Amnesty International have been criticised for losing its “moral compass” after mounting a campaign in support of a convicted spy for an Islamist terrorist organisation.
The Middle East and North Africa deputy director of the human rights organisation called the jailing of Hizbollah spy Ameer Makhoul “a very disturbing development”.
Makhoul, the head of Israeli-Arab organisation Ittijah, was given a nine year sentence last month for aiding Hizbollah over a period which included the Second Lebanon War of summer 2006. He was found to have given the Lebanon-based organisation the names of six Israelis who could act as spies and transferred to Hizbollah several encrypted messages.
The judge who presided over the case said that Makhoul had accepted responsibility for his actions, but Amnesty’s Philip Luther suggested that he had been imprisoned not for spying but for “his human rights activism on behalf of Palestinians in Israel”. Mr Luther also alleged that Makhoul had confessed under duress and been tortured.
Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of the research organisation NGO Monitor, said Amnesty’s latest outburst “further demonstrated that the organisation had become a crude anti-Israel advocacy group”.
He added: “Amnesty has completely lost its moral compass regarding human rights in the Middle East, as well as on other issues”
“Even after Makhoul’s admission of spying for Hezbollah, and the evidence presented in court, [it] refuses to denounce Makhoul’s connections to terror, his poisonous Nazi rhetoric, his calls for boycott, divestment, and sanctions, and his demonisation of Israel.”
“Amnesty clearly has decided to align with terrorists and other elements of the Israel demonisation campaigns.”
Mr Luther’s accusations follow an Amnesty report on the Turkel Commission, which examined what happened during the clashes on the Gaza-bound flotilla last May.
The organisation disputed the independent inquiry’s finding that the pro-Palestinian activists had used firearms against Israel, despite photographic evidence showing weapons on board the ship.