Monday, January 31, 2011

Amnesty International: Israel is Criminal by Definition

 I've been wondering for months if Amnesty International would ever repent for the way it blasted Israel when our police arrested Ameer Makhuol last year. (Here, here, here and here). I even e-mailed them a couple of times, and tweeted. There was of course never any response, nor was one ever expected.

Yesterday, following Makhoul's conviction, Amnesty International finally revisited the story:
"Ameer Makhoul's jailing is a very disturbing development and we will be studying the details of the sentencing as soon as we can," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa deputy director.

"Ameer Makhoul is well known for his human rights activism on behalf of Palestinians in Israel and those living under Israeli occupation. We fear that this may be the underlying reason for his imprisonment."
Translated into English: we haven't read the court's decision, but we know it's wrong, and we know it was handed down because Makhoul is a human rights activist who stands up for Palestinians.

Since the court's decision is in Hebrew, there's no reason to expect anyone at AI will ever read it.

Many years ago, when I was a wee lad at university, I was profoundly and lastingly impressed by the writings of Carl Popper. One of the things I learned from him was about how rational inquiry always needs to ask itself not only what might constitute proof, but what would constitute disproof. In other words, what set of facts might force the inquirer to admit that his thesis is wrong, or at least needs to be modified. If the AI folks and I were still sophomoric students bandying around ideas for the intellectual stimulation, I'd ask them what set of hypothetical facts could possible dampen their conviction that Israel is evil, and is the kind of place that sends innocent men to long jail terms out of mere spite.

Since we're not, I'll postulate that they're driven, among other motivations, by simple old hatred of the Jews, and invite them to submit facts that would disprove this. In any case, they're clearly not in the business of carefully reporting reality. And they are in the business of discrediting the noble idea of human rights.


Abtalyon said...

I confidently predict that Amnesty International will neither retract its support for Makhoul nor its allegations that his trial was "managed." I expect the allegations of a "forced confession under torture" to be repeated every time his name is mentioned. As shown in the Begg case and others, AI has come down decidedly in favour of the "victims" of justice rather than justice itself.

Sérgio said...

Philiph Luther, eh? He´s got some precedent, this guy.

AI is dead. It´s a bad antisemitic joke led by people school on postmodernist bullcrap. Which just shows that pseudo-philosophy as pseudo-sciences, can cause great harm.

Barry Meislin said...

The belief in Israel's utter and unequivocal guilt has reached mythological proportions.

Anything that does not conform to the myth of Israel's guilt is relegated to the dustbin.

Anyone that does not agree with Israel's guilt is labeled a fascist. A neocon. A Jew.

The last time "we" were in a situation of this type, it was catastrophe.

One must prepare (in all ways) for the impending inferno.

For unfortunately, the days of, "No, we are really not like that," or "No, that's not really how it is" are over.

For one cannot battle myths rationally.

And one had better realize it.

Anonymous said...

Have any of AI's Israeli fellow travelers come to the same conclusion? If so would this not be pretty good support for The NGO bill.

There clearly is a problem!


Silke said...

I proudly hint that in a comment to the earlier post on it I predicted it

so I am good at predictions? could make a career out of it? I am afraid not, since this one was way too easy, anything else might have been a surprise.

declaring AI dead is wishful thinking - if you know of any method to kill of at least its Israel-covering branch, let me know - in the meantime they probably keep it up because it helps to fill donation coffers.

Anonymous said...


So how *do* we fight a vicious mythology?

David E. Sigeti

Silke said...

traditionally I'd say it was done by inventing a better one, not necessarily better for mankind but better in better at winning the day.

But I am afraid that, from what I am reading, Israelis and Jews will always prefer an honest debate ...

To make a brillant astute point seems to have an almost irresistible allure.

No wonder they win so many Nobels!

Barry said...

And they are in the business of discrediting the noble idea of human rights.

But "human rights" along with other noble ideas and historic acts have been reduced to clichés which are now used as clubs/cudgels/batons to bash the opposition.

NormanF said...

Ya'acov - then there is AI's blasting of the Turkel Commission Report without bothering to read it.

There's definitely a pattern here and if you put two and two together you arrive at old fashioned hatred of Israel. The international human rights NGOs no longer stand for upholding human rights in tyrannical regimes but rather in fostering the delegitimization and destruction of the only democracy in the Middle East - Israel.

AI's monomania on Israel contrasts sharply with its inability to find its voice on the events happening in Egypt. That says it all.

AKUS said...

Of course, the Guardian had to provide a platform for this man's wife to protest his innocence and complain about how badly he is being treated.

This bizarre idea that traitors, enemies and spies like Bradley Manning, Julian Assange or Ameer Makhoul(a Haifa resident, not, as he claims, a "Palestinian" - simply a traitor) should be treated as if they were honored guests of the state seems to spreading.

Barry Meislin said...

