"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," Robert Zimmerman/Bob Dylan (himself Jewish) once wrote. "Amnesty takes no political views," a claim brazenly dishonest. His remarks followed a recent report which had accused Israel of "apartheid," a charge without which no anti-Semitic philosophy is complete.
Referring to both the report and O'Brien's comments, all 25 Jewish members of the U.S.A. House of Representatives wrote to the secretary general of Amnesty International, recognizing the organization "cannot credibly advance human rights around the globe while simultaneously denying the only Jewish state their right to self-determination."
Organized by Florida's Debbie Wasserman Schultz, signatories to the letter asked "Amnesty International to clarify whether it 'seeks to advance peace for both Israelis and Palestinians,' 'whether or not it accepts Israel as a democratic, Jewish state' and whether it supports a two-state solution.'"
Alas, the questions appear (appropriately) to be rhetorical, for the group noted "a tacit attempt to delegitimize and ultimately destroy Israel as the only Jewish state in the world.”
We now know what prompts the frequent, irresponsible and dangerous charge that Israel practices "apartheid." It is the attempt to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish state. O'Brien stated that Amnesty takes no position on "the right of the State of Israel to survive." However, he did not dispute whether, for instance, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan. has a right to survive. Only Israel.
Admittedly, O'Brien may be less anti-Jewish than confused. At one point, he refers to "the threats that the Jewish people experienced over the last several generations," inferring inaccurately that a) the threat was in the past- experienced, not has experienced; and b) persecution occurred only the past several generations, rather than for hundreds of years. He cites "Jewish Americans," thus implying that Jews constitute a nationality. At another point, he maintains "I don’t believe that Israel should be preserved as a state in which one race is legally entitled to oppress another," thus implying that Jews constitute a race. A self-described "human rights activist" who doesn't recognize a religion when he sees one is an odd human rights activist, indeed.
No matter Paul O'Brien's thinking- muddled, ignorant, or hostile to Jews- recent words from Amnesty International are a reminder that there are groups in the world which find the existence of a tiny patch of land in the Middle East a a threat they'd like to see vanish.