SWC Demands Amnesty International Act Against Official Calling Israel "Scum State"

Slur belies AI's declared human rights mission — could compromise charitable status 

Paris, 26 August 2010

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging UK Charity Commission to review Amnesty International's status after it rejected calls to condemn a Finnish leader of Amnesty International for slandering Israel as a "Scum State".

In a letter to UK Charity Commission Chair, Dame Susan Leather, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, drew attention to "a British registered charity, Amnesty Internationa (AI), whose International Secretariat is domiciled in London."

He added, "You are probably well aware of the lofty human rights aspirations vaunted in the mission statement of AI, especially as its emeritus Secretary-General, Irene Kahn, was recently appointed to the Charity Commission's Board of Trustees."

The letter continued, "AI on its website, indicates its London address as the focal point for its global fundraising campaign. It is therefore clear that AI, through its various representations must comply with the audit requirements and values enunciated by the Charity Commission."

Samuels suggested that "This week's statement by AI's Finnish Director, Frank Johansen, endorsing a colleague's description of Israel as "a scum state", arguably violate your Commission's provisions against discrimination and, consequently, put AI's charitable status in question."

He noted, "Johansen made his bigoted statement on a blog and on the website of Iltalehti, one of Finland's principal newspapers. On both webpages, his title unambiguously appears as 'Director of the Finnish Branch of Amnesty International'."

The letter stressed, "Approaches to AI in London, urging condemnation of Johansen and his suspension from employment pending a full investigation, have been roundly rejected," arguing that "AI is apparently reluctant to modify its constant and obsessive assaults on the State of Israel, even when it reaches such despicable depths. It is thus complicit by omission in the anti-Semitic statements of its Finnish representative."

The Centre urged the Charity Commission to “launch an official enquiry into AI's politicization and possible contribution to a climate of hatred that affects Jewish communities globally."

"Pending the results of your enquiry, we suggest that AI's tax privileges be suspended and that the organization be treated by the Charity Commission as any other alien political agency with an address of convenience in the U.K.," concluded Samuels.

For further information contact Dr. Shimon Samuels on 0033(0)60977015, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).