Amnesty International’s controversial report which claimed Israel was practising apartheid is riddled with errors, omissions and double standards, say researchers.
The human rights group sparked accusations of antisemitism and calls for a Charity Commission probe on the release of its report “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: a cruel system of domination and a crime against humanity” in February.
The report depicted Israel as guilty of “apartheid” crimes since its foundation in 1948.
Jerusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor has now produced a detailed response in which it has said Amnesty’s conclusions were “fundamentally flawed” and “construct a fraudulent and libellous narrative of Israeli cruelty”.
Its author, Salo Aizenberg, an Israeli scholar, claimed Amnesty conducted “almost no” primary research.
“Rather, it [Amnesty International’s report] is bloated with cut-and-paste phrases and quotes and conclusions taken from third-party sources — notably other political NGOs that are part of the same libellous campaign against Israel,” he wrote.
Among the errors cited by Mr Aizenberg was a claim by Amnesty that Israel has expropriated at least 32.2 million dunams of land, despite the fact that “all of pre-1967 Israel is only about 20.7 million dunams”.
Further, the Amnesty report, which was launched by Secretary General Agnes Callamard, claimed Israel expropriated 10,000 Palestinian shops. But the source Amnesty cited, Mr Aizenberg claimed, was “a self-published blog post by an individual with no credentials in the field”.
He added: “The 10,000 number is preposterous since it would mean that the retail landscape in the majority agrarian and Bedouin Arab population of British Mandate Palestine was three-times denser than 2020 America.”
Amnesty’s report also discussed the 2018–2019 Gaza border protests, a Hamas-endorsed demonstration during which Palestinians approached Israel’s border fence and committed acts of violence. Over 100 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during the protests.
According to NGO Monitor, Amnesty played down the lethal intent of those attacking Israel’s border.
Mr Aizenberg wrote: “Amnesty claims Gazans attacked ‘the fence’, not at targets ‘over’ the fence into Israel...
“There were also documented instances of actual breaches of the fence with armed Gazans entering Israeli territory and a Hamas official admitted that 50 out of 62 Palestinians killed were in fact Hamas fighters, not innocent protesters.”
NGO Monitor’s report also claimed that the use of the use of the term “Jewish domination” by Amnesty International “directly evokes antisemitic tropes of Jews seeking to wield power over others”.
The incendiary phrase appears six times in Amnesty’s full report.
The human rights group’s work, Mr Aizenberg wrote, “is a particularly vicious stream of invective against Israel.
“In their narrative, Israel is a cruel state run by a long line of evil leaders since its inception who have done nothing but intentionally dominate and segregate another people, the Palestinians, in an inhumane manner.”
Amnesty International did not respond to a request for comment.