Israel Should Not Be A Jewish State Amnesty International

Amnesty International’s Paul O’Brien, the US director for the human rights group, told the Women’s National Democratic Club last week that Israel “should not exist as a Jewish state.”

He specifically asserted that his group opposes the preservation of Israel as “a state for the Jewish people.”

In an interesting play on words, O’Brien declared that most American Jews want Israel to be a “safe Jewish space” rather than the world’s lone Jewish state. His organization recently published a report decrying Israeli “apartheid” for its relations with Palestinians, and O’Brien told the gathering that its purpose was to “change the conversation.”

Both Israeli and American officials condemned the Amnesty International report as “biased” and “one-sided.” The group repeatedly denigrated the Jewish state based on apartheid and engaged in systematic criminal conduct.

Addressing a 2020 survey that showed eight in 10 Jewish Americans are “pro-Israel” and two-thirds are “attached” to Israel, O’Brien, who is not Jewish, took issue with the findings. Saying he does not believe the figures, O’Brien advocated convincing American Jews “over time” that what they want is this “safe space.”

O’Brien said the US Jewish community wants this space, not a nation predicated on “core Jewish values.” It is code for nebulous progressive claptrap that does not acknowledge the “space” the Jewish people have for a homeland exists because of soldiers, tanks and the will to defend themselves.

He credited his “gut” for this knowledge. Actual American Jews, by the way, overwhelmingly disagree.

CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, William Daroff, holds a different view. Deriding Amnesty’s self-proclaimed apolitical stance, Daroff instead places the group firmly “in the cadre of extremist anti-Israel provocateurs.”

The CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, demands an apology for what he sees as O’Brien’s call for “erasure of the Jewish right to self-determination.”

Even groups sometimes critical of Israel who believe Amnesty International has an essential role in human rights advocacy are critical of O’Brien’s presumption to know Jewish public opinion.

Liberal Jewish policy group J Street slammed Amnesty’s deviation from “human rights + international law” and encouraged it to avoid thinking it knows “Jewish public opinion.” Another left-leaning organization, Americans for Peace Now, praised Amnesty’s role in human rights issues but urged it to avoid assuming it knows “the collective conversation within America’s Jewish community.”