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Friday, April 18, 2014 | Last updated: 6:52pm

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POV: Politics

Political bias has no place in defending human rights in Israel

Amnesty International has now conclusively shown that any true concern they may have about human rights can be overwhelmed by politics. Specifically, through their blind prejudice against Israel, the organization has marginalized Hamas, a terrorist group which endangers the people it claims to be fighting for, while condemning Israel’s attempts to defend its citizens against attack.

As the fighting in Mali escalated this month, an Amnesty International spokesman issued a statement in which the organization said that civilian casualties resulting from French actions were basically unavoidable.

Salvatore Saguès, a researcher at Amnesty International, told AlertNet, “It is simply impossible to really separate the armed groups and the population because the armed groups [are] in towns, in civilian buildings.”

The situation is reminiscent of recent fighting in the Gaza strip between Hamas and Israel. Hamas regularly targets civilian areas and fires their rockets from densely-populated civilian areas in Gaza.

When the Israeli military strikes Hamas’s positions, civilian casualties are similarly unavoidable. Tactics such as using human shields are the bread and butter of terror groups everywhere.

Likewise, when military strikes occur in civilian areas, collateral damage will occur. This is a tragic but inevitable fact. Even with state-of-the-art military technology utilized by modern militaries, when terrorists such as Hamas choose to use the innocent as human shields then there will be death.

Amnesty International has no problems with French military intervention in Mali, a country thousands of miles away.

Hamas has consistently launched rocket and suicide attacks into Israeli territory and against Israeli civilians, but terrorists in Mali cannot possibly pose such a threat to French national security.
Hamas is a threat to Israeli security and a threat to the lives of Israeli civilians. They do not value the lives of civilians, either in Israel or the Palestinian territories. Israel has a much greater impetus to fight Hamas than France does to fight Islamist militants in Mali.

There is no doubt that Hamas is a terrorist organization. It is recognized as such by the governments of the United States, Canada, the European Union and Japan, as well as Israel.

In addition, Hamas’s goals include the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state in its place, and has issued statements calling the Holocaust a “lie.”

Amnesty International refers to Palestinian territories as “occupied” by Israel despite the fact that this is a lie, one often used by opponents of Israel to delegitimize the Jewish state. Israel has had no military presence in Gaza since 2005, and both Gaza and the West Bank are self-governing territories.

Amnesty International also called for an international arms embargo on Israel during the most recent conflict in Gaza, and has criticized the Israeli blockade despite the fact that it is meant to prevent weapons from entering Gaza. The organization has also ignored the fact that Israel itself consistently delivers aid to the Palestinian territories.

Israel also took exceptional efforts to protect Palestinian civilians from harm in the most recent conflict. They dropped leaflets over civilian areas where strikes were planned, warning residents to evacuate. Hamas sent no such warning to Israeli civilians when launching rockets.

Clearly, Amnesty International harbors deep prejudice against Israel and denigrates it right to defend itself against terrorists. They focus on Israel obsessively, even to the point of ignoring other, far more serious human rights abuses. The group’s most recent annual report mentioned Israel 137 times, while only making 74 references to the Syrian regime which has killed thousands of its own people.

An organization that purportedly exists to protect human rights wherever they are threatened should be much more evenhanded. By treating Hamas and the Israeli government with the same level of criticism, Amnesty International has minimized suffering of Israelis at the hands of Islamic terror as well as largely turning a blind eye to the atrocities of Hamas. If pursuing Islamist terror in Mali is worth the sacrifice, then why is that not the case in Israel?

— Look for more from David Weissman and the Wildcat Perspectives crew on Twitter.


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