Statement concerning Amnesty International report that falsely accuses Israel of apartheid
We, the undersigned representatives of our NGOs, express our deep concern at the false allegations of apartheid against Israel spread by several NGOs. The last to join this front was Amnesty International, which published a report on the subject in early February.
The Amnesty report – like other similar reports – is completely silent on Palestinian and Islamic terror and incitement against Israel. It treats all of Israel’s defensive actions as if they were taking place in the midst of peace and motivated by a racist desire to oppress. Such a complete lack of context skews the picture of the situation fundamentally.
Last year alone (2021), Palestinian organizations carried out 30 stabbing attacks against Israelis, 12 firearms attacks, and 8 car rammings. Riots in which rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown into moving vehicles occurred 1,700 times. 4,400 rockets were fired from Gaza at Israeli civilian targets.
The Amnesty report speaks of “non-violent popular resistance” and “mainly peaceful demonstrations”. It uses Israel’s actions against Hamas leaders as examples of “racial oppression”. It calls PFLP, designated as terrorist organization by the European Union, a ”political party banned by Israel”.
In addition, the Amnesty report creates a false picture of a racially oppressive societal system by confusing Israeli citizens’ rights and the absence of these rights from non-citizens. In internatiolan law, there are no requirements for states to grant citizens’ rights to non-citizens. On the contrary, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), states in particular that it ”shall not apply to distinctions, exclusions, restrictions or preferences made by a State between citizens and non-citizens” or ”affect in any way the legal provisions of States Parties concerning nationality, citizenship or naturalization”.
The report presents the Oslo Accords, which were the result of negotiations between the parties and led to the establishment of Palestinian self-government, as if they were Israel’s means of ”segregating” the Palestinians. Even the division of the Palestinian Authority as a result of fighting between Fatah and Hamas in 2007 is described in the report as Israel’s evil plan to segregate the Palestinians.
The Amnesty report makes nearly 50 demands on Israel, including that it should receive 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants, end all control on Gaza’s borders and dismantle the security fence. Implementing these would mean the free operation of extremist Islamic terrorist organizations in the region and the replacement of Israel with an Arab Muslim state that would have a Jewish minority. On the Palestinian Authority Amnesty makes only two demands, namely, that it should ”document… Israel’s system of apartheid” and end all cooperation with Israel, particularly counter-terrorism security coordination, which Amnesty claims to help ”maintaining the system of apartheid”.
There are problems and needs for improvement in every country, but the examples of “racial oppression” in Israel used in the Amnesty report are distorted. The report’s conclusions and demands are completely disproportionate compared to what is happening in other countries. There are many countries in the world – not least in Israel’s neighborhood in the Middle East – where the principles of democracy are not being implemented and the rights of minorities are being oppressed on a large scale. However, Amnesty does not demand these states to be condemned and isolated as apartheid systems.
Israeli Arab citizens have full political and civil rights, which is demonstrated by Arab ministerial positions, the appointment of Arab judges to the Supreme Court, and the successful participation of Arabs in Israeli society and the equal production and use of its services. Nothing like this happened in the apartheid system in South Africa.
At the same time, the sharp rise in anti-Semitism in the world shows that the need for a Jewish national home and a refuge has not diminished in the world but increased, often as a consequence of the boycott movement. The distorted anti-Israel apartheid campaign by NGOs has been condemned by United States, Germany, England, Austria, the Czech Republic, Canada and Australia. The French President also commented on 24 February 2022: … it is unacceptable that in the name of a just fight for freedom, associations misuse historically shameful terms to describe the State of Israel… How dare we talk about apartheid in a state where Arab citizens are represented in government, in parliament, in leadership positions and in positions of responsibility?
We are shocked and disapponted that many organizations that have done valuable work in the past are involved in spreading these false claims. We hope that Finland, as a state, will not take part in this campaign aiming at isolating Israel, and that Finnish actors, such as companies and other communities cooperating with the Israelis, will not value these false and distorted documents directed against the Jewish state.
Kari Teittinen, chairman
March of Life Finland
Varpu Haavisto, chairman
YAPS – Young Adults for Peace, Justice and Solidarity in the Middle East
Risto Huvila, chairman
The Federation of Finland-Israel Associations
Pasi Turunen, executive director
Patmos Mission Foundation
Ethel Salutskij, chairman
Keren Kajemet Finland
Jarmo Kaksonen, chairman
Risto Auvinen, executive director
Karmel Association Finland
John Remes, chairman
Hannu Lyytikäinen, chairman
Ebenezer Operation Exodus Finland
Israel Friendship Society
Tor G. Gull, chairman
European Coalition for Israel (ECI) Finland
Jaakob Happonen, chairman
Ilkka Vakkuri, executive director
Friends of Israel Association