Amnesty går helt antisemitt, skrev MIFF 31. januar 2022. Rapporten fra Amnesty som kom dagen etter, viser at det ikke bare er israelske sikkerhetstiltak fra de siste tiårene som er apartheid i Amnestys øyne, men selve den jødiske statsdannelsen.
- Les MIFFs temaside: Hvorfor Israel IKKE er en apartheid-stat
Amnesty gjør det tydelig at de støtter palestinske krav som vil gjøre slutt på verden eneste jødiske stat. De krever at Israel skal «anerkjenne retten til palestinske flyktninger og deres etterkommere til å returnere til hjemmene hvor de eller deres familier en gang bodde i Israel eller OPT [Amnestys forkortelse for det de kaller «de okkuperte palestinske områdene»]».
På MIFF Sunnmøres debattmøte lørdag 23. april, etterlyste Berit H. Agøy, generalsekretær i Mellomkirkelig råd, konkrete eksempler på feil i Amnestys rapport. Det skal hun få her.
Forfatteren Salo Aizenberg har laget en rapport som påviser 287 usannheter, feil, utelatelser, dobbeltstandarder og tomme eller foreldede kilder i Amnestys rapport. Rapporten er utgitt av NGO Monitor. MIFF gjengir som eksempel 25 eksempler under.
Advokatene Joshua Kern og Anne Herzberg har i tillegg påpekt at Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem (og Amnesty) benytter en definisjon av apartheid som er kunstig og fabrikkert, tilpasset for å demonisere Israel. I en oppfølger understreker de også at den nåværende situasjonen for palestinerne ikke er et resultat av israelsk politikk for å «dominere», men ut fra de geopolitiske faktorene som har påvirket historien til konflikten – inkludert for eksempel arabisk avvisning av en jødisk stat, FNs delingsforslag fra 1947, jordansk og egyptisk kontroll av Vestbredden og Gaa, Oslo-avtalene og palestinernes politiske splittelse.
25 eksempler på feil i Amnestys rapport
Se 262 andre feil i NGO Monitors rapport.
1. OMISSION: Amnesty’s map of Israel does not show Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, or Haifa
In the introductory pages of the report Amnesty provides a map of “Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories” (p. 9). It is a truly bizarre map that is a microcosm of the Amnesty report that says virtually nothing about current reality in Israel but instead offers the reader a mythology of Jewish evil and ultimately a reflection of the hopes and dreams of Amnesty: the erasure of Israel as a Jewish state. This map of Israel does not include Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, or Haifa, Israel’s three largest cities, in what was obviously a deliberate decision. Instead, the map shows “East Jerusalem” and the names of three “oppressed” Arab towns referenced in the report: Iqrit, AlAraqib and Umm Al-Hiran. In Amnesty’s vision, Israel as a Jewish state should not exist, and thus the names and locations of the Jewish state’s main cities are omitted as if the territory was already replaced by Arab localities and names. It is a preposterous geographic representation for what is presented by Amnesty as a serious, wellresearched report.
2. ERROR: Amnesty claims that Israel stole more than 150% of the land in Israel
A core element of Amnesty’s apartheid charge is that Jews stole all the land from its rightful Palestinian owners beginning in 1948. Over about 15 pages of the report in Section 5.4.1 “Land Expropriation Laws and Policies,” Amnesty lists various laws Israel supposedly abused or created from 1948 to the mid-1950s to confiscate the land in what it calls “massive and cruel land seizures” to enable “Jewish domination.” However, Amnesty did not perform any primary research and simply cut-and-paste various portions from a range of books and reports, not realizing that adding up the various millions of dunams (1,000 dunams equals 1 square kilometer) that Amnesty contends Israel stole sums up to more than 150% of the entire territory of Israel. Amnesty’s report outlines with specific numbers that Israel expropriated at least 32.2 million dunams of land when all of pre-1967 Israel is only about 20.7 million dunams. Details of this egregious error, which undermines the veracity of Amnesty’s entire report, are outlined with specificity in the endnote.
