“Impartiality” is a core value of Amnesty’s statute. Further, Amnesty’s editorial guidelines state, “Media content produced by Amnesty International should be fair and objective.”
Amnesty International has lost sight of its original purpose.
Christopher Hitchens, Suspension of Conscience
The problem is that Amnesty International is is not fair and objective, as evidenced by the fact that it includes among its staff personnel who clearly hold a biased view of Israel and make no secret of this fact.
Today, Amnesty is releasing it’s report on Israel’s use of administrative detention. But Gidon Shaviv writes that Amnesty International’s report on Israel's use of administrative detention relies on clearly biased anti-Israel researchers. The report lists two media contacts with clear conflicts of interests: Deborah Hyams and Saleh Hijazi:
Hyams joined Amnesty in 2010, after a long record of pro-Palestinian activism. In 2001 she volunteered as a “human shield” in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, to deter Israeli military responses to recurrent gunfire and mortar attacks targeting Jewish civilians in Jerusalem. In a 2002 Washington Jewish Week article, “Hyams said that while she does not condone suicide bombings, she personally believes they ‘are in response to the occupation.’” In another instance she defended the use of violence, stating “occupation is violence… and the consequence of this action must result in violence.” This background precludes any reader of Amnesty’s report from accepting it at face value.Other members of Amnesty International likewise are not only biased against Israel--they also have no problem advertising that fact:
As with the case of Hyams, if Amnesty wants to maintain impartiality, it should disqualify Saleh Hijazi from working on Israeli issues. Hijazi, a Palestinian born in Jerusalem and raised in Ramallah, has a clear lack of objectivity in this regard. In 2005, he worked as a Public Relations officer for the Office of the Ministry of Planning in Ramallah and in 2007 he was listed as contact for the NGO “Another Voice” – under the group's signature “Resist! Boycott! We Are Intifada!”
Hijazi has a “special” conflict of interest with regards to administrative detention in particular. On March 9, 2011, while as a researcher for Human Rights Watch, he spoke at a UN conference where he described how his father was supposedly arrested by the Israeli authorities “when the Israeli military could not find an activist neighbor.” How can Hijazi be impartial when he is simultaneously claiming to be a victim of the very same country on which he is reporting?
In August 2010, the executive director of Amnesty-Finland, Frank Johansson, referred to Israel as “a scum state” on his blog. Kristyan Benedict, Amnesty’s Crisis Response & Country Priorities Manager gave an interview where he explained that the Arab-Israeli conflict is caused by “The USA play(ing) both Arab and Israel sides to generate money, power and control.” And, that “Israel always pushes the buttons to make all the surrounding Arabic states such as Syria, Lebanon feel insecure. So they then buy weapons off other states and this is a great profit-making industry.”So much for Amnesty International's claim to be fair and objective.
But this is all part of Amnesty International's consistent demonstration of a complete lack of standards for objectivity.
As part of its agenda, last year co-sponsored an event with Coalition for a Free Palestine, which includes the Palestine Solidarity Committee, a group that says "Zionism is a theory of ethnic cleansing and racism" and the Palestine Solidarity Group, which says that its aim is to destroy Israel and create a single state on "historic Palestine."
In 2010, Amnesty International appeared together with one of Britain's most famous supporters of the Taliban.
No wonder the late Christopher Hitchens wrote in 2010: Suspension of Conscience: Amnesty International has lost sight of its original purpose.
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