Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl and Jewish Leadership Council Chair Keith Black have issued the following statement:
We have seen a copy of a report due to be released by Amnesty International UK (AI UK) tomorrow. We are shocked but not surprised by the content given the history of AI UK’s one-sided positioning on Israel.
The report is completely biased and applies standards to Israel that are not applied to any other country. The emotive term “apartheid” against Israel is a preposterous slur. Israel is a vibrant democracy and a state for all its citizens, as exemplified by its diverse government and robust civil society.
Despite AI UK’s claim to recognise the Jewish claim to self-determination, the report makes clear both through its lamenting of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and through its policy recommendations, that it does not support that right. The State of Israel was established with broad international support and survived early attempts at destruction. There are still many who insist on punishing Israel for its very survival. Jewish communities across the world see too clearly through these attempts and reject them.
Regrettably, inequality and discrimination exist in all democracies, and that includes in Israel. We support all sincere efforts to address such disparities. Amnesty’s heavily biased report fails to offer anything worthwhile to that cause. The lack of democracy in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the conflict between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the terrorist Hamas control in Gaza is a fundamental and not a peripheral cause of tension. This issue is not once referenced in the report. The situation for the Palestinian people is indeed distressing; this will not be alleviated by destroying Israel. The signing of the Abraham Accords shows that this is now being recognised and accepted in the wider region. The quicker serious Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are resumed, the sooner a lasting peace can be achieved.
If Amnesty UK were serious about improving standards, it would find ways to strengthen existing efforts on the ground. Instead, it chooses to focus on demonising the one Jewish state, holding it to clear double standards. This is a bad faith report hostile to the very concept of Israel, and we reject its very premise.
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