3. ERROR: Israel expropriated 10,000 Palestinians shops
In the Executive Summary, demonstrating the importance of this statistic, and again deeper in the report, Amnesty claims that Israel expropriated over 10,000 shops from Palestinian refugees in the 1948-9 war (p. 23 and 120). The source Amnesty cites is a self-published blog post by an individual with no credentials in the field.11 The 10,000 number is preposterous since it would mean that the retail landscape in the majority agrarian and Bedouin Arab population of British Mandate Palestine was three-times denser than 2020 America, the world capital of retail.12 Like many of the numbers in the report, this figure is unsubstantiated and easily shown to be false.
4. ERROR: Calling Arabs in Israel “Palestinians” when most call themselves “ArabIsraeli” or “Israeli”
Amnesty writes: “Regardless of whether individual Palestinians are citizens of Israel living in Israel, or Palestinians living under Israeli military rule in the OPT, or Palestinian refugees, they overwhelmingly regard themselves as Palestinian…” (p. 73-4). This is another fatal flaw of the report as Amnesty deliberately erases Arab-Israeli identity by fabricating the notion that the majority see themselves as “Palestinian.” Polls show the vast majority of Arabs in Israel refer to themselves as anything but, either Arab-Israeli (51%), Israeli (23%) or just Arab (15%) and only 7% as Palestinians according to one study.13 Even a source known to be hostile to Israel (+972 Magazine) shows that only 14% of Arabs in Israel consider themselves “Palestinian.”14 The problem Amnesty faced in crafting its apartheid thesis is that Arab-Israelis are active in every aspect of Israeli society including the legislature, leading schools, every major profession, top judges, sports, and media, and are not subject to any type of “segregation” policies. Also, the fact that the vast majority of Arabs inside Israel do not see themselves as Palestinians complicates Amnesty’s neat portrayal of Israeli apartheid as pitting cruel “Jews” against oppressed “Palestinians” who are portrayed as a separate “race” in order to fit into the definition of apartheid. Amnesty decided to solve these logical problems through a complete erasure of everything related to Arab-Israelis, even how they self-identify. As Amnesty explains, which is key in their application of the apartheid label to Israel: “This report demonstrates that Jewish Israelis and Palestinians self-identify as different groups, and crucially that the laws of Israel perceive and treat Palestinians as a separate and inferior group” (p. 72). The entire thesis falls apart if Amnesty has to acknowledge that the vast majority of Arabs inside Israel see themselves as something other than Palestinian.
5. MISREPRESENTATION: Fabricating the notion of “nationality” as a status distinct from “citizenship”
Another problem faced by Amnesty is that 2 million Arab-Israelis have citizenship, complicating the apartheid thesis. Amnesty solves this problem by acknowledging that “Palestinians” in Israel have citizenship but invents a new concept by asserting that they are not “nationals of Israel” and are “denied a nationality” and thus are discriminated against (p. 81-2). This supposed lack of “nationality” is the first item of evidence cited by Amnesty in the section on Israel’s “Segregation and Control” of Palestinians, and is repeated several times in the report (e.g. p. 217, 260, 264). Amnesty does not explain how a country can grant a person citizenship but not “nationality,” a separate concept according to Amnesty, and does not provide examples for how this invented requirement can be achieved if Israel seeks to avoid apartheid. For instance, how might Germany grant “nationality” to its Turkish citizens in addition to citizenship? Or Australians to its Aboriginal citizens? Does the “Arab Republic of Egypt” that enshrines Islam as its state religion grant nationality separate from citizenship to its large and ancient Coptic minority, who do not consider themselves Arabic or Muslim?
6. ERROR: Falsely blaming Israel for Arabs losing British Mandate era Palestinian citizenship in 1948
Amnesty’s accusations against Israel are boundless and often preposterous. For example, Amnesty claims that Israel stripped Palestinian refugees of their “Palestinian citizenship granted under the Palestinian Citizenship Orders of 1925-1942” (p. 82-3). Amnesty in its ignorance does not realize that the Palestinian Citizenship Orders of 1925-1942 was a form of citizenship granted by the British government authorities under the British Palestine Mandate.15 When Britain withdrew from Palestine in May 1948, all persons who held this citizenship, both Arab and Jew, automatically lost this British granted citizenship. This one detail further encapsulates the core construct of the report where Jews are always oppressors and Palestinians always victims.
