Isn't it interesting that Amnesty (and HRW's) activists are so much more friendly with people who want to destroy Israel than they are with people who love Israel?A reader sent that link to Amnesty for a response. Their answer:
We reject absolutely any suggestion that our organisation has a bias against Israel. As you will see from reading our report (attached) on the Israeli attack on Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, for example, we condemned the human rights violations and possible war crimes committed by Palestinian armed groups as well as by Israel. It is also worth noting that this is the only report prepared by human rights researchers who were on the ground in southern Israel and in Gaza during the fighting.Of course, Mr. Moran did not address the main thrust of my question: why do so-called "human rights" organizations' members seem to have closer relationships with activists whose focus is to destroy Israel than with anyone who could be remotely described as Zionist?
Indeed the first report from Amnesty International’s researchers was to expose extrajudicial killings carried out by Hamas under cover of the Israeli offensive. We have condemned on numerous occasions rocket attacks by Hamas and others against Israeli civilians targets in southern Israel and just last month profiled the case of Gilad Shalit as our prisoner of the month in a national newspaper (attached).
Our concern is solely the protection of human rights. We have condemned, and will continue to condemn, the Israeli state and its armed forces for repeated, gross violations of the human rights of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories and in Israel. Likewise, we have condemned, and will continue to condemn Hamas, Fatah and other armed Palestinian groups for deliberate attacks on civilians and for failures to protect human rights in those areas of the Occupied Territories they are responsible. Protagonists on both sides would do well to examine what they are doing rather than assume any criticism of them is motivated by bias or prejudice.
Finally, if I could say this. It is absolutely legitimate to raise questions about Amnesty International's policies and priorities, indeed we welcome it as a valuable contribution to our own thinking. However, I think the site you link to is acting in a deplorable manner by using the tragic death of Mr Arrigoni to personally target his girlfriend, a woman who is right now coping with the loss of a loved one in unbelievably tragic circumstances. I realise it is not your site and you merely wished to raise a legitimate point, to which I am happy to respond, but I wished to place that on the record.
Amnesty International Ireland
Tel: 01 863 8300 Ext. 8334
Mob: 085 814 8986
Arrigoni was not, as I have written, a human rights activist nor a peace activist by any definition of the term. Obviously Amnesty's employees can have relationships with whomever they want. But Arrigoni was a supporter of Hamas and an avowed anti-Zionist. Are any Amnesty employees friends with members of Likud, or with Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria?
Somehow, I doubt it.
In fact, Amnesty itself has no problem partnering with organizations that are explicitly dedicated to Israel's destruction. If Amnesty accepts ab initio that the destruction of the Jewish state is a legitimate position, it is difficult to accept their argument that they are not biased against Israel. There s no real difference between organizations that advocate replacing Israel with another de-facto Arab state and those who want to ethnically clean the Middle East of all Jews, no matter what word games they play with liberal-sounding concepts like "one state for all people."
If Amnesty supports the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, let them say so explicitly. If they do that, they'd lose a lot of their "friends" very, very quickly.
(As far as my acting "deplorably," I had never heard of Claudia Milani until Monday, and I simply looked at her history once I saw her name. I would have done the same had I known about her while Arrigoni was alive. I see no reason why her previous activities should be off-limits once she becomes a public personality, just because she is grieving over the death of her Hamas-loving boyfriend. Amnesty being more concerned over my blog post than over the relationships their employees have with people who want to see Israel wiped off the map seems a bit misplaced.)
UPDATE: Harry's Place notices Arrigoni's relationship with Milani as well, and acts equally "deplorably." (h/t habibi)