Nides responds to Amnesty report accusing Israel of apartheid: ‘This is absurd’

February 3, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
Read on for article

The U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides has called the report by Amnesty International accusing Israel of apartheid “absurd.”

“Come on, this is absurd. That is not language that we have used and will not use,” he said in a tweet.

His statement was the first by the Biden administration to the 278-page report, which was released on Tuesday. Later, State Department spokesman Ned Price also condemned the apartheid allegation, saying “we certainly reject the label that has been attached to this when speaking about Israel.”

In the report, human-rights group said that Israel has maintained “a system of oppression and domination” over the Palestinians dating back to the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948.

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog outright rejected the claims by Amnesty.

“Israel is a democracy which is committed to international law and sensitive to human rights and therefore appreciates the valiant work of organizations who genuinely strive to promote human rights. Amnesty UK’s report on Israel which was released today is a totally different story,” he said.

“This report, which frames Israel as an apartheid state, doesn’t belong in the category of criticism designed to promote human rights, but rather in the category of ideological de-legitimization of the very right of Israel to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people,” he said.

Herzog went on to say that “claiming that Israel has built and operated an apartheid system since its inception in 1948 essentially means that it was established on an immoral foundation and therefore has no right to exist. The report itself is blatantly ideologically motivated, biased and full of lies and inaccuracies. It totally distorts the true meaning of the phrase apartheid to suit its political purposes, and it also totally distorts the true nature of Israel.”


In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to condemn Israel’s policies against Palestinians and says “no country is perfect”.

The prime minister insists Australia is one of Israel’s closest and strongest friends other than the US.

“No country is perfect and there are criticisms made of all countries,” he told reporters on Wednesday in response to human rights accusations of Israel enacting a system of apartheid against Palestinians.

“But I can assure you that Australia and my government in particular will remain a staunch friend of Israel.”

Amnesty International’s secretary general Agnès Callamard said: “Our report reveals the true extent of Israel’s apartheid regime. Whether they live in Gaza, East Jerusalem, Hebron, or Israel itself, Palestinians are treated as an inferior racial group and systematically deprived of their rights,” the organisation’s said.

“We found that Israel’s cruel policies of segregation, dispossession and exclusion across all territories under its control clearly amount to apartheid. The international community has an obligation to act.”

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s co-CEO Peter Wertheim said: “An Amnesty International (AI) document Israel’s existence since 1948 as ‘apartheid’, has been scathingly rejected by the ECAJ.”

In describing the AI report as ‘shoddy and dishonest’ Wertheim said: “AI’s use of the apartheid smear against Israel bears no relationship to reality. Israel remains the only democracy in the Middle East. It is the only country in the Middle East ranked by Freedom House as free and a democracy. The open and diverse nature of its society, the inclusion and equality of Israel’s Arab citizens in all echelons of society including its coalition government, makes a mockery of Amnesty’s claims.”

Some 20% of Israel’s population are of Arab background. They are fully-fledged citizens of Israel with equal voting, civil and religious rights, as enshrined in Israel’s Basic Law and Declaration of Independence. Arabs serve in the military, police and Supreme Court. There have been Israeli Arab members of parliament since the first elections in 1949. Fourteen currently serve as members of the Israeli parliament. One, Mansour Abbas, is Deputy Minister of Arab Affairs in the Prime Minister’s Office. The Supreme Court includes an Arab judge, George Karra. This week the Israeli Judicial Selection Committee appointed six Arab judges and jurists – half of them women – to prominent judicial positions.

Amnesty’s pronouncements on Israel are driven by a pathological hatred for the Jewish State. This is betrayed by numerous public statements by senior figures at Amnesty, which have included calling Israel a “scum state”, and its democratically- elected government, “rogue”. A researcher in Amnesty’s Middle East branch admitted she wanted Israel “gone”. The AI report is a polemical diatribe in similar vein, not a good faith analysis, and should be dismissed as such.

The starting assumption of this document is that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish State, even though its establishment expressly as ‘a Jewish State’ was endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 1947 (Resolution 181) and has been reaffirmed in UN resolutions and international agreements ever since”.

“At a time when many Arab countries are forging accords with Israel, and relations between Arabs and Jews are flourishing in numerous parts of the Middle East, Amnesty’s ill-motivated and backward-looking effort to vilify Israel seems to be trying to turn back the peace clock, inflame tensions and incite hatred and violence.”

“The Report denies the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination, characterising it as racist, yet is hypocritically silent about the fact that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas define “Palestine” as “Arab” and “Islamic.” Hamas forbids any Jew from living in Gaza, but Amnesty is silent about that too. There appears to be no way Israel could defend itself and its people in a way that would be acceptable to Amnesty International.”

“Amnesty has a clear credibility problem. In recent years AI has several times rushed into print to demonise Israel with maximum publicity, only to retract its outlandish statements later, with far less publicity. Its latest report has perverted the noble cause of human rights and marks another milestone in the moral descent of a human rights organisation which was once universally venerated.”

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) today said the new report from Amnesty International,accuses Israel of “Apartheid” is “dangerous”, “libellous” and “an intellectual crime against truth, and against genuine international law.”


AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein said, “If this new report was not so dangerous it would be laughable. Despite the fact that Israel extends full civil rights to all its citizens, Arab Israelis play leading roles in all aspects of Israeli society, and an Arab party plays a vital role in Israel’s current government, Amnesty insists that ‘Israel has established and maintained… a system of apartheid – wherever it has exercised control over Palestinians’ lives since 1948.’ Moreover, it says this ‘system of apartheid’ is a ‘crime against humanity.’ In other words, according to Amnesty, the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not just about Israeli control over the West Bank since the defensive Six Day War of 1967, but rather, Israel’s very existence since 1948 has been a ‘crime against humanity’.”