7. MISREPRESENTATION: Claiming Arabs in Israel are “packed” although Jews live more densely
A key tactic of Amnesty is to use words that are associated with apartheid to support its false narrative. The words fragmentation and segregation appear roughly 150 times, as well as words such as “enclave,” “packed” and “dense.” Amnesty seeks to create the perception that Israel has forced Palestinians into tight, restricted areas (they all but say the word “Bantustan”) and by extension, inhumane apartheid conditions. Amnesty writes that 7% of the land in Israel is privately owned and that: “Jewish Israelis own over half of this, that is around 3.5% to 4% of the total land. About 80% of Palestinian citizens of Israel are packed into the remaining 3% to 3.5% of the land” (p. 128). If Arabs are “packed” into 3.5% of the land, what would one call Jews, who comprise about 350% of the Arab population, living in a similar amount of land? Ultra-packed? Amnesty also does not realize that in this sentence it acknowledges that Arabs in Israel own more private land per capita than Jews – hardly a feature of apartheid.
8. ERROR: Amnesty claims Israel stole 100% of privately held land by Arabs in 1991-92
Amnesty lists hundreds of numbers in its report to prove Israel apartheid, but due to shoddy research the fabrications and internal contradictions are rampant. Amnesty writes: “According to one academic study, a 1992 report of the Israel Land Administration, the Israeli government body then responsible for managing state land in Israel, indicates that the [Land Ordinance of 1943] was invoked in the confiscation of 1.85 million dunams, 92% of which were privately owned by Palestinians” (p. 122). Footnote 533 cites page 88 of Access Denied by Hussein Abu Hussein and Fiona McKay, a key source for the section on Israel’s supposed land theft. This is the original quote from the book: “The Israeli Land administration’s report of 1992 shows that in the years 1991 and 1992 the legislation [Land Ordinance of 1943] was invoked on 1,850,000 dunams of land of which some 92 per cent was privately owned land.” The authors cite an Israel Land Authority document from 1993 and their footnote 83 adds: “The report does not specify how much of the private land was owned by Arabs, but perhaps half privately owned land in the state is Arab owned.” Amnesty falsifies that 92% of the land supposedly confiscated was privately owned by Palestinians when the original source has no idea and merely speculates that 50% was Arab owned. If the confiscation was equal for Jews and Arabs, how is this evidence of apartheid? But the fabrication is even more egregious as the book itself makes a fatal error that Amnesty copies. 1.85 million dunams is equivalent to 1,850 sqkm which is a very large area. Did Israel really confiscate 1,700 sqkm of private land (92% of 1,850) in 1991 and 1992? Total private land ownership in Israel is only about 7.5% of the total land mass (as Amnesty acknowledges on page 128) or about 1,700 sqkm! Hussein & McKay and then Amnesty literally accuse Israel of stealing 100% of privately held land in the nation in the early 1990s. It should be noted that Amnesty relies on this same deeply flawed book, Access Denied, for twenty citations.
