All Jewish House Democrats Slam Amnesty Chief's 'Offensive' Remarks on U.S. Jews and Israel

Amnesty International's executive director claimed U.S. Jews don't want Israel to be a Jewish state, just one month after the release of AI's report accusing Israel of being an 'apartheid state'

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Amnesty International's report named "Israel's Apartheid Against Palestinians," Jerusalem, February.
Amnesty International's report named "Israel's Apartheid Against Palestinians," Jerusalem, February.Credit: RONEN ZVULUN/ REUTERS
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

WASHINGTON – All 25 Jewish Democratic lawmakers in the House on Monday issued a rare joint statement of condemnation against Amnesty International USA Executive Director Paul O’Brien for reportedly saying that American Jews do not want Israel to be a Jewish state.

The lawmakers noted they are in "full agreement that O'Brien's patronizing attempt to speak on behalf of the American Jewish community is alarming and deeply offensive" despite their diverse views on matters relating to Israel.

O'Brien reportedly told the Women’s National Democratic Club in remarks first published by Jewish Insider that "I believe my gut tells me that what Jewish people in this country want is to know that there’s a sanctuary that is a safe and sustainable place that the Jews, the Jewish people can call home." He reportedly added that he thinks U.S. Jews "can be convinced over time that the key to sustainability is to adhere to what I see as core Jewish values, which are to be principled and fair and just in creating that space."

"On the heels of a recent Amnesty International report that a number of Members condemned as delegitimizing of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and undermining of the prospects for a two-state solution," the joint statement says, adding that "Amnesty International USA’s Executive Director Paul O’Brien has now taken a new, very disturbing step: purporting to speak for the entire Jewish community on Israel. He claimed his “gut” tells him “what Jewish people in this country want” is that Israel “shouldn’t exist as a Jewish state.”

"[O'Brien] has added his name to the list of those who, across centuries, have tried to deny and usurp the Jewish people’s independent agency. We stand united in condemning this and any antisemitic attempt to deny the Jewish people control of their own destiny," the lawmakers add.

O'Brien's remarks come one month after Amnesty issued a highly contentious report accusing Israel of being an apartheid state — an allegation rejected by the Biden administration, senior Democratic lawmakers and U.S. Jewish organizations.

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