Foreign Ministry Says Upcoming Amnesty Report Accusing Israel of Apartheid Is 'Antisemitic'

Amnesty has said attempts to smear the report, which accuses Israel of apartheid, are meant to divert attention away from human rights violations against Palestinians

Israelis march against the proposed annexation of the West Bank in Tel Aviv, June 2020.
Israelis march against the proposed annexation of the West Bank in Tel Aviv, June 2020.Credit: Meged Gozani

The Foreign Ministry has published a harsh response against Amnesty International in response to a report accusing Israel of apartheid against the Palestinians that the organization is expected to release Tuesday.

“In publishing this false report, Amnesty U.K. uses double standards and demonization in order to delegitimize Israel. These are the exact components from which modern antisemitism is made,” read the statement.

Amnesty International has rejected the claims of antisemitism and argued that they are an attempt to divert attention from the violation of Palestinians’ human rights.

The report examines Israel’s conduct toward the Palestinians. Sources that have seen it say the report accuses Israel of apartheid against Palestinians living in Israel, in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip, and also against Palestinian refugees. Apartheid is defined as a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Court.

The organization’s researchers asked to meet Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in October in order to discuss the report’s findings, but their request for an audience was never granted. According to the organization, Israel has stopped responding to its requests for comment on its reports since 2012. A copy of the report was also delivered to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett pre-publication.

Lapid called Amnesty “a radical organization echoing propaganda,” and said it “quotes lies spread by terrorist organizations.”

The Foreign Ministry’s statement emphasized that Israel "absolutely rejects all the false allegations that appear in the report,” which it said “consolidates and recycles lies, inconsistencies, and unfounded assertions that originate from well-known anti-Israeli hate organizations.”

The statement argues that "The State of Israel is a strong and vibrant democracy that grants all its citizens equal rights, regardless of religious or race,” and ends in a call upon the organization to retract the report.

In response to the Foreign Ministry’s statement, Amnesty International responded that its report “details how the State of Israel has established a cruel mechanism of institutionalized discrimination, repression, and control against the Palestinian people. This is a clear violation of its obligations under international law."

According to Amnesty, any attempt to argue that the report is motivated by antisemitism is “false and groundless” and intended to divert attention from the human rights violations suffered by the Palestinians. The organization stressed that its criticism is directed at authorities in Israel and not at Israeli citizens or the Jewish people.

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