Media statement on Amnesty International report

The Chair and the Deputy Chair of the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Israel reject Amnesty International’s incorrect claims about Israel contained in its report released overnight. Israel’s own richly diverse and inclusive society — demonstrated on its streets and in its Knesset, where people of all nationalities and backgrounds mix freely — powerfully rebuts any attempt to equate it with South Africa’s brutal and evil apartheid regime.

Amnesty International’s report attempts to equate Israel’s efforts to the abhorrent historical practise of apartheid in South Africa. We fear this kind of framing could have the effect of lending support to Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) campaigns against Israel, which have been condemned by the leadership of both sides of Australian politics as antisemitic.

The Chairs also note their disappointment at the insensitive and hurtful timing of the report’s release just days after the world commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD). We note there has been an odious and continuous attempt by some to describe the Jewish state by reference to the Nazis. Equating it to the apartheid regime of South Africa is little better.

Amnesty does such good work, which we support. But pretending Tel Aviv in 2022 is like Cape Town in 1976 is demonstrably wrong and needs to be called out, without rancour, just sadness.

Senator Eric Abetz, Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Israel, and Senator Kimberley Kitching, Deputy Chair, said:

“Amnesty International’s report is littered with errors that rehash discredited claims from other biased reports. It’s wrong in detail and disturbing in its intent.”

“Israel is a vibrant beacon of democracy in the Middle East, comprised of Jews and Arabs, Druze and Christians — both secular and religious — whose rights and liberties are protected in equal measure.”

“The misappropriation of hateful words does nothing to aid the peace process for a mutually negotiated and enduring two-state solution where Israel and a future Palestinian state can co-exist in peace and security. Both sides of Australian politics remain resolute in our support for a two-state solution.”

“We won’t help Israel or the Palestinians by pretending things are different from what they actually are in Israel or by encouraging delusions that the concept of the Jewish state can be crushed by external forces, be they military or trade. We need to loudly speak up for peace and human rights, in the Middle East and elsewhere, as these concepts are mutually dependent.”

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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