He continued, “This libellous report is itself a crime – an intellectual crime against truth, and genuine international law, both of which it blatantly distorts to reach its predetermined conclusions. The twisted and legally absurd definition of ‘apartheid’ it employs – which basically makes any state with a national ethnic identity, or any lingering problems with discrimination against minorities, “apartheid” – would damn the vast majority of the world’s countries as apartheid states if applied objectively.

But of course it is not applied objectively – and that is exactly the problem. As a whole series of scandals over recent years have made apparent, Amnesty, like many other well-known NGOs, has been taken over by ideological extremists for whom the supposed great evil of Israel’s very existence is a matter of faith. These extremists see it as their role to damage, demonise and delegitimise Israel as much as possible, and seemingly don’t care about the liberties they take with the truth or law, the damage they do to the integrity and reputation of their own organisations, or the antisemitism they are likely to inflame against Jews around the world with their untruths and extremism.

He added: “Today, NGOs which were once great advocates of universal human rights are, through their extremism, not only damaging Israel, and repudiating the Jewish right to self-determination, as well as any prospects for a genuine Israeli-Palestinian two state peace, but also hopes for a better world based on genuine human rights for all.”

In New Zealand The New Zealand Jewish Council said  Amnesty International couldn’t have chosen a better time to demonstrate the deeply hateful falseness of its latest report on Israel – where, last week, the first female Muslim Arab district court judge was appointed, and the country continues to have an Arab political party in its coalition government, said New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman.

He was commenting on today’s release by Amnesty International of a report labelling Israel as an Apartheid State, and denying the Jewish people their right to sovereign equality and self-determination in their historic homeland.

“The place of Arab Israelis in modern Israel society has not the slightest resemblance to the Apartheid we saw half a century ago in South Africa. The report distorts international law and misrepresents Israeli policies,” Mr Goodman said. “It is a clear example of fake news, intending to delegitimise the Jewish State, and harms Jews worldwide.”

“Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, each untruthful statement like this, each false accusation, damages the Jewish community. It feeds hate into the minds of those who claim, like Amnesty International, that the Jewish State has no right to exist.”

“Amnesty International contributes to the rise in antisemitism and increase in online hate, here and everywhere,” Mr Goodman concluded.

Australian Jewish Association’s President Dr David Adler saidAmnesty International has produced yet another attack on Israel. Timed for release just days after International Holocaust Remembrance Day, this report is a vicious attack on the Jewish people and the legitimacy of the world’s only Jewish state.

Riddled with errors and lies, the report seeks to blame the Jewish State for every aspect of the Middle East conflict and propagates a baseless accusation of apartheid. , “This report evokes some of the darkest antisemitic libels and conspiracy theories.”

Dr Adler continued, “This organisation has form. Amnesty International has had an unhealthy obsession with the Jewish State for some time. In the past it has refused to speak out against antisemitism, while its Secretary General has peddled antisemitic conspiracy theories, once accusing the Jews of poisoning former Palestinian Authority President, Yasser Arafat”

As the Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid pointed out, in a time of ballooning international antisemitism and daily assaults of Jewish people, this report will fan the flames and directly places every Jew at risk.

Dr Adler said, “Amnesty International has exposed themselves as radical political activists hiding behind the banner of human rights. Anyone who truly cares for human rights should not want to be associated with this organisation.

The Chair and the Deputy Chair of the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Israel stated “Israel’s own richly diverse and inclusive society — demonstrated on its streets and in its Knesset, where people of all nationalities and backgrounds mix freely — powerfully rebuts any attempt to equate it with South Africa’s brutal and evil apartheid regime”.

Amnesty International’s report attempts to equate Israel’s efforts to the abhorrent historical practice of apartheid in South Africa. We fear this kind of framing could have the effect of lending support to Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) campaigns against Israel, which have been condemned by the leadership of both sides of Australian politics as antisemitic.

The Australian Parliamentary Friends of Israel believe Amnesty does such good work.. But pretending Tel Aviv in 2022 is like Cape Town in 1976 is demonstrably wrong and needs to be called out, without rancour, just sadness.

Senator Eric Abetz, Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Israel, and Senator Kimberley Kitching, Deputy Chair, said: “Amnesty International’s report is littered with errors that rehash discredited claims from other biased reports. It’s wrong in detail and disturbing in its intent.

Israel is a vibrant beacon of democracy in the Middle East, comprised of Jews and Arabs, Druze and Christians — both secular and religious — whose rights and liberties are protected in equal measure.

The misappropriation of hateful words does nothing to aid the peace process for a mutually negotiated and enduring two-state solution where Israel and a future Palestinian state can co-exist in peace and security. Both sides of Australian politics remain resolute in our support for a two-state solution.”\

We won’t help Israel or the Palestinians by pretending things are different from what they actually are in Israel or by encouraging delusions that the concept of the Jewish state can be crushed by external forces, be they military or trade. We need to loudly speak up for peace and human rights, in the Middle East and elsewhere, as these concepts are mutually dependent.”

JNS/AAP/J-Wire contributed to this report



One Response to “Nides responds to Amnesty report accusing Israel of apartheid: ‘This is absurd’”
  1. Liat Kirby says:

    It is a terrible situation we now have. For, unfortunately, those who don’t follow Middle East politics or know much about the region, who are indeed ignorant of the facts on the ground and not that interested anyway, see the name AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL (which they assume to be ‘good’) and the dramatic caption summarisig the report on Israel, and immediately assume it to be correct. No more thought will be applied – to them Israel is now a pariah state who practises apartheid.

    There must be some way to expose this organisation for what it is.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.