The Israeli Foreign Ministry attacked an Amnesty UK report that accused Israel of “crimes against humanity” and referred to it as “an apartheid state.”
The 280-page report, released on Tuesday, was compiled over a period of four years and is considered one of the harshest documents against the State of Israel. According to Amnesty, it reveals the “true nature” of the “Israeli Apartheid regime” both within and outside the 1967 borders.
A foreign ministry spokesperson accused Amnesty of recycling “lies, inconsistencies, and unfounded assertions that originate from well-known anti-Israeli hate organizations.”
“The report denies the State of Israel's right to exist as the nation state of the Jewish people. Its extremist language and distortion of historical context were designed to demonize Israel and pour fuel onto the fire of anti-Semitism,” the ministry said in a statement.
The report, titled “Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and a Crime against Humanity,” argues that “Israel enforces a system of oppression and domination against the Palestinian people wherever it has control over their rights. Whether they live in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, or Israel itself, Palestinians are treated as an inferior racial group and systematically deprived of their rights.”
“Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has pursued a policy of establishing and maintaining a Jewish demographic hegemony and maximizing its control over land to benefit Jewish Israelis while restricting the rights of Palestinians and preventing Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes,” Amnesty said. “Israel extended this policy to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which it has occupied ever since.”
The report claims to detail an Israeli takeover of Palestinian land and property, territorial fragmentation, home demolitions, forcible transfer, severe restrictions on freedom of movement, administrative detention, torture, unlawful killing, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians.
Amnesty called for restitution for Palestinians harmed by such policies and said that they "amount to the crime against humanity of apartheid" under of the Apartheid Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The UK-based organization called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider the crime of apartheid in its current investigation of Israel’s conduct in the Palestinian territories. Amnesty’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard, said: "The international community must face up to the reality of Israel's apartheid, and pursue the many avenues to justice which remain shamefully unexplored.”
A statement by Israel’s Foreign Ministry read:
“The report consolidates and recycles lies, inconsistencies, and unfounded assertions that originate from well-known anti-Israeli hate organizations, all with the aim of reselling damaged goods in new packaging. Repeating the same lies of hate organizations over and over does not make the lies reality, but rather makes Amnesty illegitimate.
“In publishing this false report, Amnesty UK uses double standards and demonization in order to delegitimize Israel. These are the exact components from which modern antisemitism is made.
“A few days after International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we once again learn that antisemitism is not just a part of history, but unfortunately, is also part of today’s reality. Just last weekend, Jews were attacked in London simply because they were Jewish. Amnesty’s report effectively serves as a green light for the perpetrators and others to harm not only Israel, but Jews around the world.
“The State of Israel is a strong and vibrant democracy that grants all its citizens equal rights, regardless of religious or race. The State of Israel was established as the national home of the Jewish people with broad international support, in light of the lessons of the Holocaust. Amnesty criticizes the very existence of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, and effectively denies its right to exist at all. “
Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid excoriated the organization.
“Amnesty was once an esteemed organization that we all respected. Today, it is the exact opposite,” he said. “It is not a human rights organization, but just another radical organization that echoes propaganda with no serious examination. Instead of seeking facts, Amnesty quotes lies spread by terrorist organizations. Five minutes of serious factchecking were enough to know that the facts that appeared in the report published this week were a delusion divorced from reality. Israel is not perfect, but it is a democracy committed to international law and open to scrutiny, with a free press and strong Supreme Court.
“Amnesty does not call Syria an ‘apartheid state’ – a country whose government murdered half a million of its own citizens – nor Iran or any other corrupt and murderous regime in Africa or Latin America. I hate to use the argument that if Israel were not a Jewish state, nobody in Amnesty would dare argue against it, but in this case, there is no other possibility.”
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.