Cancel event, Amnesty is urged by ZF

Ben White’s new book

Ben White’s new book

Amnesty International should cancel the launch of an anti-Israel activist's book about Palestinians because he allegedly "justified antisemitism", according to the Zionist Federation.

Ben White's new book, Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy, is due to be launched at Amnesty's London offices on January 26.

The ZF has written to AI managing director Kate Allen encouraging her to cancel the event or replace it with a "genuine debate" between speakers who hold different views to Mr White.

ZF chairman Harvey Rose wrote: "I and many others cannot understand why Amnesty is giving White a platform to propagate his abhorrent and mendacious views unchallenged."

He accused Mr White of "justifying antisemitism" after the freelance journalist wrote in 2002: "I do not consider myself an antisemite, yet I can also understand why some are."

Mr White wrote that "there are a number of reasons for antisemitism", including "Israel's racial supremacy and its subsequent crimes committed against the Palestinians". He said he did not believe that comparing the Israeli government to the Nazis was antisemitic.

An Amnesty International spokesman said it would respond to the ZF as soon as possible.

He added: "Amnesty's work on human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories includes raising important issues about discrimination. This event is part of that work.

"Ben White's book talks of a 'fresh vision of justice and peace for Jews and Palestinians', expressing the author's support for 'a future based on a genuine co-existence of equals' and a 'solution that protects the rights of both the Palestinian people and Jewish Israelis'. These are important issues and the event is an opportunity to explore them."

Mr White did not respond to a request to address the ZF's claims.

Last updated: 12:34pm, January 19 2012