Amnesty International orders official Kristyan Benedict to apologise for 'antisemitic' tweet

By Marcus Dysch, December 20, 2012
Amnesty's Kristyan Benedict

Amnesty's Kristyan Benedict

An Amnesty International disciplinary process has concluded that a senior official’s tweet about three Jewish MPs was “inappropriate and offensive”, but not antisemitic.

Kristyan Benedict, the charity’s campaigns manager, took to Twitter during a Parliamentary debate about the violence in Israel and Gaza last month.

He wrote: “Louise Ellman, Robert Halfon and Luciana Berger walk into a bar…each orders a round of B52s … #Gaza”.

The B52 cocktail was named after the long-range US bomber and contains shots of coffee liqueur, Baileys and brandy.

Mr Benedict was immediately criticised by fellow Twitter users who asked why he had named only Jewish parliamentarians. He later said he thought the message was “a giggle” and “light-hearted” and offered “apols to those who booed”.

Amnesty began a disciplinary process after receiving complaints and Mr Benedict was absent from Twitter from November 20, the day of the tweet, until December 7. He has not mentioned Israel in messages posted on the site since he resumed tweeting,

An Amnesty International UK spokesman confirmed that the investigation had now been completed and said the charity had decided that “the tweet in question was ill-advised and had the potential to be offensive and inflammatory but was not racist or antisemitic.

“The use of dark satirical humour to highlight the MPs’ political views was inappropriate and offensive.”

He said Mr Benedict would apologise to anyone offended by the tweet and confirmed that Amnesty had already written to “a small number of people” who had complained.

Mr Benedict would now “focus his energy on managing AIUK’s crisis work, particularly the human rights crisis in Syria”, said the spokesman.

It is not the first time he has been forced to apologise – in April last year Amnesty took disciplinary action against Mr Benedict following an incident in which he threatened to “smack” a pro-Israel activist.

Last updated: 2:36pm, December 20 2012