Amnesty International on Wednesday night described as ‘baseless’ plans by the Donald Trump administration to categorize the reputable human rights group and several other non-governmental organizations as antisemitic, meaning hostile to or prejudiced against Jewish people.
The U.S. State Department, under Secretary Mike Pompeo’s initiative, also plans to call on governments worldwide to stop funding the non-governmental organizations it would name.
Amnesty International USA does not receive any government funding, from the U.S. government or any other government, the organization said in a statement received by Today News Africa in Washington DC on Wednesday night, adding that “Amnesty International Israel continues work in the country, despite hindrances and attacks on its ability to conduct robust campaigns.”
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Around the world and in the United States, Amnesty International is known for fighting for the freedom of the oppressed, the voiceless and the weak, but the categorization if followed through appears to be an attempt to weaken the organization at and abroad.
Responding the the wild accusations on Wednesday night, Bob Goodfellow, the Interim Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, said “Secretary Pompeo’s baseless accusations are yet another attempt to silence and intimidate international human rights organizations.”
Goodfellow added: “The administration is spreading misinformation and working to undermine those who are working to protect human rights. Amnesty International USA is deeply committed to fighting antisemitism and all forms of hate worldwide, and will continue to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied. We vigorously contest any allegation of antisemitism.
“Our human rights work, as well as the broader human rights movement today, exist because of the actions taken by the international community in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Nations came together and said, ‘never again.’ Never again would atrocities such as those committed in the Holocaust occur because governments would now recognize that all human beings have rights.
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the founding document of our work and our guiding light, came together precisely because of the atrocities committed against the Jewish people. These accusations are an affront to anyone who believes in the human rights movement.
“We advocate for the release of Jewish prisoners of conscience, condemn acts of terrorism against Jewish communities, and call on governments to condemn neo-Nazi and other hate groups across the U.S. and throughout the world. We are deeply concerned that conflating antisemitism with legitimate criticism of Israeli government policy is detrimental not only to ending serious crimes under international law, but also to efforts to address and end antisemitism – and it may encourage other countries to make such baseless claims.
“Amnesty International USA criticizes governments and policies based on international human rights law and standards. As such, we condemn settlements because they are illegal and cause great harm to Palestinians. Our research has continuously shown a close connection between Israeli settlements and the violation of human rights of Palestinians in every aspect of their lives. The Amnesty International movement is independent of any ideology, government, creed or religion. Our investigations and reports into human rights violations committed by Israel are not disproportionate to other countries in the Middle East, such as Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, Iran and Bahrain.
“We know that the governments of many countries, including the United States’, would rather not have their human rights violations exposed. It is concerning to see Secretary Pompeo join the list of people and governments that use accusations of antisemitism to try to sweep human rights abuses under the rug.
“Any process aimed at a just and sustainable peace in Israel and the State of Palestine must include an end to systematic human rights abuses, dismantling of illegal Israeli settlements, and justice and reparation for victims of crimes under international law. This is what international norms demand, whether Secretary Pompeo likes it or not.”