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Amnesty International’s ‘1948 Project’

Amnesty International (AI), an NGO (non-governmental organization) which mimics the United Nations by spending an inordinate amount of time vilifying Israel, just released its much-awaited, umpteenth, so-called report on, what else, “Israel’s Apartheid Against the Palestinians.” AI’s purported mission is to campaign for, “A world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments.” According to the organization, AI is the world’s largest human rights organization with an annual global income of about $377 million. It employs about 2,500 staff in 70 Countries. Its funding is murky (try searching the subject), but many governments, NGOs, billionaires, and small donors support it. 

AI’s newest, biased and accusatory report vilifying Israel lists a range of Israeli abuses, including extensive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfers, drastic movement restrictions, administrative detention, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians, plus much of the above affecting Israel’s Arab citizens.

If you’ve never heard of the “1948 Project,” that’s because I just gave that title to AI’s lying report, which is the latest Jew-hating canard. This biased report is another instance of the ongoing international vendetta against Israel perpetrated by many NGOs and international organizations, including the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, and many others. What they do fits the IHRA (International Human Rights Alliance) definition of “antisemitism,” which includes this example: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” 

Amnesty and the others point to Israel’s Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, as conceived and born in sin. What sin? The sin of denying the Arabs living in Mandatory Palestine their own state following the British abandonment of the Mandate on May 13. It’s a fact that all the Arab nations rejected outright the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine which proposed an Arab and a Jewish state. Instead, the Arabs gathered their forces and prepared to strangle the newborn state in its “cradle.” 

Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, was quoted by the New York Times in 1948 as saying, “If the Jewish state becomes a fact, and this is realized by the Arab peoples, they will drive the Jews who live in their midst into the sea.” Al-Banna was referring to all Jews in Arab countries, not just in “Palestine.” (algemeiner.com)

In concert with still-potent Arab enmity against Jews and the Jewish state, many in the West support the anti-Zionist agenda. They endeavor to nullify Israel – the Jew among nations – and transform it into another Arab state, perhaps with a Jewish minority or no Jews at all. I put AI and its cohorts in that category. That said, the US, UK, and Germany rejected AI’s report.

From the influential Conference of President of Jewish Organizations, “The [Amnesty] report makes no secret of its true intention – which is to cast aspersions on the State of Israel, which it portrays as illegitimate, starting ‘at its creation in May 1948’. It disregards the fact that Israel’s robust democracy grants its Arab citizens full rights and equality, includes an Arab Muslim nationalist party in Israel’s governing coalition, as well as a history of senior Israeli Arab governmental officials, including Supreme Court justices, government ministers, high-level diplomats, military officers, and members of Knesset.

“This report, however, is more egregious than the other two [B’Tselem & Human Rights Watch] because it accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing from its very inception and charges that Israel has essentially been an apartheid state from day one. In Amnesty’s telling, there is nothing really that Israel can do to help itself. Its sin is in the way it came into being and what it is. Amnesty International has demonized Israel’s very essence, has made it evil by definition.”

Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnès Callamard says that Israel treats Palestinians, “[w]hether they live in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, or Israel itself, as an inferior racial group and systematically deprived of their right….We found that Israel’s cruel policies of segregation, dispossession and exclusion across all territories under its control clearly amount to apartheid. The international community has an obligation to act.”

Israel’s Arab citizenry, which makes up 21% of the population, has the same rights as Israel’s Jewish citizens. The Arabs can and do attend the same universities, work in the same hospitals, play in the same parks, vote in elections, live together with Jews in many towns and cities, ride the same public transportation, buy and work in the same stores. In mundane contrast to South Africa in its Apartheid era, Israel’s Arabs drink from the same fountains, use the same entrances and exits, use the same toilets, etc.

Note: Palestinian Arabs living in the Palestinian Authority are citizens of the PA, not of Israel. Many act as enemies of Israel. Their rights and obligations are to the PA, not to Israel. The fact that so many Palestinian Arabs seek work permits in Israel, or work here illegally, attests to the PA’s failure to make any reconciliation with Israel. The Gaza Arabs’ situation is even worse, due to its execrable, terrorist Hamas rulers.

Britain’s Col. Richard Kemp’s report, “Amnesty International Wants To End the Jewish State says, “Let us be in no doubt, this report is not a criticism of the State of Israel. It is a chillingly clear manifesto pronouncing Israel an illegal entity with no right to exist. Page after page, it shows a deeply troubling obsession with righting the supposed wrong of 1948. It calls for Israel to be flooded with generation after generation of descendants of Arabs who left in 1948, and who expected to return after five invading armies had wiped Israel off the map. Such an influx of so-called refugees would be unprecedented anywhere in the world. It would mean the termination of the State of Israel, a condition of perpetual conflict between Arabs and Jews under a single Palestinian state, and the end of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination.”

Amnesty’s prime target is not the Arab world, it is the West. Like the propaganda of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the intention is to provoke outrage across the West, to isolate and vilify Israel among world governments, international bodies, universities and businesses.”

Amnesty International, B’Tselem, and Human Rights Watch are among the worst NGOs trying to defeat the Zionist, Jewish State of Israel. Yet Israel is making more and more inroads among the countries of the Middle East and beyond. Besides its large political and economic thrust, Israel’s recent inclusion in CENTCOM (United States Central [military] Command) attests to its growing influence and partnerships in the Middle East.

Lately some of the most influential Arab states – the Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco, have joined the Abraham Accords in a warm peace with Israel, forming a commercial, cultural, and defensive alliance. With the existing countries of Egypt and Jordan, each at peace with Israel, and other Arab nations contemplating joining the Abraham Accords, Israel has become a major regional power. Is the Apartheid initiative the reaction to the successful 2020 Abraham Accords? I think, partly so. 

Yes, the Apartheid canard, BDS, cases against Israel, the ICC, activities against it on school campuses, and more, all hurt Israel’s image. Yet, Israel prospers. The Israeli proclivity for large families among its various populations is unequaled in the West, a tangible example of Israeli optimism. But don’t take Israel’s success for granted. All Jews and friends of Israel have an important role to play in promoting Israel’s success, fighting the propaganda against Israel and resisting its opponents bent on Israel’s destruction. There’s no Apartheid going on here, just the Israel Project!

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
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