9. ERROR: Amnesty claims Gazans attacked “the fence” not at targets “over” the fence into Israel
Amnesty simply cannot acknowledge the existence of Palestinian violence and terrorism against Israel, either now or in the past, as doing so would imperil their narrative that all Israeli actions are part of cruel and inhumane apartheid and have nothing to do with legitimate security needs. The complete erasure of Arab and Palestinian actions of violence or terrorism is a startling omission that permeates the entire report. An egregious example is the section on the “Great March of Return.” Amnesty does hint at some violence emanating from Gaza but not really, writing “some protesters attempted to approach the fence and damage it and threw stones, Molotov cocktails and incendiary kites in the direction of the fence.” (p. 113) In this Orwellian retelling, Gazans never sought to harm Israelis or areas inside Israel, instead they were merely attacking the fence. The lie here is incredible. Many thousands of acres of Israeli land have been burned by incendiary kites that went over the fence, a practice which continued well into 2021.16 These kites imperil Israeli communities and alone justify strong actions against Hamas. There were also documented instances of actual breaches of the fence with armed Gazans entering Israeli territory17 and a Hamas official admitted that 50 out of 62 Palestinians killed were in fact Hamas fighters, not innocent protestors as Amnesty presents.18 Even a UN report that Amnesty cites in Footnote 1165 actually admits to what Amnesty cannot: “during most protests dozens have approached the fence attempting to damage it, burning tires, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails towards Israeli forces and flying incendiary kites and balloons into Israeli territory; the latter resulted in extensive damage to agricultural land and nature reserves inside Israel and risked the lives of Israeli civilians.”19
10. ERROR: Amnesty fabricates notion that Israel “masks” data to hide its suppression of Palestinians
Amnesty’s libel against Israel is deliberate and systematic. In Section 5.5.1 on Israel’s “Suppression of Palestinians’ Human Development” Amnesty inserts the comment that Israel has “sought to mask this reality” by hiding adverse statistical data (p. 165). It is a serious charge that a modern OECD nation is “masking” statistics in a way one might expect from a totalitarian regime. As evidence, Amnesty cites the concluding observations of a 2019 UN CERD report on Israel.20 Amnesty points to the section on “Concerns and Recommendations,” paragraph 7 and 8, where it recommends that Israel “provide updated statistics on the demographic composition of the population and on the socioeconomic status of the different population groups, within its territory and in the territories under its effective control, disaggregated by ethnic or national origin, gender and languages spoken, including migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons, taking into account the principle of self-identification.” Amnesty extrapolates from these concerns and recommendations to claim that Israel hides data to support its suppression of Palestinians, citing no other evidence. A review of the same CERD reports on many other countries shows that nearly identical concerns and requests for further statistical information are found in most documents. It appears to be standard language in CERD and similar reports, as demonstrated in reviews of reports for Italy, France and Australia and several other countries (see endnote for full detail).21 Amnesty would never accuse these nations of “masking” data to hide the discrimination outlined in these same UN reports but employs double standards and misrepresentations to slander Israel.
11. MISREPRESENTATION: Amnesty devotes 15 pages on the situation of 877 people
The distorted world view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is encapsulated in about 15 pages (p. 132-41 and 226-30), or more than 5% of the report, cataloguing supposed apartheid related to at most 877 people – as Amnesty acknowledges – in some neighborhoods in East Jerusalem such as Sheikh Jarrah. All of these cases are related to long standing ownership and tenant disputes that are beyond the scope of this document. Ownership and permitting disputes in Silwan comprise at least seven pages in the report, but as Amnesty’s own data shows, the entire matter has affected 20 persons per year. The point is that the scale of these matters are negligible compared to the entirety of the region and population comprising some 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and 2 million Arabs in Israel. Amnesty notes that in Sheikh Jarrah there have been 21 home demolitions since 2009, or less than two per year, and seven more families face eviction based on lawsuits filed against them in 2008, or 14 years ago. One might ask why a true apartheid government would wait so long to remove so few? UN data cited by Amnesty shows that various eviction actions against Arab residents in all of these East Jerusalem neighborhoods could affect 877 persons and many have been dragging on for years.22 In January 2021 Hamas bulldozed the homes of 23 families in Rafah without warning, more than in Sheikh Jarrah in over a decade, expropriated for commercial purposes;23 Amnesty did not issue any reports on this incident. While it is perfectly reasonable to criticize Israeli actions in these locations, the scale of the issue and the multi-decade legal entanglements are misrepresented as evidence apartheid
12. MISREPRESENTATION: Israel wrongfully displays archeological finds as “Jewish”
Amnesty flirts with denying Jewish history in the Holy Land, which is ahistorical and antisemitic. Amnesty writes: “Jewish settlers, other Israeli citizens and Israel’s military have illegally moved archaeological artefacts unearthed in the OPT and displayed them as Jewish and Israeli in exhibitions in Israel and abroad, in contravention of international law and treaties on cultural property.” (p. 192) No specific artifacts that are supposedly subject to this incorrect “Jewish” designation and display are identified by Amnesty. The source for this accusation per footnote 1059 is a report written by Ahmed Rjoob, Director of Palestine Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities. PA officials have a long history of calling Jewish history in the region fraudulent24 and this includes Rjoob who in his report states: “Archaeology plays a crucial role in the formation and enactment of colonial-national historical imagination and in authenticating Israel’s territorial claims.” The word “Jewish” is notably not used once in the Rjoob report instead “Palestinian heritage” is used often. It is preposterous to claim that Israel is wrongfully displaying artifacts found in historical Judea and Samaria as “Jewish.” But like the map that erases Jewish cities, Amnesty seeks to erase Jewish history and Jewish cultural heritage.
