UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Amnesty International Charities reported to Charity Commission

UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) has filed a complaint to the Charity Commission regarding the Report published by Amnesty alleging that Israel is an Apartheid State.

UKLFI has asked the Charity Commission to investigate the involvement of the Amnesty International Charities in the Report, which is entitled: “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity”. Jonathan Turner, chief executive of UKLFI, says: “The Report is not for the public benefit, but rather consists of misleading and inflammatory allegations that will exacerbate the serious problem of antisemitism in the UK and around the world.”

The organisation Amnesty International consists of several different companies, some charitable and some non-charitable. Before complaining to the Charity Commission, UKLFI wrote to the Amnesty International charitable entities, setting out our concerns.

Amnesty International UK Section Charitable Trust (AI UK Section CT , charity number 1051681) denied funding the report, but declined to clarify what involvement they have had in its preparation, publication and circulation. Amnesty International Charity (charity number 294230) did not reply to UKLFI’s letter.

UKLFI has now submitted a complaint to the Charity Commission, in which it notes that:

• A press release from AI UK Section CT announced the imminent publication of the Report.
A campaign on the joint website of AI UK Section CT and Amnesty International UK Section makes allegations based on the Report including: “Across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Palestinians are treated as an inferior racial group and systematically deprived of their rights. This is apartheid.”
• A fund-raising campaign appears to be asking people to donate to AI UK Section CT to “Help End Apartheid Against Palestinians” or “Help Palestinians break free of the 21st century apartheid they’re living under” and stating “Apartheid has no place in your life or the lives of Palestinians. It should be consigned to the history books”.

Jonathan Turner, chief executive of UKLFI commented: “In our view, this is ‘dog-whistle’ fund-raising, taking advantage of widespread racist prejudice against Jews to raise money in the knowledge that accusing Jews of crimes goes down very well with many people.”

UKLFI considers that these matters point to a substantial involvement of AI UK Section CT in relation to the Report.

UKLFI’s letter of complaint goes on to set out serious concerns regarding the content of the Report. It points out that the Report’s claim that Israel is an Apartheid state has been rejected in official statements of democratic governments including

• The President of the Czech Republic
• The Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
• The US Ambassador to Israel,
• The US State Department spokesman
German Foreign Ministry spokesperson
• A spokesperson for the Australian Foreign Minister
• A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada
Mansour Abbas, leader of the United Arab List party in the Israeli parliament and member of the coalition government
• British Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad
• US President Biden’s nominee for the US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, Professor Deborah Lipstadt

The French President, Emmanuel Macron, has since stated: “How dare we talk about apartheid in a state where Arab citizens are represented in government, in parliament, in leadership positions and in positions of responsibility”.

Report likely to promote Antisemitism

UKLFI’s complaint observes that numerous organisations representing Jewish communities have expressed concern that the Report will promote antisemitism, including
• The President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder
• The President of the European Jewish Congress, Dr Moshe Kantor
• The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), American Jewish Committee (AJC), B’nai B’rith International, and the Jewish Federations of North America
• The Chief Executive of B’nai Brith Canada, Michael Mostyn
• The President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, and the Chair of Britain’s Jewish Leadership Council, Keith Black

Misleading allegations and analyses

UKLFI also refers to articles by commentators concluding that allegations and analyses in the Report are misleading:

Josh Kern, 9 Bedford Row Chambers, and Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor
• Rabbi Dr Moshe Goldfeder
Dr Alex Safian, Research Director of CAMERA
Gilead Ini, Senior Research Analyst at CAMERA
Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and Keith Black, Chair of Britain’s Jewish Leadership Council
Bassem Eid Palestinian peace activist and founder of Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group.
Yoseph Haddad, an Israeli Arab and CEO of the NGO, Together – Vouch for Each
Lorena Khateeb, an Israeli Arab citizen
Amjad Taha, a British-Bahraini social media influencer

UKLFI adds that its concerns regarding the Report are corroborated by an embarrassing interview of Amnesty International’s Secretary General and its MENA Research and Advocacy Director by the Times of Israel, as described by Dr Shany Mor.

Amnesty International has argued that other lawyers support its allegations, citing particularly former Israeli Attorney-General, Michael Ben-Yair. However, UKLFI points out that Mr Ben-Yair did not say that Israel operates apartheid within the Green Line, nor that Israel has been an Apartheid State since its inception, nor that Israeli actions constitute the crime of apartheid as defined in international law or the Apartheid Convention or the Rome Statute.

We are grateful to International Legal Forum for their compilation of resources relating to the Amnesty International report which we used in preparing the complaint.