Inasmuch as Amnesty International bans pro-Israel advocates from entering their meetings – the latest to be denied entry, just last night, was Zionist Federation Vice Chair Jonathan Hoffman – it’s easy to see how they could cocoon themselves into producing mindless anti-Israel propaganda. And given that the organization pointedly never called for Gilad Shalit’s release, it’s predictable they would do so in the context of Israel’s kidnapped and now released soldier.
But Amnesty’s statement on the Shalit trade, titled “Israel-Hamas prisoner swap casts harsh light on detention practices of all sides,” is a barrel-scraping embarrassment even by the organization’s notoriously low standards. The vast majority of the press release is handed over to criticizing Israeli detention policies, while a grand total of two paragraphs are spent condemning Shalit’s ordeal.
Shalit’s name does not even appear below the fifth paragraph of the 20-paragraph statement, while alleged Israeli human rights violations- relevant to the swap or not – are repeatedly noted. Israel is explicitly and twice accused of Geneva violations. By the end of the statement, Amnesty is even demanding freedom of movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which would be a boon to (among others) the Hamas terrorists they’re wringing their hands over.
Moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas has become a tired mainstay on the human rights left, and criticizing it sometimes becomes a paint-by-numbers exercise for those who differentiate between civilized countries and genocidal lunatics. But just for the record, Israel is a fully-functioning democracy with the legal right to arrest and imprison criminals. Palestinian terrorists, regardless of the fanatic splinter group from which they hail, are not uniformed soldiers, do not represent a state, and – Amnesty’s weird implication aside – are not entitled to Geneva protections.
That’s in contrast to Gilat Shalit, who was a uniformed soldier, did represent a state, and was entitled to the Geneva protections denied to him for half a decade.
During that half-decade Amnesty specifically, and human rights groups in general, mixed their bare-minimum calls on Hamas with mass campaigns demonizing Israel:
International non-governmental organizations played a critical role in the political warfare against Israel. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International – ostensibly neutral watchdogs – led the campaign. In 35 days, they issued over 40 press releases, statements and pseudo fact-finding reports, comprising hundreds of pages, largely ignoring the war crimes committed by the terrorist organization and instead focusing overwhelmingly and negatively on alleged Israeli crimes. The HRW and Amnesty allegations were immediately accepted, at face value, by the world’s media. Politicians and diplomats then echoed the war crimes accusations, without any fact-checking.
Not satisfied with having their obsessive campaign merely echoed by politicians, diplomats, and journalists, Amnesty has also spent considerable time and money pressuring European governments to actively join in their anti-Israel demonization.