Amnesty International’s ‘woke’ racism towards Palestinians

If the 280-page report published by Amnesty International accusing Israel of ‘apartheid’ was a person, we’d say that he doesn’t have an honest bone in his body.

Whilst both the Economist and Freedom House have assessed the Jewish state as a liberal democracy, with the former ranking Israel’s democracy score higher than even the United States, Amnesty, like other so-called human rights organizations which have embraced the radical left’s malign obsession with Israel, offered what can fairly be described as a conclusion in search of evidence.

Their report is so riddled with errors of omission, fact, law and basic logic that not even the New York Times – which routinely attacks Israel’s very legitimacy – has deemed it ‘fit to print’.

To cite just a few errors:

Amnesty charges that Arab citizens of Israel can’t access state land in Israel. The charge is false – Israeli-Arabs have the same access to state land as any other Israelis.

Amnesty claims that Palestinians, and their millions of descendants, possess a legal “Right of Return” to Israel. In fact, there is no such right in international law.

Amnesty portrays Palestinian residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem as being “ethnically cleansed”.  However, all that’s happening is that several dozen Palestinian families face possible eviction due to their failure to pay rent for decades.

Amnesty claims that “2.5 million Palestinians live in Israel and East Jerusalem, restricted to enclaves that make up 3% of the entire area”.  Again, this claim has been shown to be a fabrication.

Amnesty even questions the legitimacy of Israel’s security measures designed to prevent the flow of weapons into Hamas-controlled Gaza, when even a United Nations investigation, for instance, declared its naval blockade “legal”.

But, arguably, even more egregious than its counter-factual allegations against Israel is the near absence of any context on the Arab wars, Palestinian terrorism and Palestinian leadership’s repeated rejection of peace offers which have led to the current territorial, political and security situation.

In fact, as CAMERA has noted, searching for the words “terror” or “bombing” or “suicide” or “stab” or “stabbing” reveals that in the entire 280-page report there is not a single mention of any particular Palestinian terrorist attack against Israelis. The 1377 Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism since Sept. 2000 are erased from the moral and political equation.

And, this is illustrative of a problem with Amnesty’s report few have explored – a denial of agency to Palestinians.  Their document seems predicated on a view of the Palestinians and Israelis in a manner that Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff characterized as “The Untruth of Us Versus Them: Life is a battle between good people and evil people”.  Such a Manichean framing invariably leads to a patronizing view of the Palestinians, treating them as eternal victims – a dynamic described by John McWhorter as “woke racism”.

Tellingly, at the end of Amnesty’s report there are dozens of bullet point recommendations for ameliorating the problems they outlined, almost all of which are directed towards what Israel should do to solve the “human rights violations” they outlined.  Some of these recommendations, such as allowing for the unlimited Palestinian right of return, would, for all intents and purposes, mean the end of the Jewish state.

So, what’s asked of the Palestinians? As you can see below, essentially nothing. The only thing demanded of Palestinians is that they assist Amnesty in their delegitimization campaign and smear of Israel.

Amnesty’s recommendations for Palestinian leaders, page 276 of their report.

There are no demands that Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza, disarm and accept Israel existence.  There are no calls for the Palestinian Authority to, for the first time in 16 years, hold elections and begin the process of building functioning and transparent democratic institutions in preparation for statehood. There’s no admonishment of Palestinian leaders for their promotion and glorification of terrorism, or their culture of antisemitism. Nor is there the suggestion that they should pursue peace and co-existence with Israel.

In the 200,000 plus word report, the word “coexistence” isn’t used once (except to cite an NGO named Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality).  The word “peace” is only used either to reference the NGO ‘Peace Now’, or in contexts unrelated to the word’s meaning as it relates to the Israeli-Palestinian quest for “peace” or a “peace agreement”.  The term “two-states” isn’t used at all.

Of course, making peace with Israel is the only effective way to end the conflict and improve the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis.  But, to acknowledge such an intuitive truth would require ceasing to infantilize Palestinians, and treating them instead as we treat all adults – as moral actors whose bad decisions inevitably lead to bad outcomes.

About the Author
Adam Levick serves as co-editor of CAMERA UK. He has published reports on antisemitism at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and op-eds at publications such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Irish Examiner, The Algemeiner, JNS and The Jewish Chronicle. Adam made Aliyah from Philadelphia in 2009.