NYJA Statement on Amnesty International Report
February 1, 2022
The New York Jewish Agenda (NYJA) issued the following statement:
“The New York Jewish Agenda (NYJA) condemns Amnesty International’s report, “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians,” as an affront to Israel’s existence. Rather than offering a credible examination of the Israeli government’s policies, the report labels Israel an apartheid state in a manner that undermines Israel’s existence as the democratic nation state of the Jewish people affording equal rights to all its citizens. NYJA advocates and supports efforts to achieve a just and negotiated resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution that guarantees dignity, human rights, and self determination for all its inhabitants. This report will only serve to embolden those who seek the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state. It could also undermine efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as it is overwhelmingly one-sided, reflecting an anti-Israelism that will only serve to reinforce the entrenched positions and hostilities on both sides of the issue.
NYJA’s support for Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and to upholding the human rights of all Israelis and Palesitnians, is firmly grounded in our values. We recognize that significant work must be done in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, to achieve these goals. This is why we strongly oppose the Israeli government’s ongoing occupation and control of millions of Palestinian lives, including the creeping annexation of the West Bank that is occurring through the expansion of settlements. This report, however, goes far beyond criticism of the Israeli government’s policies and recognition of the conflict. Just as there are those on the Israeli right who ignore any distinction between the lands within and outside the pre-1967 borders, Amnesty International’s report uses sweeping language that erases even the internationally recognized, U.N.-approved 1948 borders of Israel. By using the term “apartheid” to describe the entire state of Israel itself, Amnesty International undercuts its credibility and misrepresents the rights, participation, and freedoms – provided under Israel’s Declaration of Independence – of Palestinians and other minorities living in Israel.
While the report pays lip service to Israel’s existence and claims that its application of the term “apartheid” is not intended to suggest parallels to apartheid South Africa, those assertions are overwhelmed and buried by the report’s blustery and accusatory language, and by its selective recitation of the history that led to Israel’s creation following the approval by the UN of the partition resolution in 1947. Civil society has a crucial role to play in shedding light on conditions that need to change in order to achieve peace, security and self-determination for all Israelis and Palestinians. Constructive criticism has its rightful place in that process, but Amnesty International’s credibility and conclusions are severely undermined by its inflammatory report.”
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