Amnesty International’s complicity in extremism: The NGO to host upcoming pro-Islamist event, which includes former Guardian editor

What is it about Amnesty International UK which makes it repeatedly engage in self-destructive behavior? After the very public and widespread criticism which the organisation brought upon itself by partnering with ‘Cageprisoners’, one would have hoped that lessons would have been learned. Apparently that is not the case for, as shown above, Amnesty International UK is permitting some of Britain’s more off-the-wall Israel haters to congregate on its premises next month for an otiose exercise in self-gratifying rhetoric.

We do not need to dust off our crystal balls in order to predict what will be the answer to the’ question’ “Does the Media aid Israel?”. The very nature of the organising bodies and invited speakers guarantees only one possible outcome to the so-called debate.  

Chairing the event is the Guardian’s former associate foreign editor, Victoria Brittain; she of I didn’t notice that thousands of pounds had been deposited in my bank account” fame. Ms Brittain does a nice line in Israel defamation herself, of course, when not advocating BDS in her role as patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) or ghost-writing the biography of the head of ‘Cageprisoners’, of which she is also a patron (what a coincidence!).

Next on the panel we have Tim Llewellyn, the former BBC Middle East correspondent who has sat on the executive board of the lobbying group CAABU – Council for Arab-British Understanding – which is financed by assorted Arab governments and is involved with the Arab British Centre.  For many years now Llewellyn has been attempting to advance the idea, not least in the Guardian, that the BBC is tainted by pro-Israel bias. He is also a keen advocate for Hamas and Hizbollah, believing that Zionism is a “calamity”, and occasional writer of  Guardian obituaries for terrorists.

How does Llewellyn account for this supposed BBC bias? Well it appears to have something to do with Tony Blair’s choice of (affluent, of course) friends:

“The Blair vision of the Middle East – that the Americans have all the answers, but need a little gentle coaxing from Whitehall, that the Israelis are victims of terror, and “terror” is our main universal enemy, that the Palestinians are their own worst enemies and must do what they are told – will have been sensed at the BBC and passed on down the line.

It is no secret that Blair is very close to Israel. His old crony and party financier, Lord Levy, has been rewarded with the post of special adviser on Middle East matters. Lord Levy is a peer who has close contacts with Israel and a multi-million pound villa near Tel Aviv – his son Daniel Levy worked in the office of Israel’s former Justice Minister, Yossi Beilin. The first stress in any New Labour comment on the Palestine-Israel crisis is always on Israeli security or on “terror”, that easy bête noir of the modern politician (the BBC has uncritically accepted “The War on Terror” as a phrase with meaning).”

Llewellyn has worked closely with another panel member, Greg Philo – a Professor at the University of Glasgow who has co-written two books on the subject of supposed pro-Israel media bias as well in the Guardian.

The fourth panel member is editor in chief of the Al Quds al Arabi newspaper – set up by Palestinian ex-pats – Abdel Bari Atwan, who also writes an occasional column for CiF.  Atwan is well-known for his egregious remarks on various Israel-related subjects, not least his statement that he would “dance in Trafalgar Square” if Israel were ever hit by Iranian nuclear weapons.

If Amnesty International officials think that they will be advancing human rights by hosting Atwan on their premises, they may care to consider his behaviour at a public meeting at the London School of Economics a few months ago, after which the police began an investigation following complaints of antisemitism.

“Raheem Kassam, the Muslim director of Student Rights, said: “These are truly cowardly, bullying tactics which have no place in an academic environment. He (Atwan) must be held to account for creating the conditions on campus whereby audience members see fit to call Jewish students ‘Nazis’.”

None of this should come as a surprise to anyone with even a passing familiarity with MEMO – aka Middle East Monitor – the co-organiser of this event along with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Ten minutes on Google should have been enough to persuade Amnesty International that these are not human rights activists, but seasoned political campaigners, some of whom have associations with terror organisations and political and religious fanatics.

Daoud Abdullah, who is the director of MEMO as well as deputy secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and a senior researcher for the Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Palestinian Return Centre, has two major claims to fame. The first is his lead of the MCB’s boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK. The second is his signing of the Istanbul Declaration which potentially endorsed terrorism against British service personnel.

Senior editor of MEMO is Ibrahim Hewitt, who also heads ‘Interpal’ – the charity which has been the subject of three investigations by the Charity Commission and named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial in the United States, as well as having been banned in Israel because of its Hamas connections.

MEMO’s press officer, Hanan Chehata, took part in a ‘Viva Palestina’ convoy to Gaza, its staff writer Renee Boyer was spokesperson for ‘Free Gaza’ – organiser of pointless flotillas to Gaza- in 2008/9 and its analyst Samira Quraishy is also a researcher for the Khomenist pretend human rights organisation known as the Islamic Human Rights Commission.

MEMO’s honorary advisors include Dr. Salman Abu Sitta – a leading figure in the Al Awda‘ movement which advocates ‘return’ to Israel for millions of descendents of Palestinian refugees with the aim of eradicating the Jewish state.

