#JSIL? Amnesty UK official compares IDF to ISIS, Israel outraged
A senior human rights group official has likened the Israel Defense Force (IDF) to the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL). Kristyan Benedict, Amnesty International’s UK campaigns manager, tweeted the hashtag #JSIL, condemning summer’s Gaza assault.
The tweet was in response to the Israeli Embassy’s reaction to Amnesty International’s report, published on 6th November, which accused the IDF of war crimes during the Israel/Gaza conflict in July and August.
“This tweet was made in a personal capacity by a member of staff,” An Amnesty spokesperson said in a statement. “Amnesty International has not used the hashtag #JSIL and is not using this in relation to our latest report on Israel/Gaza.”
Israeli regimes response to our Gaza report: Amnesty is "a propaganda tool for Hamas & other terror groups” (#JSIL?) http://t.co/gqwN9O2JrK— kristyan benedict (@KreaseChan) November 5, 2014
The ironic acronym JSIL, which stands for “Jewish State of Israel in the Levant” and is a play on the abbreviation ISIL, was launched as a “rebranding” of Israel by anti-Israel campaigners Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek.
Israeli news service JNS.org published an editorial strongly criticizing the links to Islamic State.
“Yes, you read that correctly. There are people out there who are seriously equating a gang of rapists, decapitators, slave traders, and genocidal killers with a democratic state that takes the trouble, whenever it is dragged into an armed conflict, of informing civilians on the other side when and where it will be launching an attack so that they can get themselves to safety.”
The Israeli Embassy in the UK said that Amnesty’s report on the Gaza conflict, which left over 2,000 Palestinian civilians dead, was a biased account, which neglected to address the terror threat posed by Hamas.
The Embassy called Amnesty “a tool used by terror groups such as Hamas,” and further claimed that “Amnesty should understand that producing a narrow, decontextualized report restricts its capability to advance positive change.
“The extreme bias of the report is best displayed in its recommendations: Hamas is not mentioned, while the report dismisses Israel's security challenges.”
Despite Amnesty’s insistence that the tweet does not represent its official stance, the UK Jewish Leadership Council (JCL) responded by telling the Jewish Chronicle that “for the campaigns manager of Amnesty International to compare Israel to the Islamic State raises serious concerns about Amnesty’s own partiality and discernment.”
They further claimed it was not the first instance in which Benedict had shown “grave misconduct” when carrying out his professional duties, and called the tweet a “pernicious smear.”
The conflict left 2,200 Palestinians dead, the majority of whom were civilians. Israel lost 71 people to the conflict, of which 66 were IDF soldiers.
Amnesty’s report into the violence, called “Families under the rubble: Israeli attacks on inhabited homes,” researched the effects of Operation Protective Shield, the codename for the Israeli military offensive.
Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Amnesty International, said Israeli forces “brazenly flouted” international laws. They further claimed that soldiers showed “callous indifference” to the repercussions of the attacks.
“The report exposes a pattern of attacks on civilian homes by Israeli forces which have shown a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, who were given no warning and had no chance to flee.”
Israel reported November 5 that one person had been killed and 17 others injured in an alleged Palestinian terror attacks, in which drivers had rammed vehicles into crowds of Israelis.
The alleged attacks have reignited tensions in the area.