Amnesty International (Shutterstock with additions by United With Israel) (Shutterstock with additions by United With Israel)
Amnesty International

On Planet Amnesty, only Palestinian self-determination is taken for granted.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

Israel isn’t going to apologize for being a Jewish state and Amnesty International better deal with it.

The London-based human rights organization released a report accusing Israel of “apartheid.” The one-sided report features twisted understandings of international law, a woeful ignorance of realities on the ground and breathless adjectives while turning a blind eye to Palestinian terror and intransigence.

The nub of Amnesty’s animus, however, appears to be towards Israel daring to express itself as a Jewish state.

The nerve!

On Planet Amnesty, only Palestinian self-determination is taken for granted.

Indeed, the report begins by invoking this comment posted online in March 2019 by then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Israel is not a state of all its citizens… [but rather] the nation-state of the Jewish people and only them.”

What Amnesty doesn’t mention is that Netanyahu was responding on social media to actress Rotem Sela, who took to Instagram to express concerns about the Nation State Law during an election campaign.

Netanyahu replied on Instagram, “Dear Rotem, an important correction: Israel is not a state of all its citizens. According to the nation-state law we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people — and not anyone else. As you wrote, there is no problem with Israel’s Arab citizens. They have equal rights and the Likud government has invested more than any other government in the Arab population.”

Israeli voters judge the parties on how they invest in the Arab sector. Last year, with the participation of the Ra’am party in the governing coalition, the Knesset allocated NIS 35 billion to boost infrastructure, health care, jobs, housing, welfare and education in Arab localities over a five-year-period.

The Amnesty report later insists, “Jewish Israelis form a group that is unified by a privileged legal status embedded in Israeli law, which extends to them through state services and protections regardless of where they reside in the territories under Israel’s effective control. The Jewish identity of the State of Israel has been established in its laws and the practice of its official and national institutions. Israeli laws perceive and treat Jewish identity, depending on the context, as a religious, descent-based, and/or national or ethnic identity.”

The report implies that Israel’s Law of Return is racist, as Palestinian refugees don’t have a parallel right of return.

What is Jewish Self-Determination?

Israel as a Jewish state is more than about singing a Jewish national anthem, waving a flag with a Jewish star and having a state calendar based on the Jewish calendar.

By voting to create a Jewish state in 1947, the United Nations recognized that Israel would be the place in which the Jewish people would realize their self-determination.

As Israeli law professor Ruth Gavison explained, “the State of Israel does in fact grant the Jews living in it unique advantages which are possible only in a place where the right to full state-level political self-determination is realized. One of the most important features of such a situation is a stable Jewish majority. Thus Israel is the only place in the world where Jews can live a full Jewish existence on all levels, political as well as economic.”

That’s why the Palestinian leadership can never recognize Israel as an inherently Jewish state. Ra’am party leader Mansour Abbas caught Arab flak for saying so in December. But PA President Mahmoud Abbas will never utter those words.

And neither will Amnesty.

For them, Zionism needs to be a form of racism.

The Arabs could have accepted a two-state solution, the UN Partition Plan, back in 1947. Israel offered to return lands captured during the Six-Day War of 1967 but the Arabs said no. In 2008, Mahmoud Abbas rejected a peace offer from Ehud Olmert. In 2009, Netanyahu froze settlement activity for 10 months but still Abbas refused to negotiate.

If Amnesty is suggesting that the antidote to so-called “Israeli apartheid” is a state of all its citizens, it better think again. Multi-ethnic states don’t have a successful track record in the Mideast. Just look at Lebanon and Iraq.

Israel is a Jewish state. Get used to it.

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