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Vote for Eric Lee for the Amnesty International UK Section Board – by Jonathan Hoffman February 24, 2010

Posted by amnestyhaslostitsway in Israel/Palestine, Jonathan Hoffman.
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This post appeared on CifWATCH on 24 February 2010.

Over the past eighteen months or so, Amnesty International has been in the vanguard of the delegitimisers and vilifiers of Israel. Even though impartiality is a core value of Amnesty within its statute, the London branch has hosted meetings addressed by Jeff Halper, who frequently calls Israel an ‘apartheid’ state – an antisemitic  statement – Ben White, author of the book with an antisemitic title “Israel Apartheid” (a book replete with misquotations and untruths) and the Christisons, who make the antisemitic charge of ‘dual loyalty’ about US supporters of Israel and make wry jokes about Congress being “Israeli-occupied territory.” (They are also 9/11 ‘troofers’). (more…)

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Off and running! I am now a candidate for the Amnesty International UK Section Board February 24, 2010

Posted by amnestyhaslostitsway in Eric Lee, Israel/Palestine.
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I have just learned today that I am one of ten candidates for four seats on the Amnesty International UK Section Board.

As part of the process of getting nominated, I was required to submit some details about my experience, knowledge and so on — and an election manifesto. As I was severely limited in the number of words I had, the election manifesto is only 100 words.

The text — which will be sent out to the more than 250,000 Amnesty members in the UK in the next two weeks — is, I think, explosive stuff:

“I believe that Amnesty has lost its way when it comes to Israel and Palestine. Instead of being seen as an unbiased source, Amnesty is increasingly viewed by many as being anti-Israel. Amnesty’s uncritical support for the controversial Goldstone report, the excessive coverage of Israel in its magazine (far more than coverage of, for example, Iran), the partnerships with anti-Israel NGOs like War on Want which label Israel as an “apartheid” society, all contribute to this perception. And just as Amnesty demands that governments tolerate dissent, it too must be open to criticism and not smug or defensive.”

If you are an Amnesty member I encourage you to vote for me.

If you know other Amnesty members or your organisation may have Amnesty members in its ranks, please encourage them to vote.

If you want to help raise the profile of my campaign — for example, by placing an ad in the Guardian, please email me at ericlee@labourstart.org

I want to thank all those who nominated me and encouraged me. We only have a couple of weeks to make our case — let’s get to work today!

Suspension of Conscience – by Christopher Hitchens February 15, 2010

Posted by amnestyhaslostitsway in Afghanistan, Christopher Hitchens.
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This organization is precious to me and to millions of other people, including many thousands of men and women who were and are incarcerated and maltreated because of their courage as dissidents and who regained their liberty as a consequence of Amnesty International’s unsleeping work. So to learn of its degeneration and politicization is to be reading about a moral crisis that has global implications.

Read the full article on Slate.

Amnesty Int. & Megagreed Plc – by Nick Cohen February 14, 2010

Posted by amnestyhaslostitsway in Afghanistan, Nick Cohen.
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Imagine an evil corporation; let us call it Megagreed plc. A worker with a fine and principled record speaks out about its directors associating with men who propagate a criminal ideology that has led to the denial of rights to millions in poor countries. Far from listening to her wise objections, Megagreed’s bosses suspend her for exercising her right to free speech on matters of public importance; it is a very evil corporation as I said.  Our brave whistleblower tours the streets looking for a human rights lawyer to represent her. But none will because they are all so frightened of incurring the wrath of Megagreed plc they would rather allow an injustice to pass than run the risk of taking up her cause.

Once men and women suffering at the hands of evil corporations like Megagreed could have turned to Amnesty International for help. Our heroine has been punished for speaking out, she is being denied the basic right to legal representation, surely Amnesty will act as a court of final appeal and give her a hearing? But our heroine can’t turn to Amnesty because in this instance Amnesty International IS the evil corporation.

Read the full article here.

How Amnesty chose the wrong poster-boy – by David Aaronovitch February 9, 2010

Posted by amnestyhaslostitsway in Afghanistan, David Aaronovitch.
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If you were a prisoner of conscience, a dissident, hounded by the authorities, imprisoned without proper process, shut up, shut in and shut down, then an organisation such as Amnesty International might be your one breath of air. Those Amnesty postcards, which seem like flinging a dart from a mountainside, may keep someone from despair. So the news that there is trouble at Amnesty is not welcome, except to tyrants. And yet it is hard not to see these ructions as being Amnesty’s own fault.

The problem came to prominence at the weekend when The Sunday Times reported that one of Amnesty’s senior officers, Gita Sahgal, had circulated a memorandum extremely critical of the organisation’s collaboration with a group called Cageprisoners. Cageprisoners’ most famous figure is the former Guantánamo inmate Moazzam Begg, a man whose three years’ incarceration without trial has helped, for many liberals, to turn him into a kind of Muslim Mandela — an embodiment of the wrongly accused.

Read the full article in the Times.

Facebook group launched: Amnesty International You Bloody Hypocrites Reinstate Gita Sahgal February 7, 2010

Posted by amnestyhaslostitsway in Afghanistan.
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This Facebook group was set up by Nick Cohen and Martin Bright — if you’re on Facebook, join it!

The problem with Amnesty – by Eric Lee December 9, 2009

Posted by amnestyhaslostitsway in Eric Lee, Israel/Palestine.
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This article appeared in early December 2009 in the Jewish Chronicle.

In recent months, Amnesty International in the UK has taken a sharp anti-Israel turn. This will be obvious to anyone who receives the organisation’s bi-monthly magazine, which now features articles bashing Israel in every single issue. (more…)