Human rights group Amnesty International has been criticised for pursuing a “discriminatory, antisemitic” assault on Israel after launching a new campaign targeting tourism companies that publicise Jewish historical and cultural sites.
NGO Monitor noted that Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Expedia.com, Hotels.com, and Booking.com were among the leading online tourism sites being targeted by Amnesty. It also comes as tourism to Israel is at an all time high.
“Amnesty is specifically contesting Jewish historic connections to biblical sites, including in Jerusalem,” watchdog founder Professor Gerald Steinberg said. “In essence, Amnesty faults Israel for preserving Jewish historical and cultural heritage, as well as places that are holy to Christians.”
On Monday, Amnesty published a report titled, “The Tourism Industry and Israeli Settlements,” that accuses Israel of deliberately locating Jewish communities near major archaeological sites in Jerusalem and the so-called West Bank.
The report held that Israel had established a “settlement tourism industry” to help “sustain and expand” the Jewish presence in the territory, taken control of by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel’s interest in Jewish archaeology was based on making “the link between the modern State of Israel and its Jewish history explicit,” while “rewriting of history [which] has the effect of minimising the Palestinian people’s own historic links to the region,” Amnesty claimed.
Steinberg argued that in “the foreground of Amnesty’s campaign is a long history of antisemitism.”
He continued: “Amnesty has tolerated blatant antisemitism within its own ranks and has treated antisemitism as the one form of discrimination not worth fighting against. Unsurprisingly, Amnesty is now fully embracing discriminatory BDS and singling out Israel.”
— NGO Monitor (@ngomonitor) January 30, 2019
Steinberg added that the timing of the campaign was clearly “aimed to coincide” with the publication by the UN Human Rights Council of a “blacklist” of companies engaging in business with Israeli communities in the so-called West Bank.
On Twitter, Israeli cabinet minister Gilad Erdan called the Amnesty statement “an outrageous attempt to distort facts, deny Jewish heritage & delegitimize Israel”.
Meanwhile, Word Jewish Congress CEO said, “If Amnesty wishes to involve itself in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it should center its attention on the real human rights abuses ongoing in Palestinian Territories, and no attack corporate businesses who strive to bridge divides and build peace through global tourism and interaction.”
Source: Algemeiner with edits
Read more about Amnesty’s anti-Semitic history at NGOMonior: Click here