Amnesty International-In-Wonderland: Softly, Softly on Iran-But Pummel 'War Criminal' Israel

Amnesty International-In-Wonderland: Softly, Softly on Iran-But Pummel 'War Criminal' Israel

By Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman*

Here's a quote from Amnesty Secretary General Irene Khan on the bloodbath in Iran's streets and now its gallows: "[The authorities] should realise that healthy debate on issues of fundamental importance to people's lives informs - not threatens - policy makers, and that the young, with their boundless energy and optimism are the source of the future solutions to the many pressing problems our planet faces. The Iranian authorities must learn to respect and nurture debate, not seek to close it down."

That's a remarkably restrained and nuanced statement, one that we have come to expect from the head of the Arab League or UN Human Rights Council, or European politician. Could it be that the most marketable Human Rights NGO has lost its edge?

Not to worry: Amnesty has rediscovered its mojo just in time for its newly released report on Israel's incursion into Hamastan. When it comes to characterizing Israel's self-defense against Iran allay Hamas' attempt "to wipe Israel from the map", AI is reminiscent of the Red Queen's Inquisition in Alice in Wonderland-"Sentence first. Verdict afterwards!" This is biased approach of Amnesty's new report on the IDF's response back in December and January to the breakdown of the Gaza cease fire and Hamas' resumption of its nine-year long, 7,000 rocket-strong bombardment of southern Israel's synagogues, kindergartens, and hospitals.

The "sentence" Amnesty wants is a cutoff of all international arms trade with Israel. Significantly, this supposedly reputable international observer remains devoutly agnostic about whether Hamas is getting its arm supply from an "international source": Iran. Amnesty's predetermined "verdict" to justify its onerous and one-sided sentence is based on the same old same old litany of baseless or unproven charges that Israeli forces committed "unlawful attacks [that] constitute war crimes" in Gaza including using Palestinian civilians as "human shields."

The charge that Israeli soldiers were either so cowardly or so stupid as to try to shield themselves behind Palestinians is of course also worthy of Wonderland. Evidence is abundant from both documentary footage taken by drone aircraft and Palestinian witnesses that the Palestinian high command hid out for part of the Gaza Operation in a floor of a Gaza hospital treating sick civilians, and that senior Palestinian commander who placed his own wife and seven children on the roof of his own apartment building in order to ward off the inevitable Israeli raid. Needless to say, Amnesty wasn't interested in seeing any documentary footage. And as for finding any Arab witnesses to confirm Hamas' serial abuse of the civilian infrastructure and population: does anyone seriously believe that residents of Gaza would be prepared to voluntarily invite upon themselves the wrath of Hamas-which regularly shoots and jails PA opponents-if they dared provide anything but the terrorist group's prepackaged narrative?

No, it's a lot simpler to use tried and true anti-Israel templates. For example, Amnesty repeated the accusation-refuted months ago by the International Red Cross (not known as a friend of Israel), that the IDF used white phosphorous shells to target Palestinian civilians. Chris Cobb-Smith, Amnesty's self-styled "artillery expert," scored a below-the-belt propaganda hit by suggesting that Israel's dazzling array of high-tech weaponry should have had no trouble distinguishing between military and civilian targets during the Gaza operation. All-powerful as well as all-evil in Cobb-Smith's view, the IDF has managed to abolish "the fog of war." This surely must be news to the bereaved Israeli families whose sons who were killed by "friendly fire" from their fellow Israeli soldiers.

The "fog of war," unfortunately, continued to be very much in operation in Gaza. Israeli soldiers killed their own, and also killed, despite their best efforts, Palestinian civilians including some used as "human shields" by Hamas. But its overt double standard on Israel continues to befog Amnesty's collective judgment, as AI serves those in the International Community whose agenda unfortunately includes delegitimizing and demonizing the Jewish State. Non Governmental Organizations(NGOs) came into existence to help build the foundations for Civil Society and a level playing field for all. Tragically, for the people of Israel, the Palestinians, and all those hoping for a peaceful Middle East, Amnesty International's coddling of tyrants and terrorists while pummeling the region's lone democracy makes them part of today's problems, not tomorrow's promise of peace.


*Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Dr. Harold Brackman, a historian, is a consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center