13. OMISSION: Not using the word “terrorism” even one time in the entire 280-page report
Incredibly and without shame, Amnesty refuses to use the word “terrorism” even one time in the body of the text.25 This deliberate omission is part of Amnesty’s decision to pretend that Arabs and Palestinians have never been and are not at all engaged in deliberate acts of violence against Israel and its civilian population, including the 1948, 1967 and 1973 wars. In the same way, Amnesty never mentions that Hamas is a terrorist organization designated as such by the EU, US, Canada, UK and others. Despite numerous pages cataloguing Israeli actions in Gaza, Amnesty never bothers to mention Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization active in this territory. By eliminating all references to terrorism and presenting Hamas as nothing more than representing innocent Palestinians, Amnesty can present all Israeli actions as deliberately cruel and bloodthirsty, all within the paradigm of apartheid. Other related words like “suicide bomber,” which represented a major aspect of the conflict and drove many Israeli actions, are also not mentioned even once.
14. ERROR: Falsifying and misrepresenting a quote from Ehud Barak in three ways
Amnesty claims in several places that all Israeli leaders acted with intention to maintain the apartheid regime (e.g. p. 218) but provides no analysis of each leader and their actions. Instead, Amnesty reduces the entire legacies of all Israeli Prime Ministers to quote snippets. The example of Ehud Barak is particularly egregious and dishonest. Amnesty claims that leaders like Barak intended to “minimize Palestinians’ access to and control of land across all territories under Israel’s effective control” (p. 67). Amnesty states as its only evidence regarding Barak that: “Ehud Barak, when he was prime minister between 1999 and 2001, equated a ‘Muslim majority’ with ‘destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.’” Amnesty’s dishonesty here is threefold. First, the quote comes from an interview held with Barak in 2002,26 when he was out of office, so it is plainly false to claim that he stated these words when he was Prime Minister. Second, the interview was specifically regarding the offers for statehood that Barak made to Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians, which Arafat ultimately rejected. Amnesty dishonestly cites Barak from an interview where he discusses his intention to hand over the West Bank and Gaza for Palestinian statehood to prove Barak’s goal all along was to “control all the territories.” Finally, Amnesty’s dishonesty is compounded by not mentioning anywhere in the entire 280-page document, even in the historical timeline, how Barak offered statehood to the Palestinians twice – of course, since this event undermines the entire apartheid narrative.
15. DOUBLE STANDARD: Israel’s Nation-State Law versus similar laws from dozens of nations
Amnesty considers Israel’s “Nation-State Law” which enshrines Israel as the “nation state of the Jewish people” as the absolute embodiment of Israeli apartheid. Nothing disturbs Amnesty more than this legislation. This is an example of the “perfection standard” where similar actions by other nations evoke no concern but when done by Israel is seen as apartheid. The law is mentioned approximately 20 times in the report with a two-page sidebar where Amnesty claims the law “constitutionally entrenched inequality and racial and national discrimination against Palestinian and other nonJewish citizens of Israel” (p. 65-6). While it is certainly legitimate to deeply criticize the law (as many Israeli Jews did) and strive for a world where there is no religion or nationality enshrined in any document, it is a gross double standard to present Israel’s Nation-State Law, which does not change the Basic Law preserving equality for all citizens of Israel, as an element of apartheid when dozens of states, including many Western democracies, enshrine a particular religion or ethnicity in a governing national document with no apparent criticism. According to one study, more than 20% of nations have an official state religion.27 Nine European nations are officially Christian with special rights for this chosen religion. Here are some examples of many, including a particularly blatant example in Amnesty’s home country, the UK:
- Denmark – Part I of their constitution says: “The Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be the Established Church of Denmark, and as such, it shall be supported by the State.” The constitution adds that “legislative power shall be vested in the King” who shall “be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.” Unlike Israel, Denmark reserves its top role to one religion.
