Amnesty International Rejects Call To Fight Anti-Semitism In Britain: Jews Surprised As It Had Championed Campaigns Against Islamophobia

By @diplomatist10 on
A child holds a pen during a vigil outside the Consulate General of France to pay tribute to the victims of an attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris
IN PHOTO: A child holds a pen during a vigil outside the Consulate General of France to pay tribute to the victims of an attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, in San Francisco, California January 7, 2015. The youngest of three French nationals being sought by police for a suspected Islamist militant attack that killed 12 people at a satirical magazine on Wednesday turned himself in to the police, an official at the Paris prosecutor's office said. The hooded attackers stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a weekly known for lampooning Islam and other religions, in the most deadly militant attack on French soil in decades. Reuters/Stephen Lam

Amnesty International, the global human rights body, has rejected a motion that sought a campaign against the rise in anti-Semitism in Britain, saying it battles all discrimination but will not single out individual groups.

A recent report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-semitism had found alarming anti-Semitism attitudes in the Britain. In mid-April, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel also, yet another report revealed shocking rise in the number of violent anti-Semitic attacks in Europe in 2014, with France and the U.K. showing the highest increase.

Amnesty AGM 

Amnesty held its International AGM on April 19 and the motion was narrowly defeated by 468 votes to 461. It was tabled by Amnesty member Andrew Thorpe-Apps, who told The Jewish Chronicle that though he himself was not a Jew, he had concerns and put forward the motion after being appalled at the rising discrimination and attacks against British Jews. It was the only resolution to be defeated during the whole conference. Thorpe-Apps said, “I recently joined and I believe passionately about human rights. I was aware that the organisation has been outwardly pro-Palestine in the past but hasn’t stood up for the Jewish population and I think it would be good if they did that.”

Defends Decision

Amnesty, however, defended the rejection. Its spokesman said a really interesting debate took place at the AGM and everyone condemned discrimination against all ethnic and religious groups. But it was decided not to pass the "resolution with a single focus," explained Amnesty International UK press officer Neil Durkin. “Amnesty International fights against discrimination in all its forms, and will continue to do so.” Durkin said and added that the British division of Amnesty will keep the issue live on its own agenda.

Claim Unfounded

However, what belies Durkin's claim is the fact that Amnesty in the past had actually published numerous reports highlighting specific forms of discrimination. It also includes a 123-page report on discrimination against Muslims and Islamophabia in Europe, reports Israeli National News. Amnesty’s decision has not surprised British Jews, as Amnesty UK in 2014 had come under fire when one of its senior officials compared Israel to ISIS.

"Campaign Against Anti-semitism" spokesman Jonathan Sacerdoti also questioned Amnesty on its stand and wondered why it is less concerned about discrimination against Jews than other groups. He said anti-Semitism is a challenge for the whole of society, not just for Jewish people. If the reports are correct, it seems surprising that fighting a rise in racist Jew hatred is such a divisive issue for Amnesty, Sacerdoti claimed. He said the human rights of Jews, a tiny minority in the U.K., need to be protected against attacks of any sort, just as other groups.

(For feedback/comments, contact the writer at k.kumar@ibtimes.com.au)

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