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Press ReleaseIsrael/Middle East
ADL Labels Amnesty Report on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict "Biased and Wholly Misleading"

New York, NY, November 6, 2002 Stunned by the unabashed bias of a new Amnesty International report that charges Israel with "war crimes" and violations of international law, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today criticized the international human rights organization for producing a "wholly misleading" report that presents a skewed version of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

The Amnesty report, Shielded From Scrutiny: IDF Violations in Jenin and Nablus presents a biased assessment of the Israeli military offensive in the West Bank earlier this year while charging Israel with the most serious possible crimes under international law.

In a letter to Amnesty International, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said the report fails to provide context and makes a string of biased pronouncements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, similar to earlier statements by Amnesty that perpetrated the myth of a "massacre in Jenin."

The following is ADL's letter to Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International:
    We were stunned by the unabashed bias in your recent report "Shielded From Scrutiny: IDF Violations in Jenin and Nablus." We do not understand why an internationally renowned organization like Amnesty International does not report fairly and even handedly on Israel.

    Yet again you have presented a wholly misleading report that characterizes the events that occurred this spring in the occupied territories in the narrowest possible context, while charging Israel with the most serious possible crimes under international law. Without providing the context around these events of the larger conflict since Yasir Arafat pulled out of the Oslo peace process and turned to violence and terrorism, your allegations are at best meaningless and at worst inflammatory.

    In addition, this report comes with a history. Your organization was instrumental in creating the furor surrounding events in Jenin that led to the false charges of a massacre. Instead of acknowledging your culpability in this rush to judgment, you dismiss this fact as a simple mistake arising out the exigencies of the situation caused by Israel in Jenin in April, and present yourself as a neutral observer, rather than a partisan player in a media war.

    Amnesty's authority rests entirely on your credibility as a witness. Your refusal to accept responsibility for, or apologize for, your role in perpetuating the myth of a Jenin massacre in this report further undermines that credibility. In doing so you do a disservice to and erode the credibility of the international human rights mechanisms which you invoke. Most importantly, you undercut the promise of peace in the region which hinges on a recognition of the human rights of both sides.

    Leveling conclusory charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at Israel renders those terms meaningless and serves only to undercut the goals of the human rights movement in general as well as your organization. In these difficult times, it is tragic that an organization which could serve to constructively promote reconciliation has abandoned the course of objective, credible advocacy for human rights of all parties which will be essential to really bringing peace closer.

    The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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