- UK – The Church of England is the official church of the nation and of the English people.28 Unlike Israel’s statement about being a Jewish state, this is not just symbolic. The second chamber of Parliament, the House of Lords, literally reserves 26 seats exclusively for Christian Bishops. Thus Muslims, Jews and all other religions are legally prohibited from certain key roles in government. There is nothing even remotely as discriminatory in Israel’s laws.
- Egypt – What is officially known as the “Arab Republic of Egypt” states in its constitution that it is an “Arab nation”, and Article 2 affirms: “Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic is its official language. The principles of Islamic Sharia are the principle source of legislation.” Israel does not enshrine Judaism or Jewish law as the principle source of legislation. Copts comprise an estimated 10% of the population of Egypt and do not consider themselves either Arabs or Muslim.
- Jordan – Articles 1 states that Jordan is an “Arab State” and that the Jordanian people are part of the “Arab Nation.” Article 2 states that “Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic is its official language.” The throne is reserved only for a Muslim individual. Christians comprise about 4% of the population in Jordan and are part of one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.
- Greece – This nation’s constitution begins with the words “In the name of the Holy and Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity,” a specific reference to Christianity. Indeed, Article 3 states: “The prevailing religion in Greece is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ.”
16. ERROR: Amnesty claims Israel “destroyed” hospitals when source only says some “damaged”
Amnesty writes: “During the May 2021 military operation, Israel damaged or destroyed 28 health care facilities in Gaza, including nine hospitals and 19 primary care clinics, according to OCHA.” (p. 211) The UN OCHA report cited in footnote 1185 says: “9 hospitals partially damaged, 19 clinics damaged.” None were destroyed. Amnesty fabricates that some were “destroyed” when the UN report only says “damaged.”29 As shown further below in other similar reports, self-reported “damage” is typically extremely minor (it often literally refers to damage below $5,000), and facilities are usually back to normal operations within days.
17. DOUBLE STANDARD: Israel’s citizenship policies favoring Jews from other countries
Amnesty considers Israel’s Law of Return, which essentially allows Jews around the world to gain Israeli citizenship, as a core feature of Israeli apartheid. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racism (ICERD), which Amnesty quotes often in manipulating its definition of apartheid, makes clear that “State Parties” can make decisions on “nationality, citizenship or naturalization,” even for “the sole purpose of securing adequate advancement of certain racial or ethnic groups or individuals requiring such protection as may be necessary in order to ensure such groups or individuals equal enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms…”30 If there ever was a group of people intended for this exact clause it is Jews, who suffered a genocide that wiped out 40% of their population only 77 years ago and as a tiny minority of 14 million people still face high levels of antisemitism worldwide. Numerous nations offer special citizenship privileges to their diaspora (e.g., Denmark, Ireland), even for persons with generations old connections to the country. It is the height of hypocrisy and dishonest manipulation for Amnesty to consider Israel’s citizenship laws favoring Jews in the diaspora as apartheid when this common practice worldwide is legal and never raises concerns about racism. But Amnesty treats the Jewish state differently – it cannot exercise sovereign rights common to all nations without being tagged as apartheid.
18. OMISSION: No mention of an Arab party joining ruling Israeli coalition for the first time in history
In 2021 an Arab-Israeli Islamist party led by Mansour Abbas joined the ruling coalition government for the first time in history – yet in a report on Israeli apartheid inside Israel Amnesty decided that this historic event was not worth mentioning, let alone incorporating into its analysis. Even in an eight-line footnote (number 262) describing the “new coalition government” formed by Naftali Bennet in June 2021, Amnesty still cannot find room to mention this important fact. This one omission alone proves that Amnesty’s report is deliberately dishonest and simply a propaganda piece.
19. ERROR: Manipulation of quotes to remove anything that might contradict the apartheid narrative
Amnesty expended significant effort to make sure that absolutely any evidence contrary to their apartheid narrative, no matter how small, was omitted. In discussing how Arabs in Israel are exempt from military service Amnesty quotes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website that says the “only legal distinction between Arab and Jewish citizens is… civic duty” (p. 83). The full quote actually says: “The only legal distinction between Arab and Jewish citizens is not one of rights, but rather of civic duty,” referring to military duty.31 Amnesty could not find room for seven more words to show that Arabs are considered by law as having equal rights. Instead, Amnesty awkwardly inserted an ellipse in violation of common sense use of citations. The manipulation demonstrates the careful crafting of the report by Amnesty where literally every sentence was curated to maximize the demonization of Israel while simultaneously omitting any countervailing information.
