Accused of racism at Amnesty after admitting to being Jewish.

Itay Epshtain (ICAHD), Kristyan Benedict (Amnesty) at Amnesty's London HQ last night.

Itay Epshtain (ICAHD), Kristyan Benedict (Amnesty) at Amnesty’s London HQ last night.

When you go to an anti-Israel event chances are you’re not more than a few feet from an anti-Semite. Last night after yet another anti-Israel event at Amnesty’s Human Rights Action Centre had finished I was immediately confronted by audience member Chris who politely asked if I was Jewish. I answered yes, obviously, but found that Chris wasn’t very happy with me .

I then switched on my recorder and this is how the conversation continued:

Chris: Jewish people feel connected by race or religion. Your support and the support of a lot of people in the Jewish community stems from that connection.
Me: What connection?
Chris: The one I just described about ethnicity and religion. That connection is the basis of the support that seems to come from the Jewish community, people like yourself.
Me: We also support a Palestinian state as well.
Chris: I think to people who are independent, which I am, I’m not Israeli, I’m not Palestinian, I’m not Jewish, to an independent observer it is so patent the immorality of what Israel is doing. And it is so patent that it is painful that Jewish people support this immorality on the basis of race and I think it is a kind of racism.

You can listen in to the full conversation by clicking on this link:

Chris on Jews at Amnesty’s London HQ.

Chris had just been at the talk by Itay Epshtain, co-director of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. Epshtain had given the usual anti-Israel talk, which included statistics about house demolitions, pictures of demolished houses and those maps of Israel and the West Bank.

Epshtain, who lives in Tel Aviv and who previously worked for Amnesty in Israel, wasn’t sure whether a one or two-state solution might be the best way forward and wanted all Jews and Palestinians to decide, but affirmed that boycott, divestment and sanctions was one “tool” to be used by “civil society” to put pressure on Israel.

Epshtain added that Israel might have committed both war crimes and crimes against humanity due to alleged breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

He then suggested that we, as in the audience, were paying for the “displacement and demolition” caused by Israel. We have to pay for the subsequent rehousing through our UK taxes and also via the EU (see clip at end).

Shame Epshtain didn’t tell the audience that we were also paying his salary and for his extravagant trips to London via ICAHD’s EU funding.

Epshtain described how Israel had “Judaised” the Galilee, which wasn’t supposed to be part of Israel under UN Res. 181, after 1948 and then used that as a template for “Judaising” the West Bank. And he claimed Palestinians get 20-30 litres of water per day compared to the WHO recommended amount of 100 per day while Israeli settlers, apparently, get 400 per day.

As for the illegality of the settlements Epshtain cited the totally irrelevant “advisory opinion” of the International Court of Justice as the main authoritative decision.

Surprise, Surprise Epshtain didn’t mention UN Security Council Resolution 242 and the British Mandate for Palestine which, arguably, allow the settlements to be there. He didn’t mention Hamas, Gaza or the Hamas Charter, which calls for the murder of Jews. Security for Israelis doesn’t seem a major issue for ICAHD.

During the Q&A I asked why, if things were so bad in the West Bank, Palestinian life expectancy there was higher than in most countries in the world according to the CIA World Factbook. Epshtain just muttered that he didn’t know whether the CIA World Factbook was correct.

If you’d like to meet Epshtain and, probably, Chris you can attend ICAHD’s AGM on 23rd March 2013. Can you guess where it’s taking place?

Correct. Amnesty’s Human Rights Action Centre.

Here is Jonathan Hoffman’s account:

Clip of Epshtain from last night:


24 responses to “Accused of racism at Amnesty after admitting to being Jewish.

  1. Why, if it is so bad in the West Bank, aren’t there refugees streaming out to Jordan….?

  2. Its called banging your head on the wall-(Gay Kop an Vant)
    This guy Chris will never see another side to his prejudice.

  3. I don’t quite understand the purpose of challenging known anti Semitic people and organsisations. There is no way you can change their opinions and their influence unless you take legal action against them and hit them economically so that they are forced to stop. Incitement to racial hatred is still a crime in British law. You need a good Jewish lawyer and there are plenty of excellent Jewish lawyers in Britain. .

  4. This is why I do not support Amnesty… has lost its way…and like the UN has rather odd ways of showing support for what it is actually set up to do.

