embargo against Israel. This follows its February 2009 report that equated aggression and defense and artificially focused on very narrow aspects of international law.

An April 1 press release (“Shipment reaches Israel, President Obama urged to halt further exports”), which revealed that Amnesty tracked a vessel carrying arms across the Atlantic Ocean and through the Mediterranean Sea, claimed that “evidence show[s] how military equipment and munitions of this kind were recently used by the Israeli forces for war crimes.” Amnesty-USA accompanied this report with a call for “action”: letters to Secretary of State Clinton labeling Israel a “grave violator of human rights” and demanding to know the “reason behind sending these arms now.” This is a transparent and tendentious imitation of the actions by the coalition of states committed to prevent the illegal smuggling of arms from Iran to Hamas.

Amnesty’s obsession with Israel may have backfired. Amnesty USA was criticized for its double-standards and denial of legitimate self-defense, and others condemned the lack of evidence behind its allegations. As NGO Monitor has demonstrated, Amnesty publications on Israel promote the political agendas of Amnesty officials, often at the expense of human rights and the organization’s credibility.