Two of MEMO’s advisors sit in the House of Lords: Lord Nazir Ahmed , who opposed the presentation of a knighthood to the author Salman Rushdie and hosted a book-launch for the renowned antisemite ‘Israel Shamir’, and Baroness Jenny Tonge, who is also a patron of the PSC and the Muslim Brotherhood-linked ‘ European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’, as well as someone who understands’ suicide bombers and promoted libels regarding fictional Israeli organ-stealing operations in Haiti.  

Other honorary advisors are Dr. Maria Holt of Westminster University – who has no qualms about appearing on Hizbollah’s Al Manar television channel, former Catholic priest Oliver McTernan, founder of Forward Thinking which seems to advocate engagement with terrorists, and last but not least, Muslim Brotherhood linked Oxford academic Tariq Ramadan.

For now, Amnesty International appears to have been intent upon squandering its good reputation for the sake of political designs and its self-harm only seems to get worse as time goes on.  With its credibility already in tatters, the time is long overdue for Amnesty to decide whether it aspires to be part of the solution on the subject of human rights crises and abuses around the world or not.

If it does, it must begin by immediately cancelling its hosting of this MEMO/PSC event which is engineered by people with obvious practical connections to – and ideological sympathies with – some of the world’s worst human-rights abusing regimes and some particularly prominent racists.

Otherwise, Amnesty International will rapidly confirm the growing suspicions of many that it is in fact part of the problem.

27 replies »

  1. “Two of MEMO’s advisors sit in the House of Lords: Lord Nazir Ahmed , who opposed the presentation of a knighthood to the author Salman Rushdieand for the renowned antisemite ‘Israel Shamir’, and Baroness Jenny Tonge, who is also a patron of the PSC and the Muslim Brotherhood-linked ‘ European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’”

    editing required 🙂

  2. Thanks for telling me that Greg Philo has written another book about media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict; I’ve just ordered a copy. The first one, ‘Bad News from Israel’ uses open and objective analysis of BBC News content and viewer responses over the period of the second intifada to demonstrate consistant pro-Israeli bias. It’s not good enough to use ad hominem arguments of the “he would say that wouldn’t he?” sort. If you are claiming that Philo’s findings are wrong I’m afraid you will have to read what he says and offer a reasoned criticism. Precious little of that on CiF Watch; instead we see endless personal abuse.

  3. There has been media complicity in oppression aplenty.

    How about Jeremy Bowen’s chumming with Hamas and now Gaddafi?

    Yvonne Ridley & Galloway working for Iranian state TV?

    The almost complete silence over Arab dictators, the often murderous oppression of Christians throughout Arabworld, of anyone who isn’t a Sunni Muzzie in Pakistan.

    The UK media is indeed mired in shame to its neck.

  4. guardian reader

    Philo is associated with the Glasgow University Media Group, notorious throughout academia for being so far left it meets itself coming round. Philo cherrypicks the bits of info he needs to produce his vicious rants but thankfully nobody takes his methodology seriously.

  5. Dear Geary
    Your thoughts follow the same pattern as so much of GiF Watch: ad hominem abuse. OK, so most people won’t bother reading Philo in order to make a reasoned critique. I’d settle for references to negative reviews from his academic peers. A quick google produces nothing but positive reviews. The best I turned up on the negative side was from the Jerusalem Post: “A modest study conducted by an unknown academic”. Do you see any sign of reason there?
    guardian reader

  6. In 2004, at the launch of Glasgow University Media Group, “Bad News from Israel,” (Part 1…), the balanced and measured Llewelllyn had this to say about Jews – oops – llizards – oops – wizards:

    “The Israelis appear in studios wearing suits. They’ve learned all sorts of tricks. They are wizards at communication; they speak 10 different sorts of English, from American to South African to Canadian.” Good English, he suggested, played better with the presenters than “a Palestinian speaking down a crackly phone-line from dusty Ramallah.” He added that the tone of complaints against those giving the Palestinian viewpoint was “vituperative, pestering and controlling.”

    The man festers with Jew fever – he continued with this;
    “What a lovely Anglo-Saxon name! But Denis Ross is not just a Jew, he is a Zionist, a long-time Zionist… and now directs an Israeli-funded think tank in Washington. He is a Zionist propagandist.”

  7. Guardian reader

    Reviews like this you mean?

    A book by a Glasgow Univ. team analyzing British coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict from late 2000 to the spring of 2002 “makes the scientifically based case that the main news and current affairs programs — with the rare exception, usually on Channel 4 — are failing to tell us the real story and the reasons behind it,” writes Tim Llewellyn, who covered the Middle East for the BBC for 10 years.

    Writes who?

    Yes, Tim Llewellyn

    For the other side of the story – that of anti-Israel bias, go to the website “Honest Reporting” or settle down for some alarming reading of this:

    Never heard of the al-Durrah affair? How do you explain the “pro-Israel” media’s unquestioning swallowing of all that?