20. ERROR: Amnesty claims it is inconceivable for Israeli-Arabs to serve in the military
Amnesty’s erasure of Arab-Israelis and their experience is total and complete. In a section on Arab exemption from serving in the military Amnesty writes: “It is inconceivable for almost any Palestinian citizen of Israel to serve in any army that is occupying Palestinian land and systematically repressing Palestinians’ rights” (p. 83). Amnesty willfully ignores the fact that many Arabs in Israel do choose to serve in the army, and at growing numbers. In fact, record numbers enlisted in 2020, with more than 1,000 new Arab soldiers – a stark repudiation of the fabricated apartheid narrative.32 The Bedouins, which Amnesty obsesses over with some 20 pages of coverage in the report, have a long history of military service, with 1,500 currently in the IDF.33
21. MISREPRESENTATION: Focus on revocation of residency of 18 Palestinians out of 358,000
A notable aspect of Amnesty’s report is the massive exaggeration of relatively minor events and the extrapolation of some possible or confirmed “bad things” to charge the entire nation of apartheid. A good example is the nearly two pages Amnesty devotes to the revocation of residency status for Arabs in East Jerusalem. Amnesty see Israel using revocation to “consolidate its sovereignty” and that Israel has “restricted the number of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem to maintain a Jewish majority in the city” in what it calls a “quiet deportation” of “thousands of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem over the years.” (p. 85) But the statistics supporting this assertion are laughable. Amnesty itself reports that these deportations affected “a total of 14,701 Palestinians between 1967 and 2020” –and 10,376 of the total were due to the persons relocating themselves abroad, hardly the cruelty Amnesty ascribes to Israel.34
Footnotes 296 and 297 cite a HaMoked article as key evidence, but the report shows that in calendar year 2020 Israel revoked the residency of 18 East Jerusalem Palestinians35 – out of a total of 358,000 persons! The Arab population in East Jerusalem has soared over the decades, up about 33% since 2009 (nearly a 90,000 person increase). Yet the situation affecting an amount that is not even a small rounding error is seen as nothing less than evidence of apartheid. By comparison, Amnesty’s home country, UK, stripped citizenship from more people than Israel in 2020, primarily targeting Muslims.36
22. MISREPRESENTATION: Focus on restrictions related to Palestinian family reunification
Another example of the inflation of events to demonstrate apartheid: Amnesty devotes about seven pages of the report (p. 98-104) documenting how Israel limits citizenship or residency status for family reunification. Several errors and misrepresentations regarding this section are highlighted further below. However, the statistics regarding this matter reveals that the issue is grossly exaggerated and hardly evidence of apartheid. A report from an NGO cited by Amnesty (footnote 396) reveals that over 20 years from 1993 to 2002 there were a total of 16,007 applications for family reunification or 800 per year, and data shows that more than half were approved.37 After new tighter legislation was passed in 2003 until 2013 there were 12,284 family unification requests, of which 5,629 were approved, 4,249 rejected and the remainder postponed or delayed. This means that a few hundred per year were rejected, often for security reasons and sometimes because “center of life” requirements could not be verified. From 2004 to 2013 there were 17,616 applications for registering children from mixed residency marriages; about 1 in 5 were rejected. The population of the West Bank is approximately 3 million according to Amnesty, so again the relative numbers are negligible, yet Amnesty extrapolates this matter as nothing less than evidence of apartheid. This also highlights a double standard, as many nations have arcane family reunification and citizenship rules that are often seen as unfair; for example, Denmark has highly stringent rules.38
23. ERROR: Fabricating that Basic Laws allow for violation of rights, source cited says the reverse
Amnesty cites Israel’s Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty that establishes the values of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Admitting that this is actual law that Israel adheres to would undermine the entire apartheid argument thus Amnesty adds in its discussion: “However, under Article 8 of the same Basic Law, the state’s Jewishness is a legal consideration that allows the state to limit the right to equality and violate other rights that are protected within the Basic Law” (p. 64-5). As evidence, footnote 144 cites a 2012 paper written in Hebrew by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak titled “The Values of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State.” The falsifications in Amnesty’s comment are two-fold. First, Article 8 says nothing about “Jewishness” as a consideration to limit rights to equality. Article 8 says: “There shall be no violation of rights under this Basic Law except by a law befitting the values of the State of Israel, enacted for a proper purpose, and to an extent no greater than is required.” Second, the main thesis of the Barak article is the exact opposite of what Amnesty contends. Justice Barak explains: “It is true, the Jewish people have a special key to enter the home that is called The State of Israel. That is the point of Zionism and that is the point of our Jewish heritage…[but] giving the right of immigration to Jews does not discriminate against non-Jews.” Later he adds, “Of course the values of the State of Israel as a democratic state oppose all discrimination and necessitate equality.” There is absolutely nothing in the article that supports Amnesty’s fabricated statement; in fact it proves the reverse.