  5. The PSC swarms with antisemites like flies to a cow pat .
    None more so than Greenstein . See here how he exonerates the antisemite Greta Berlin effectively stating that the cause – eradication of Israel – supersedes all other considerations including antisemitism . Greenstein condemns the likes of Atzmon . The reality is he is just as bad .

    The antisemite Greenstein and his comment .

    Clearly a part of the FGM, Ken O’Keefe and co. have moved over to an anti-Semitic position. But I also don’t want to see it destroyed since the evil it is fighting – Israel’s siege – is far greater. It is a great political mistake that has been made by Greta Berlin but I am happy to let others judge her explanation and for her, if she wishes, to respond.

  6. It’s “Amnesy International”. A very selective one.

  7. Amnesty International, promoting Hamas Rights Worldwide.

  8. Hi Richard
    I’d be interested to know whether he would dare ask a random Muslim why he or she was supportive of Hamas or some other proscribed terrorist outfit . Hamas being the elected government of Gaza and government in waiting on the West Bank .
    Well done for answering this douche bag politely . Of course he hasn’t heard of the Hamas charter . He has selective hearing when it comes to Israel

  9. It’s a really unpleasant (though probably he didn’t see or mean it that way) line of discussion/questioning – would it then follow that he would be obliged to listen to my views and see them as valid just because I am not Jewish?

    • maybe he’d resort to the accusation of philosemitism as a reason why you aren’t in a position to say anything worth to be considered

  10. Chris presents himself as “independent”, yet he is blind to his own racism and immorality when he ignores crimes against humanity committed by Islamists.
    I wish Epshtain and Chris would go to Aleppo, spend a week there, and report on how life is under bombardment by Arabs.

  11. I haven’t listened to the recording yet, but these words struck me:

    And he claimed Palestinians get 20-30 litres of water per day compared to the WHO recommended amount of 100 per day while Israeli settlers, apparently, get 400 per day.

    This is demonstrably false and patently untrue. According to the report on water consumption in Israel, produced by Cohav, here are details for 2010:

    “Fresh Water availability 2010

    a) Israel has 1170 Million cubes (MCM) of fresh water available for 7.8 million residents. This is equivalent to 150 cubic metres per capita
    b) The Palestinians in Judea and Samaria have 200 MCM plus an additional 52 MCM supplied by Israel under the 1995 agreement although that agreement specified only 23.6 MCM. This is equivalent to 125 cubic metres per capita”

    Read the whole report for a true picture of the water situation in Israel – as opposed to the lies and slander broadcast by the likes of Amnesty International.

  12. Well, what this proves to me is, that the Chris-ses of this world will always be able to construe new justifications for condemning Jews.

    BTW any member of one of those voluntary firemen’s (and increasingly women’s) brigades, which even the tiniest German villages have will rise to the defense of all other firemen (and women) immediately neglecting all other criteria. Certainly that is despicable behaviour!

    Is there an -ism by which it can be classified and subsequently denounced?

  13. Comparing city dwellers or people using antique agricultural methods with people using modern methods will show a big difference of water consumption. The same for agricultural workers iin France (or worse USA) and city people in the same country. Does it means the agriculturers in these countries are depriving anyone? No, of course notL
    Indeed, ‘Palestinians’ work at these Jewish-owned farms and get a living from it. The products of these facilities are also sold to ‘Palestinians’, meaning they get their share of the water used to grow these products but it is not counted in the report. It fhey choose to boycott these products, that is their choice and their problem. So the water use is certainly more than fair.
    I wish Israel would limit ‘Palestinian’ water to what is included in Oslo Accords and not a drop more.
    Then, we would see what the idiots from “Amnesy International” would have to say.

  14. The CIA Factbook is a very useful resource!
    I compiled the following using it, as well as data from (from memory) the OECD:

    West Bank and Gaza have a combined population of 4,332,801, of whom 1,739,000 are refugees according to the bizarre hereditary definition of UNRWA. The infant mortality rate averages at about 15 deaths/1,000 live births across the two territories and the life expectancy is about 75. More than 90% of people aged 15 and over can read and write. The GDP per capita is $2,900 (2008).
    International aid received 2001 – 2010? $6.5bn.

    Somalia has a population of about 10m, of whom 1.1m are internally displaced persons. Mundane features of life include famine, contaminated water, deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion and desertification. And there’s a high risk of infectious diseases including bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, typhoid fever, dengue fever, malaria, Rift Valley fever, schistosomiasis, and rabies. The infant mortality rate is 103.72 deaths/1,000 live births and those who survive infancy can expect to live for about 50 years. Less than 38% of people aged 15 and over can read and write. The GDP per capita is $600.
    International aid received 2001 – 2010? $2.7bn.

