Amnesty International’s crisis response manager for Syria Kristyan Benedict just can’t help himself. In 2012 after Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defence against Hamas Benedict tweeted:
“Louise Ellman, Robert Halfon and Luciana Berger walk into a bar…each orders a round of B52s … #Gaza”.
Ellman, Halfon and Berger all happen to be Jewish.
Amnesty’s subsequent disciplinary investigation found that tweet “ill-advised and had the potential to be offensive and inflammatory but was not racist or antisemitic”. Benedict was merely made to apologise.
A year earlier Amnesty made Benedict apologise for physically threatening me after I questioned Benedict’s guest presenter Abu Dheer who produced to an Amnesty audience the following very possibly fake photo of a young Palestinian boy with a Star of David allegedly carved into his arm by an Israeli soldier using broken glass.
Benedict called me a “war crimes denier” for questioning the photo and then threatened me physically.
As you can see, the Star of David is too perfect to have been made by broken glass on a screaming boy’s arm and the plaster doesn’t cover the supposed wound properly.
Now Benedict has compared Israel to Islamic State, also known as ISIL (Islamic State in the Levant), with this tweet:
#JSIL means “Jewish State in the Levant”, a sickening comparison to the murderous ISIL.
Obviously, not on any level can Israel be compared to Islamic State but in the prevailing febrile anti-Israel atmosphere Israel is now regularly being compared so alongside the usual comparisons to Nazism and apartheid South Afria.
So this latest tweet by Benedict, sadly, comes as no surprise. Maybe Amnesty will carry out yet another investigation and make him apologise a third time. Who knows.
But Amnesty does itself a disservice by continuing to employ Benedict. When considering his “JSIL” tweet, his B52 “joke” and his theatening behaviour in response to the questioning of that fake photo why would anyone seeking objectivity take seriously any report that Amnesty produces on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
(For your information here is a debunking of that latest Amnesty report accusing Israel of war crimes during this summer’s Operation Protective Edge)