Some (additional) "context":

cutman said...

"In other words, what set of facts might force the inquirer to admit that his thesis is wrong, or at least needs to be modified."

Let's agree on these facts first:

-Makhoul confessed to espionage before being allowed to meet his lawyer 12 days after being arrested.

-While he was interrogated, he was subjected to sleep deprivation.

-State Prosecutors admitted that no evidence of espionage had been found in any of the computers and cellular phones seized from Makhoul’s home and office. Nor was any evidence of espionage found, they admitted, in the transcripts of thirty thousand wiretapped telephone conversations.

-The prosecution had 'Secret Evidence' Makhoul's defense could not see. There goes rational inquiry.

"Since we're not, I'll postulate that they're driven, among other motivations, by simple old hatred of the Jews"

Oh, yeah. Antisemites have a long tradition of covering themselves with political prisoners. Heinrich von Treitschke founded AI, come to think of it.

Silke said...

google Joseph Dana and CiFWatch and you'll read that he is pushing the "tear gas is dangerous" angle connected with the last hopefully failed attempt at pally-wooding Israeli security forces.

Boosting CiFWatch's click-o-meter is a good deed while "honouring" with a visit Joseph Dana isn't

ctrl-F for Dana and "enjoy"

Sylvia said...

What this character Joseph Dana (another third-rate propagandist obviously) DOES NOT SAY-

1. Amir Makhoul wasn't arrested alone: he had a co-defendant, Omar Said. Understandably, Makhoul was prevented from communicating with him for fear they would match their versions of the facts, either directly or through a third party.
2. Omar Said was the first to enter a plea-bargain and was subsequently released. What did he give away?
3. Amir Makhoul's lawyers then entered a plea-bargain and A.M. confessed (apparently the confession seemed credible and matched what the Shin Bet already had.)
4. Following the plea-bargain, Makhoul got ONLY 9 years.
Compare this with Wanounou, who did a full 18 years prison term (the maximum for spying) for something he was about to say to a foreign newspaper AND after he was released was put on house arrest.

I am not saying there is no discrimination in Israel, but it is certainly not directed against Arab Israelis. Some sections of the Jewish population wished they could have it as good.

cutman said...

1. So there are two suspects and this makes scrutiny of the legal process against them propaganda?

2. Apparently we don't know and are still to give the benefit to the same criminal justice system that habitually renews administrative detention for Palestinians.

3. It's the circumstances under which he confessed we're interested in. And Dana posted that Oct. 4, before the plea-bargain was entered.

4. Vanunu already converted to Christianity before he was captured in Greece and is no longer Jewish according to the Law of Return. And Makhoul plea-bargained to get seven years and instead got the sentence the prosecution asked for.

"I am not saying there is no discrimination in Israel, but it is certainly not directed against Arab Israelis."

Jews were persecuted for 2000 years so the state of Israel isn't responsible for anything. Yeah, I got it the first 2000 times I heard this excuse.

Silke said...

just in case you want to be taken seriously and/or read carefully, come up with other guarantors of whatever you are trying to get across around here than a death-by-tear-gar-faction-supporter nutcase

If you can't just shut up that is

- and don't try to support your case by linkingto another mudslinging wannabe pallywood supporter.

Yaacov said...

cutman -

These are very serious allegations you're bandying around, and the hearsay of Josef Dana is not sufficient as substantiation. I suggest you read the various court documents, including the verdict. Once you've done that we can discuss the matter. If you're not able to do so, for lack of lingual competence, I suggest you find someone who can or perhaps already has, and tell us what they say. Dana has the ability, but I don't see any indication he has done so. He was eager to trot out the allegations, but after the court related to them he seems to have gone silent. Actually, so far as I can see, the entire +972 stable of fierce Israeli critics seem to have gone silent on the matter. Hard to believe they'd be shutting up if they thought they had even the flimsiest of cases. But as I said, you should start by reading the court proceedings, which include the positions of Makhoul's own lawyers.

Anonymous said...

cutman, glad to see you are playing fast and loose with the facts. Firstly, the two suspects are Israeli Arabs and so not subject to administrative detention. They have exactly the same legal rights as Yaacov. Secondly, Vannu was taken in Rome and hadn't converted at that point. When spies in the US exposed nuclear secrets they were executed. As for the case in hand, people who plea bargain don't always get that sentence. Just look at what Pollard got for handing information to an ally where as this guy handed info over to an avowed enemy - note also the difference in sentences too.


Anonymous said...

Looks like I've found a den of racists. If this was such a just arrest, why then was it ordered sealed at the request of the Shabak? What did Israel have to hide. You know no one in American has a problem calling whites of the 1950's Southern states racist yet call an Israeli racist in their treatment of Palestinians and imediately you are labeled anti-semetic. Keep it up and it won't be long before the anti-semite label will be worn like a badge of honor.