    Biggest international aid recipients (2001 – 2010): Sudan ($9.7bn), “Palestine” ($6.5bn), Afghanistan ($5.6bn), Ethiopia ($5.3bn), Iraq ($5.2bn), Pakistan ($4.6bn), Haiti ($3.8bn), DRC ($3.7bn), Somalia ($2.7bn), Indonesia ($2.4bn). And the biggest donors in the same time period? USA, EU, UK, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Japan, Norway, France and Spain.

  15. Hi Richard I read your latest Blog and I admire the work and time you devote to this worthwile cause. I am sure you have seen the article by Abdulateef al- Mulhim in last Thursdays Times entitled”Forget Israel.Arabs are their own worst enemy”.It would be very interesting if it could be translated into Arabic and get it published in an Arabic publication. Keep up the good work! Best wishes Harry Olmer


    • richardmillett

      Hi Harry, thank you very much. Yes, I think it was originally published in a longer form in the Saudi Times. But it should get a wider circulation and could change a few minds if any newspapers are brave enough to publish it.

  16. Richard, having heard the recording now, I don’t know how you had the patience to talk calmly and rationally to this Chris person. His reasoning is so fallacious, his arguments so circular, that I’m itching to reach through the screen and shake him by the scruff of his neck.

  17. Hmm. Why is my above comment awaiting moderation?

    I just wanted to add that Chris is just repeating meaningless mantras which he obviously regards as solid truth. Things like “the Likud platform which is similar to Hamas charter”, Israel killed 1500 people in Cast Lead, over half of whom were (recording cut off, but I assume he said “civilians”), the immorality of supporting Israel on an ethnic basis, bla bla bla.

    You have the patience of a saint to have sat through that without losing your temper. Kol hakavod.

  18. Empress Trudy

    I am reminded of the 1990’s when after the Berlin wall fell, there were tons of French communists who blamed that on ‘consumerism’, ‘zionism’ and called it an aggressive act by the west against the socialist peoples. This is the kind of screwball thinking you’re up against. It’s like the a holocaust denier who worships Hitler. Wouldn’t that make him a wanker?

  19. I wish the people of Amnesty International would remain on strike forever:

  20. OT, but as Greenstein has been mentioned: he is listed as a ‘reliable source on Sizer’ by the s*** at the Scottish Church who are defending Sizer, and essentially blaming antisemitism on … wait for it … the Board of Deputies.

  21. I do not accept that Tony Greenstein is an antisemite, if that means that he hates Jews or wishes to harm them because they are Jews.

    He is vehemently anti-Israel, although as a Trotskyite of some sort or another I imagine he’s pretty much “anti” most Western democratic governments. Paradoxically, he’s so anti-Israel that his positions make him irrelevant and as a consequence quite harmless. For example, I saw a delicious clip of him in a pub debate opposing the “Two State Solution” arguing instead for a popular revolution of the proletariat in the whole Middle East – if I’d have been there, I’d have paid for his beer!

    Tony definitely hates organized Judaism with a passion, I’m no psychologist, but one hardly has to be Sigmund Freud to understand why:

    “I had broken effectively with Zionism by the age 16, but maybe the formative break with my father was when I was 14 I declared I was an atheist…”

    “It would be pointless to say we were close, having seen each other relatively little over the past few years. We had argued ferociously when I was younger and I left home at 18.”

    “I guess that I learnt something of how to be a good parent from my father, even if it was the opposite of how he would have behaved.”

    ‘I was picked up in a raid on a squat and dad was quite content to let me serve out the sentence…’

    “The funeral was held on Tuesday 24th November in the Jewish cemetery and my daughter, Eleanor, came up to pay her respects to a grandfather she had never met.”

    Tony’s father was a rabbi whose his son has wasted a life trying to wreak a terrible vengeance on an old man by attacking much of that he held dear; Judaism and Israel. After reading of this tragic modern day Oedipus, I was left with genuine tears in my eyes both for the father and, no less, the son. What do with the rest of your life after the man you’ve spent your life trying to kill finally dies?

    To the best of my knowledge, and not for want of trying, Tony has caused no discernible harm to either Israel or its people, other than the members of his own family. He is a terribly misguided and confused Jew, but a Jew and a human being nonetheless, and thus should be pitied rather than despised.