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Amnesty Campaign to Boycott Israel Sparks Outcry from Jewish Groups

Amnesty International, an NGO known for its hostility toward Israel, has come under fire after sending a press release to top British firms informing them that operating in the West Bank and East Jerusalem makes them complicit in “Israeli war crimes,” The Jewish Chronicle reported [1] Wednesday.

Along with the press release, the London-based branch of Amnesty sent copies of a report titled “Think Twice: Can companies do business with the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories while respecting human rights?” to all chief executives of companies featured in Britain’s top financial indexes.

“It’s very simple,” said Peter Frankental, Amnesty International UK’s Economic Affairs Programme Director, “if you’re a company operating in or doing business with the settlements, then you’re involved in systematic injustice, discrimination and other human rights violations perpetrated by the state of Israel against Palestinians.”

Frankental continued: “Any involvement in the deeply exploitative settlement enterprise is bad for the Palestinian people and bad for your company, whose reputation may be tarnished for years to come.”

He also cautioned business that “any profits made by a company via the settlements come at the cost of systematically violating the rights of thousands of Palestinian people.”

Several Jewish groups reacted with anger to Amnesty’s position. Jewish Leadership Council Chief Executive Simon Johnson said he hoped the company bosses would “discard” the report. He said Amnesty “has no credibility on this issue.”

“We will not forget how Amnesty recently left Jews out of its work on racism and refused to allow the Jewish Leadership Council to host an event at its offices,” Johnson added.

“All the time that they have been criticising Israel, their International secretariat in London has been found to have a culture of widespread bullying, public humiliation, discrimination and other abuses of power. Leading British companies need not take lectures from Amnesty,” he stressed.

Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, observed: “Again, Amnesty International has singled out Israel. The organisation has a long record of double standards on this conflict.”

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