Right from wrong:Amnesty International’s offensive defense

The closest that Amnesty ever comes to acknowledging any brutality whatsoever on the part of Palestinian terrorists...is by comparing them to Israelis.

An injured woman is evacuated to hospital after a rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel, in Ashkelon, southern Israel (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
An injured woman is evacuated to hospital after a rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel, in Ashkelon, southern Israel
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
As has been a long-standing tradition for Amnesty International – the “world’s largest grassroots human rights organization” that boasts being “independent of any political ideology” – the UK-based NGO castigated Israel this week for a crime that it didn’t commit.
Unlike most of Amnesty’s past distortions and outright lies about the Jewish state, however, the one in question was immediately refuted, even by members of the left-wing media who normally view Israel as the root of all evil.
Late Tuesday morning, about six hours after the IDF assassinated Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata in Gaza, the office of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) was struck by a rocket. The hit, which was witnessed by Fox News correspondent Trey Yingst and others on the scene, was the result of a flubbed launch aimed at Israel by Islamic Jihad terrorists.
“Israel did not strike this building,” Yingst tweeted. “A rocket misfired from Gaza. I was across the street when it happened.”
But in its impatience to pounce on Israel, Amnesty expressed its outrage on social media before doing any fact-checking.
“We strongly condemn [the] attack on the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights, whose office in Gaza was struck by an Israeli missile earlier this morning,” Amnesty tweeted. “Strikes targeting civilian buildings is [sic] a violation of international law. We are sending our solidarity to @ICHR_Pal.”
Two and a half hours later, after comments correcting the error began to mount, Amnesty made an even bigger fool of itself by failing to retract its previous assertion. Rather than issuing an apology – which might have turned its dishonest mistake into a simple disingenuous one – it pulled a neat trick by tweeting: “Conflicting information is circulating about what exactly hit the @ichr_pal office in Gaza and where the attack came from. @amnesty is calling for an impartial investigation into this incident and other events in Gaza today.”
This statement contained a convenient two-fer: implying that the account of the event was suspiciously slanted in Israel’s favor, while setting the stage for a future probe into IDF actions during the current campaign in Gaza.
ANYONE TEMPTED to give Amnesty the benefit of the doubt in this case need only read what it posted immediately prior to its denunciation of the rocket-fire on the ICHR office.
Literally one minute beforehand, Amnesty declared that “Israel has a history of carrying out serious violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza, including war crimes, with impunity and displaying a shocking disregard for Palestinian lives.”
Talk about twisting reality beyond recognition.
Though it’s true that international humanitarian law is repeatedly violated in Gaza, and that the lives of the Palestinians residing in the terrorist-ruled enclave are treated with “shocking disregard,” it is Hamas and Islamic Jihad, not Israel, which bear full responsibility.
The closest that Amnesty ever comes to acknowledging any brutality whatsoever on the part of Palestinian terrorists – whom it refuses to refer to as such – is by comparing them to Israelis.
It’s a vile form of moral equivalence that members of the Left promote to appear even-handed and level-headed where upholding human rights and decrying violence are concerned. A perfect example of this transparent pretense was Amnesty’s initial response to the massive Islamic Jihad rocket barrages into Israeli population centers, following the IDF’s surgical strike on Abu al-Ata – conducted with as much precision as possible to prevent collateral casualties.
“Reports that five Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli airstrikes today are deeply worrying,” Amnesty tweeted. “The ensuing escalation in violence between Israel and Palestinian armed groups raises fears of a rise in civilian bloodshed. We are closely monitoring the situation... Palestinian armed groups and Israeli forces must also refrain from carrying out indiscriminate attacks and direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects. These are serious violations of international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes.”
THE ABOVE depiction of the latest spike in what has been an ongoing war of attrition against the Jewish state – waged by Islamist terrorists, among them proxies of the ayatollah-led regime in Tehran – is not an inadvertent misrepresentation. On the contrary, it’s the kind of purposeful fiction that anti-Israel propaganda is made of and perpetuates.
Amnesty is a master of this particular art of deception, which it was happy to summon on Wednesday while trying to save face. In an attempt to whitewash its blunder in relation to the botched Islamic Jihad rocket launch, and to justify its inability to admit that Israel wasn’t to blame, Amnesty turned to some old agitprop for help.
“We have already acknowledged there are conflicting reports about this attack & called for investigation to establish the facts,” it tweeted. “The Israeli authorities’ persistent refusal to grant @amnesty access to Gaza since 2012 only makes verifying the source of such attacks a harder task... Israel must immediately grant @amnesty & other international human rights organizations access to Gaza to investigate allegations of violations of international humanitarian law by all parties.”
This was a reference to the period after Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel’s eight-day war against terrorists in Gaza, which began on November 14, 2012, with the assassination of Ahmed Jabari, second-in-command of Hamas’s military wing, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades. During the operation, the IDF took great pains to prevent civilian casualties, phoning and dispatching fliers to the residents of Gaza, warning them of imminent attacks and urging them to evacuate specified areas. In keeping with its use and abuse of innocent people as human shields – as well as its appropriation of schools and hospitals to front and serve as bases for its terrorist infrastructure – Hamas ordered Gazans to stay put.
In other words, while Israeli civilians were largely protected from Hamas rocket bombardment by bomb shelters and Iron Dome batteries, the residents of Gaza were forced by their oppressors to be sitting ducks. Due to the asymmetry, far more Palestinians were killed in the conflict than Israelis. It was just what the global anti-Israel “human rights” community was hungry to “investigate.”
And it did so with a vengeance – literally – which is precisely why Israel declined to participate in the farce. It was a wise decision not to lend a helping hand to those whose ultimate goal was to find fault, not facts.
THAT AMNESTY invoked a seven-year-old bone of contention to explain the utter lack of professionalism it displayed this week – a combination of ineptitude and eagerness to discredit Israel at any cost – was worse than cynical. The good news is that it was subjected on social media to heavy doses of ridicule and disdain.
“The best thing that can be said about the rockets fired out of Gaza is that they’re rarely more accurate than @amnesty’s reporting,” one Twitter user quipped.
“How bloody dare you,” another blasted. “Any respect I may have had for @amnesty is GONE. Why the hell would you tweet a complete lie? Clearly, @amnesty cannot be trusted. Will beat [sic] that in mind next time I read anything you publish.”
“It’s true – there is conflicting information circulating,” a third wrote. “The conflicting information is between: (a) what you said happened; and (b) what actually happened. That’s *how* there came to be conflicting information circulating.”
Yet another announced, without realizing the irony of his words: “@amnesty should call for an impartial investigation into @amnesty.”
As it happens, an investigation into itself indeed was undertaken several months ago. Yes, the “Amnesty International Staff Wellbeing Review” – conducted by the organizational development firm, KonTerra – was released in February. And though it did not examine the ideological bent that Amnesty insists it doesn’t have in its pursuit of human rights, it did reveal a high level of hypocrisy in the NGO’s attitude toward human relations.
According to the review, spurred by the suicide of two Amnesty employees, “...many former and current staff describe Amnesty as an environment in which staff do not feel that they are valued, protected or treated with respect and dignity. The Assessment Team received many reports (from multiple offices and regions) of power misuse, discrimination, targeting, bullying and other practices which have undermined wellbeing. One current staff member described Amnesty as ‘a toxic culture of secrecy and mistrust – a place where there are back-room deals.’”
No wonder the holier-than-thou outfit prefers Gaza to Israel.