Tag Archives | Amnesty International

Telling Interview with the Director of Amnesty Israel

Via Avi Bell, here’s a fascinating interview with Itai Epstein, Director of Amnesty International in Israel.

The interviewer asks some fairly sharp questions, and he gets answers filled with addled logic that amount to, “Whatever Israel does, Amnesty is still going to say it was acting illegally/violating human rights.” Here’s an excerpt (but read the whole thing), in which the interviewer asks Epstein what Israel needs to do before Amnesty will acknowledge that Israel is not “occupying” Gaza. The short answer is there’s nothing Israel can do, only steps Israel could take toward that goal, but whatever Israel does there will still be “other components related to agreements of the international community” whatever that means.

Q. What is required of Israel to stop it from being an occupying force under Amnesty’s definition?

A. That there will be another sovereign power and that the border crossings to Gaza not be under Israeli control. That’s the meaning of occupation, there’s no other sovereign power there, there’s no control over the border crossings for free movement of people and goods and that’s why Gaza is under occupation.

Q. Is an exit by the Navy from Gaza’s waters an end to the occupation?

A. No.

Q. Is opening the border crossings with Israel ending the occupation?

A. That’s a step towards ending the occupation….

Q. So what actions must Israel take? You say that the occupation ends if Israel opens the crossings, so if the occupation ends, Israel needs to close the borders since Gaza is defined as an enemy state. There’s a logical contradiction here.

A. I don’t understand where the contradiction is.

Q. The border between Israel and Lebanon is closed since Lebanon is an enemy state. You’re claiming that Israel needs to open the borders to Gaza and then the occupation [...]

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Remarkable Window into Amnesty International’s Worldview

Despite widespread condemnation from many of its own allies and fellow-travelers (e.g.), Amnesty International continues to have no compunctions about its close association with the pro-Taleban former Guantanomo detainee Moazzam Begg. According to Amnesty Secretary General Claudio Cordone, Amnesty may disagree with Begg on the “role of jihad in self-defense,” but otherwise Begg’s support of the Taleban raises no significant human rights issues.

Apparently, however, Cordone has lost some sleep over Amnesty’s cooperation with the Catholic Church in opposition to the death penalty:

There are victims with whom we would not associate, while unreservedly campaigning against any abuses of their rights. For example, we denounced the waterboarding of Khaled Sheikh Muhammad, the Guantánamo detainee credited with the 9/11 and other atrocities. But we would never share a platform with someone like him who openly espouses an ideology predicated on hatred and the killing of civilians – in short, views that are clearly antithetical to human rights. The answer in this case is easy.

But in other cases the answer is not easy. For example, should we not work against the death penalty with an influential actor like the Catholic Church because we disagree with their stand on women’s reproductive right and homosexuality? There are valid arguments for and against. We chose to work with the Catholic Church against the death penalty.

Hat tip: NGO Monitor [...]

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