Amnesty’s travesty

Of late this NGO has been busily wrecking its professional reputation by peddling demonstrably false allegations of war crimes against the Israeli military.

IDF FORCES operate inside the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
IDF FORCES operate inside the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
It’s been said that no good deed goes unpunished, and this is certainly the case where the attitude of the international human rights industry toward Israel is concerned.
The Jewish state has long been a favored focal point for criticism from Amnesty International.
But of late this NGO has been busily wrecking its professional reputation by peddling demonstrably false allegations of war crimes against the Israeli military.
These scandalous misrepresentations emanate from Amnesty’s newly launched “Gaza Platform” that claims to document war crimes allegedly committed by the Israeli military during last year’s armed conflict. It’s a program that’s long on scientific pretension, employing techno-terms like “forensic architecture” that supposedly illuminate a “systematic nature of Israeli violations.”
But closer examination reveals that Amnesty’s political ambitions are writing checks its factual assertions can’t cash. A perusal of the Platform’s methodology reveals it to be little more than an aggregator of anecdotal data and partisan narratives that falsely depict Israel as callously indifferent to Palestinian civilian casualties. And in fact, the intellectual bankruptcy infesting this program extends even to its promotional material that includes falsified video footage.
The video in question relates to “roof-knocking,” an Israeli technique designed to warn civilians of an impending attack. Roof-knocking involves the dropping of a small dud projectile on the roof of a building that has been deemed to be a legitimate military objective under the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC).
The Israelis then wait an adequate interval to allow the safe departure of non-combatants before destroying the target with explosive munitions.
The video – as it appeared on the Amnesty website – shows only a one minute and nine second interval between the roof knock and building’s destruction. But a perusal of the light and shadow patterns clearly reveals that a substantial segment of footage between those two events was edited out of the film.
The original source of the doctored video – the Palestinian Watania news agency – reported that in this particular incident the Israelis first telephoned the occupant and waited 15 minutes before dropping the roof-knock dud projectile.
Then there was another five-minute delay before an explosive bomb was dropped to destroy the building.
In other words, the building’s occupants were provided a full 20 minutes’ advance warning of impending Israeli attack, rather than the mere 69 seconds as alleged by the doctored video. Thus either through malign intent or intellectual negligence, Amnesty International is guilty of propagating a demonstrably false allegation of a war crime against the Israeli military.
Now let’s shift from Amnesty’s obscene fiction to the objective fact that Israel goes well beyond the minimal requirements imposed by the LOAC in its effort to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. This truth is attested to by retired Australian Army Major General Jim Molan, who was part of a multi-national group of senior military officers that visited the Middle East on a fact-finding mission into last year’s Gaza conflict. Molan served as chief of operations for the Multi-National Force in Iraq from 2004 to 2005, and with this experience in mind he categorically declared that Israel’s military operations were beyond legal or moral reproach: “Israel’s air attacks were carefully planned and executed. We’ve all seen reports about the amount of messaging they do; the amount of ringing to make sure civilians are out of the way. As someone who has practically applied the laws of armed conflict in modern warfare, I was very impressed.”
Retired British Colonel Richard Kemp sang even higher hymns of praise in The New York Times where he argued that the Israel military does more and goes farther than any other – including his own – in its quest to minimize civilian casualties.
“No other country uses roofknocks, a munition developed by Israel as part of a series of I.D.F.
warning procedures, including text messages, phone calls and leaflet drops that are known to have saved many Palestinian lives,” said Kemp.
After the exposure of its fraudulent footage, Amnesty discretely removed the offending video without any public clarification or apology.
But that’s just not good enough as a corrective measure against the propagation of false accusations that evoke memories of the medieval blood libels against the Jews.
At best, Amnesty’s long-standing bias against Israel caused the NGO to throw due diligence to the winds in its eagerness to embrace what turned out to be a crude piece of fraudulent anti-Israel propaganda.
But in any event, the use of a doctored video renders laughable Amnesty’s assertions that the Gaza Platform is “a scientific project” that provides “an accurate picture of what really happened.”
The author is president of the Zionist Federation of Australia.