24. DOUBLE STANDARD: Citing higher poverty rates for Arabs as apartheid; it’s much worse in the UK
Amnesty’s devotes multiple pages to sweeping statements and conclusions regarding deep discrimination against Arabs in all walks of life. Amnesty relies on dozens of statistics showing how Arabs are faring worse than Jews as evidence of apartheid. For example, Amnesty notes: “In 2020, 23% of Israeli citizens lived under the poverty line, compared to 35.8% of Palestinian citizens of Israel” (p. 166). Besides the construct of the sentence which erroneously tries to distinguish between “Israeli citizens” and “Palestinians citizens of Israel” (in both cases they are Israeli citizens), these statistics do not evidence apartheid. The data is accurately cited from the Central Bureau of Statistics. One item omitted is that in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sector the poverty rate is 49%, far higher than the Arab sector, already undermining the notion that poverty rates evidence apartheid.39 But looking at the numbers comparatively to minority poverty rates worldwide shows that Israel is actually doing quite well relatively, and Amnesty should focus its apartheid lens elsewhere. The ratio of Arab to Jewish poverty in Israel is 1.56x; In the UK, Amnesty’s home country, it is far worse, with 50% of Muslim households in poverty, far higher than Arabs in Israel, and compares to 18% nationally40 – a 2.78x ratio. The Black poverty rate in the UK is also similarly high, at 46% for black households versus 19% for white – a 2.4x ratio.41 Indigenous persons in Canada had a 25% poverty rate versus about 10% for Canada overall – a 2.5x ratio.42
25. ERROR: Palestinians in Jerusalem lose 50% of GDP each year because they can’t get a mortgage
Amnesty’s reliance on unverified statistics from a large number of third party reports which underpin their entire document leads to numerous preposterous conclusions. Some have already been shown above. In a section discussing the weak economy in East Jerusalem, all blamed on Israeli apartheid, Amnesty writes: “Israel’s discriminatory policies relating to land use, planning and housing and residency rights, which are aimed at hampering the natural growth of the city’s Palestinian population, have contributed to high poverty rates amongst Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Indeed, every year, Palestinians in East Jerusalem lose between NIS 630 million (USD 203 million) and NIS 1.4 billion (USD 452 million)… because they cannot prove ownership rights and therefore cannot secure a mortgage” (p. 176-7). The GDP of East Jerusalem is approximately $600 million,43 so using the midpoint of the annual “losses,” would mean that each and every year in aggregate East Jerusalem residents lose about 50% of total East Jerusalem GDP. The source cited by Amnesty does not provide further evidence of how this annual loss is incurred.44 The scale of the loss is preposterous, especially given the number of households where ownership is in dispute is in the hundreds based on reports of “at risk” homes due to lack of ownership evidence. There is also no economic explanation for how an existing homeowner not being able to get a mortgage results in financial losses, let alone annual losses. Data from Palestinian sources shows that housing values have been steadily rising in Arab East Jerusalem, at 19% per year in one period from 2007-11, meaning homeowners are gaining value each year regardless of the mortgage market.45 This is the first item of evidence Amnesty cites to show how Israel’s discriminatory policies hamper growth in East Jerusalem.