Thursday, April 23, 2015

UK: Amnesty rejects call to campaign against antisemitism

Amnesty founder
Peter Benenson
The sad irony is that the founder of Amnesty, Peter Benenson, was Jewish.

Jewish Chronicle reports:  

Amnesty International has rejected a motion to tackle the rise in antisemitic attacks in Britain at its annual conference.   The motion was tabled by Amnesty member Andrew Thorpe-Apps in March who said it was defeated at the International AGM on Sunday by 468 votes to 461. 

Mr Thorpe Apps said: “It was the only resolution to be defeated during the whole conference.” [...]

Mr Thorpe-Apps said he put forward the motion because “I recently joined and I believe passionately about human rights.

“I was aware that the organisation has been outwardly pro-Palestine in the past but it hasn’t stood up for the Jewish population and I think it would be good if they did that. I’m not Jewish myself but I’ve been appalled by what I’ve seen in the press facing the Jewish community and an organisation like Amnesty should really add their voice to that as they do with other human rights issues.” 

Mr Thorpe-Apps called on Amnesty to back the recent report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism.

From the 2015 Resolution proposal (PDF):

Board background note:

The rise in incidents of anti-Semitic attacks in the UK and across Europe, documented by the Community Security Trust and others, is deeply disturbing. Amnesty International condemns all manifestations of hate crime. 

Amnesty’s work to date

During the movement’s current Strategic Plan period, its strategy on hate crimes within Europe has been led from the Brussels-based European Institutions Office (EIO). This has focussed on state action to prevent and investigate hate crimes and ensure avenues of redress are available to victims. Priorities have included homophobic and transphobic hate crime, given widespread legislative gaps in Europe, as well as endemic discrimination and hate crime directed towards Europe’s Roma communities. More recently, in February 2015, the International Secretariat (IS) published a briefing on hate crime, including racist violence, in Bulgaria.

Amnesty’s existing plans

Whilst Amnesty International’s background documents have noted increased manifestations of anti-Semitism in a number of European countries, neither AIUK nor the International Secretariat have undertaken research or campaigning work specifically on anti-Semitism in the UK. This area of work is not included in AIUK’s existing plans, nor are we aware of any IS or EIO plans to do so.

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