Back in February, at the time of the Gita Sahgal affair, I commented on the danger that, because of the overlap between the milieu of the liberal-left and the global human rights community, some of the moral and political ailments common within a sector of the liberal-left might show up from time to time amongst human rights activists and organizations. That worry is now confirmed in spades by the head of Amnesty International’s Finnish branch going on record with his view that Israel is a ‘scum state‘. Well, the danger is unavoidable given the circumstances that give rise to it. The only question is how Amnesty will react. According to the report under the above link:
… a spokeswoman for Amnesty International’s headquarters in London, Susanne Flood, told the [Jerusalem] Post in a telephone interview that “Amnesty would never use an expression like this toward the State of Israel, or any other state.”
The question is whether Amnesty personnel may do so and remain that.
None of this is in the least surprising.
Amnesty does not simply campaign against human rights abuses in Israel, as it would in relation to any other country: an important and laudable task. It also repeatedly hosts meetings featuring controversial and extreme activists, including:
- Ben White, who does not consider himself an antisemite but “understands” why some people are.
- Kathleen and Bill Christison, a pair of Troofers who believe that Israel controls the USA.
If these are the sorts of people who are hosted by Amnesty, it is unsurprising to discover that staff members also share extreme political views on the subject of Israel/Palestine.
Take, for example, the NUJ’s Vice President Donnacha Delong, who was busy last week campaigning against the BBC, because he disagreed with the editorial perspective of the Panorama programme, Death on the Med.
Delong has no problem at all appearing on PressTV, the Iranian Government’s propaganda outfit, which has a record of publishing Holocaust Denial material, and which has itself been repeatedly disciplined by OFCOM:
So, why does this part of Delong’s biography not surprise me?
Professionally, Donnacha was Senior Site Editor of amnesty.org from 2007 until 2010, having previously edited the news.amnesty part of the website (which disappeared with the 10 December 2007 redesign) from 2003 to 2007.
It is a pretty depressing situation.