On February 1, 2022 Amnesty Canada chaired by Mohamed Huque issued the following statement:
Take Action to End Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians
After four years of research in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and building on decades of human rights advocacy in the region, Amnesty International launched a new report, Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians, on February 1st, 2022. The report sets out how massive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians are all components of a system which amounts to apartheid under international law.
The government of Israel has an obligation under international law to dismantle this system of apartheid, and to repeal or amend all laws, regulations, policies, and practices that discriminate on racial, ethnic, or religious grounds to bring them into line with international human rights law and standards.
Amnesty’s human rights concerns have always been directed at the policies, laws, and actions of the government of Israel, not the Jewish people. It is crucial not to conflate legitimate criticism of crimes under international law committed by the government of Israel with antisemitism. To do so is inaccurate and dangerous. We stand against antisemitism in the strongest possible terms.
“Amnesty International’s Obsessive Fixation with Israel”
Amb. Alan Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center and the head of the Global Law Forum, criticized Amnesty International’s obsessive fixation with Israel. Baker wrote:
The January 2022 Amnesty International report alleging that Israel practices apartheid against the Palestinians reveals a bitter fixation, extreme prejudice, and blatant hatred of Israel, even to the extent of questioning Israel’s very legitimacy and right to exist.
The Amnesty report willfully and deliberately distorts and misrepresents the circumstances surrounding the historic development of the State of Israel. Moreover, it ignores, sidelines, and downplays the existential dangers that Israel continues to face from its neighbors since its establishment, including ongoing Palestinian terror directed against Israel’s civilian population and territory.
Amnesty alleges that Israel “coerces Palestinians into enclaves within the State of Israel…and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” In every multicultural society throughout the world, people of shared cultures and languages live together in their own communities as part of their national whole. This is a natural, social inclination and such social fragmentation is not apartheid.
Amnesty deliberately misled its readers by claiming that Israel was “forcefully evicting Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem in order to transfer Jewish settlers.” The issue is a long-running, civil real-estate litigation that has been under scrutiny in Israel’s courts since 1972. It involves competing property claims by Jewish owners and Palestinian tenants and squatters.
The Amnesty report presents the flawed claim that six “prominent Palestinian civil society organizations” are innocent human rights organizations, manipulating readers into believing that Israel randomly and illegally outlawed such organizations. Yet the Israeli decision to outlaw NGOs with direct connections to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror organization was in full accordance with international law and obligations set out in international counter-terrorism conventions.
South African Judge Richard L. Goldstone, who headed a UN Human Rights Council investigation of the 2008-2009 Gaza War, wrote in an article in the New York Times on October 31, 2011, entitled “Israel and the Apartheid Slander”: “In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the Rome Statute.” The central elements of apartheid, and specifically the “intent to maintain an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group,” simply do not exist.
The Amnesty report repeats the phrase “occupied Palestinian territory (OPT)” as a given, ignoring the historical and legal claim by Israel and the Jewish People to the territory. Yet the “West Bank” territory of Judea and Samaria has never been determined by any authoritative and binding legal document, treaty, resolution, or declaration to be “Palestinian.” On the contrary, the territory is subject to a dispute, the settlement of which is to be negotiated between the parties.