Amnesty: Israel using antisemitism to whitewash its war crimes

Amnesty International hit back at the right-wing reaction to its report on Israel’s tourism industry over the pre-1967 lines called “Destination: Occupation,” which it published on Tuesday.

By
January 30, 2019 20:49
4 minute read.
Amnesty International's video, released January 30th, 2019

Amnesty International's video, released January 30th, 2019. (photo credit: screenshot)

 
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Israeli ministers have accused Amnesty International of antisemitism to divert public attention away from the government’s “war crimes” against Palestinians in the West Bank, the group said on Wednesday.

It hit back at the right-wing reaction to its report on Israel’s tourism industry over the pre-1967 lines called “Destination: Occupation,” which it published on Tuesday.

The report called on the four major digital booking sites – Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor – to boycott hotels, rentals and tourism sites over the pre-1967 lines. This includes Jewish sites in Jerusalem’s Old City, with its Western Wall and the Temple Mount, which are the holiest sites in Judaism.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan tweeted Tuesday that Amnesty has become a leader in the antisemitic #BDS campaign and that its report was an “outrageous attempt to distort facts, deny Jewish heritage & delegitimize Israel.”


Emotions are particularly on the issue among Israeli politicians in light of the anticipated publication this winter of a blacklist of companies doing business with Israel over the pre-1967 lines, which the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is expected to publish later this month.

Emotions are particularly high on the issue among Israeli politicians, in light of the anticipated publication this winter of a blacklist of companies doing business with Israel over the pre-1967 lines, which the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is expected to publish later this month.

The next day Amnesty said that ministers, such as Erdan, are trying to “silence reports of Israel’s war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

To use the charge of antisemitism in the context of the report is “blatant incitement based on lies, deceptions and distortions that are easy to refute and are intended to divert the discussion from the subject at hand, which is, war crimes and human rights violations against Palestinians in the occupied territories,” Amnesty stated.

It clarified that “Amnesty International opposed all forms of discrimination, racism and hate crimes based on religion, nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and identity and other characteristics, including discrimination and antisemitism against Jews.”

Israel, in fighting international delegitimization, has made a clear connection between the Boycott, Sanction and Divestment movement and antisemitism. It has equated BDS campaigns against the West Bank settlements, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights with boycotts of Israel.

Amnesty rejected both charges, noting that it had no position one way or the other on BDS.


On Wednesday it also launched a Twitter campaign against the US-based TripAdvisor, with a short video echoing its call for the company to boycott east Jerusalem and the West Bank settlements.


“Ever wanted a dream vacation in Israel? When I say Israel, I actually mean illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, my homeland,” states the video whose text is read out by an unidentified Palestinian man. The opening shot behind the man as he speaks is of Jerusalem, with the Dome of the Rock.

“So if you want to support illegal settlements, simply book your holiday through TripAdvisor.com,” the man said adding that it is “a great value, do not miss out.”

As a bonus, he said, “you get to normalize discrimination.”

In an email statement TripAdvisor indicated to the The Jerusalem Post that it has no plans to boycott West Bank settlements.

“The listing of a property or business on TripAdvisor does not represent our endorsement of that establishment,” it said.

“We provide the listing as a platform for guests to share their genuine experiences with other travelers. As such, we do not remove listings of properties or businesses that remain active and open for business,” the company stated.

”TripAdvisor believes that travelers coming to our site or app should have access to all relevant information available about a destination, including businesses currently open in those locations,” the company said.

“TripAdvisor will continue to monitor how other travel and Internet search companies list information about properties in the region, as we aim to deliver a consistent experience to all of our users across the globe,” it stated.

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