Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Amnesty International Will Ally Itself With Just About Anybody

Elder of Ziyon notes Amnesty International's Hateful Bedfellows--co-sponsoring an event with Coalition for a Free Palestine.
And who exactly is that?
The Coalition for a Free Palestine (CFP) is a COSATU led coalition representing a wide range of civil society organizations and trade unions. Some member organizations include the South African Council of Churches, South African Young Communist League, South African Communist Party, Muslim Judicial Council, Muslim Students Association, Palestine Solidarity Alliance, Palestine Solidarity Committee, Palestine Solidarity Group and the student society, the Wits University Palestine Solidarity Committee.
...[It] calls for an absolute boycott of Israel.

One of the members of this coalition, the Palestine Solidarity Committee, says that "Zionism is a theory of ethnic cleansing and racism."

Another, the Palestine Solidarity Group, says that its aim is to destroy Israel and create a single state on "historic Palestine."

This demonstration also called for the arrest of Tzipi Livni, who is visiting South Africa.

Does Amnesty International support these groups' goals of eradicating Israel and using lawfare to single out only the Jewish state for harassment and boycotts?

Amnesty is certainly not distancing themselves from these haters.
But then again, this is not the first time that Amnesty International has formed questionable alliances.

Last year, for instance, Amnesty International appeared together with one of Britain's most famous supporters of the Taliban, as Melanie Phillips wrote:
The true intolerant, illiberal, unjust face of the ‘human rights’ industry has been on graphic display in recent days in the case of Gita Sahgal. Last week Sahgal, head of Amnesty’s gender unit, spoke of her concerns about Amnesty’s relationship with Cageprisoners, an organisation headed by Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo internee. Since his release in 2005, Begg has spoken alongside Amnesty at a number of events and accompanied it to a meeting at Downing Street. Saghal wrote to Amnesty’s leaders:
‘To be appearing on platforms with Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender, is a gross error of judgment.
Her views have been endorsed by Amnesty’s Asia Pacific director Sam Zarifi, who has said in an internal email to his staff:
‘We should be clear that some of Amnesty’s campaigning ... did not always sufficiently distinguish between the rights of detainees to be free from torture and arbitrary detention, and the validity of their views’.
As a result of her concerns being made public, however, Saghal was suspended by Amnesty from her job.
Begg isn't just Britain's most famous Taliban supporter. According to Steve Emerson and Tom Joscelyn, he is also a friend and supporter of Anwar al-Awlaki, imam to some of the 9/11 hijackers, and an inspiration to both the Christmas Day bomber and the Fort Hood mass-murderer.
In an attempt to defend its position, the head of Amnesty International, Secretary General Claudio Cordone, just kept on digging with this outrageous remark in defense of Jihad:
On February 28, Cordone responded with a letter defending AI's work with Begg and Cageprisoners. Begg "speaks powerfully from personal experience" about the abuses at the U.S.-operated Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba, Cordone wrote, and advocates detainees' due process rights within "the same framework of universal human rights standards that we are promoting."

Cordone added that Begg and Cageprisoners' advocacy of "jihad in self defence" is not antithetical to human rights and that Begg is the victim of "many distortions, innuendoes and 'guilt by association' " charges. [emphasis added]
In response, Gita Sahgal's supporters pointed out the incongruity of Amnesty International defending "jihad in self defense":
The call for ‘defensive jihad’ is a thread running through many fundamentalist and specifically ‘salafi-jihadi’ texts. It is mentioned by Abdullah Azzam, mentor of Osama bin Laden, and founder of Lashkar e Tayyaba. It is the argument of ‘defensive jihad’ that the Taleban uses to legitimise its anti human rights actions such as the beheading of dissidents, including members of minority communities, and the public lashing of women. It is a similar logic of ‘defence of religion’ that is used by Christian groups to justify the killing of doctors providing abortion services as well as by Hindutva organisations seeking to justify their actions to ‘liquidate’ Muslims and Christians in India.

...It has been shown that ‘defensive jihad’ results in indiscriminate attacks on civilians, attacks which are disproportionate and attacks which are targeted for the purpose of discrimination such as those on schools, shrines and religious processions. As you know, international humanitarian law prohibits all such attacks under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Given this it is shocking to us that in your letter you appear to endorse ‘defensive jihad’ as a public position of Amnesty International position. Any human rights defender or organisation, which pledges commitment to the universality of human rights cannot confuse resistance against oppression with espousal of a political ideology committed to indiscriminate use of violence. Endorsement of the concept of ‘defensive jihad’ by an organization such as Amnesty International would call into question its commitment to research the ideological underpinnings of acts of terrorism and its commitment to the eradication of discrimination on the basis of sex/gender and religion. [emphasis added]
The company that Amnesty International keeps--and its very un-human rights defense of jihad--let slip the mask of being a human rights group that provides the halo the group pretends to have.

Amnesty International, like all self-proclaimed human rights groups, need to be judged by its actions--and its most recent alliance, with groups seeking the destruction of Israel, is just further proof that it does not stand for the high ideals it claims to.

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