“Instead of seeking the truth, Amnesty echoes the same lies shared by terrorist organizations,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in wake of the London-based organization’s report accusing Israel of apartheid.
One wonders whether his remark also referred to the Palestinian Authority. Under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, the P.A. has played a key role in spreading false propaganda against Israel, leads an international legal campaign against Jerusalem and praised the Amnesty report, using it to urge the United Nations to impose sanctions on the Jewish state.
There is no point in justifying our position to those who are not driven by a search for truth and justice. Their venomous criticism of us should rather be seen as an opportunity to see who we can work with, and make firm our beliefs.
Not even a week after International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Amnesty U.K. showed us what modern-day anti-Semitism is—the kind that disguises itself as the pursuit of human rights and justice, that strives to deny the Jewish people the right to self-determination and that applies a double standard to Israel alone.
The title of the report leaves no doubt as to what Amnesty seeks: “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel system of domination and crime against humanity.” And just to be on the safe side, it explicitly calls on the International Criminal Court to investigate these alleged crimes, and on the nations of the world to prosecute “the perpetrators of the violence.”
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair once said that many of those seeking to delegitimize Israel will deny it vehemently. They will claim their remarks are legitimate criticism of Israel, whose actions they view as human rights and international law violations. This is also the case with the Amnesty report.
Israel wages many struggles, constantly, in various arenas, and the greatest of them is the struggle for the truth. Allegations against it change, transform, morph, but their purpose remains the same: to challenge the legitimacy of the Jewish state.
IDF Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick put it well when he said that confidence in the righteousness of our path is the cornerstone and foundation of our state’s strength and success.
In the face of critical remarks, we must remember that the Israel Defense Forces is the most moral army in the world, that Israel is a democratic state governed by the rule of law, and that it is committed to international law and human rights values.
This commitment is rooted in its character, values, institutions and mechanisms. It is rooted in education and values. We are steadfast, but when needed, we course-correct. We do not need sermons on morality, or outside judicial intervention. Anyone truly caring about human rights and international law would be better off turning his or her attention to places that truly need them.
Meir Ben Shabbat is head of the Misgav Institute for Zionist Strategy & National Security in Jerusalem. He served as Israel’s national security advisor and head of the National Security Council between 2017 and 2021. Prior to that, for 25 years he held senior positions in the Israel Security Agency (Shabak).
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.