  8. The fourth panel member is editor in chief of the Al Quds al Arabi newspaper – set up by Palestinian ex-pats – Abdel Bari Atwan, who also writes an occasional column for CiF. Atwan is well-known for his egregious remarks on various Israel-related subjects, not least his statement that he would “dance in Trafalgar Square” if Israel were ever hit by Iranian nuclear weapons.

    Oh yes. Bari Atwan. That clown is constantly on ‘Dateline’ and, in my opinion, embarrasses the other panel members, even the ‘Fair and Balanced’ Plooy Tonbee, with his oh so very expected rants against, The US, The UK, Israel, Neocons etc etc etc.

    Here he is telling us what a rank liar Arafat was and telling it in such a way that you can see that he really admires Arafat’s lying.

  9. AI transformed itself into an ideological cult, losing all credibility along the way. Their members are the new Gnostics, a sect of self-appointed illuminati, aka “transies” (transnational progressives) hectoring us, ignorant savages, from their privileged moral high ground.

    Sad, deplorable and dangerous.

  10. I do not think it is appropriate for CiF Watch posts to carry the term ‘Muzzie’, anymore than it would be for a poster to use the term ‘Yid’, and I am appalled that Geary uses this term in his/her post above as if it was accceptable terminology for CiF posts.

  11. Guardian headline: Gaddafi arms Libyan ‘home guard’ – minimum age 17.
    I wonder where were these headlines when Hamas was using child soldiers during Cast Lead. Even the notorious PCHR admitted to the use of child soldiers by Hamas.
    PCHR Names of seven child combatants killed during ‘Operation Cast Lead’
    In addition to the 313 children who lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces, seven Palestinia­n child combatants were also killed. PCHR has consistent­ly condemned the recruitmen­t and use of children for armed combat and demands that all armed Palestinia­n groups cease this abuse of children.

    By the way International law says non-state actors and guerrilla forces are forbidden from recruiting anyone under the age of 18 for any purpose.
    In the Goldstone report not a single word condemning or even acknowledging Hamas using child soldiers even though the numbers the commission based its report on from PCHR and btselem both acknowledge the use of under aged fighters.
    Some fact were chosen to be left out by Goldstone.

  12. Alex, Also ask what uniform did hamass “militants” wear to disgtinguish themselves from REAL CIVILIANS.

    As you know, hamss and hezbullah “militants” wear CIVILIAN clothing, NOT a recognized uniform.

    So the tears over the deaths of hamass “civilians” are really tears over dead islamofascist swine terrorists.

  13. Greg, thanks, but you left out Jenny Tonge’s seedy involvement in Sabeel, the Palestinian Christian revisionist theology cabal which is trying its best to rewrite biblical history so as to sever the Jews from their own country.

    Richard Tebboth, are you quite mad? So AI promotes human rights “in general” does it? That’s rather like being a little bit pregnant, or trying to argue that because Hitler liked animals he was really an OK guy. What use is AI’s “general” promotion of human rights if it routinely lies and is deceitful and selective in what it supports and what it ignores?

    And aren’t you in the least ashamed that there should NEED to be people in the audience to present the Israeli/Jewish point of view, and that not one of the listed speakers is either capable of or inclined towards doing so?

  14. Complicity in Oppression: Does the Media aid islamofascism?


    – Der Guardian
    – BBC (funded by MANDATORY “license fees” – unable to stand on its own merits)
    – presstv – the Voice of World-Wide Islamofascism

  15. This is a joke. The Palestinians own the media BBC, the Guardian, Fox, CNN – all of them. You can’t operate in Gaza or the WB without their tacit approval.

    They just throw you out. Hamas has been busy rounding up journalists and deporting NGOs that don’t tow their line. Virtually all of the big-named journalists sleep safely in a 5-star ISRAELI hotel, while stringers and freelancers feed information to the “legitimate” journalist in Israel.

    And BBCwatch has published an extensive study showing not only is BBC biased against Israel, it is biased in favor of the Arab states.

    Israel is subject to 15% of all news. ALL NEWS. Not just Middle East news.

    Meanwhile the Sudanese conflict gains only 4% of news. And almost 20% of all pictures posted on BBC headlines are based on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    These rights groups are hungry for attention. The conflict is slowing down under the new strong Israeli government. They want to promote more incitement, it is their only way to get funding and attention.

  16. Richard, every time “the occupation” is mentioned it excuses Palestinian terrorism. How many “Friends of Israel” don’t use the phrase “the occupation”?

  17. moshe,

    “I do not think it is appropriate for CiF Watch posts to carry the term ‘Muzzie’,…”

    In an article body, I’d agree, but in the comments?! Looks like churchladiness is contagious.

    I don’t know what the mods’ standards on comments are, but it’s universally held that a respectable website isn’t rendered disreputable because of its comments–only the article body truly reflects the tone and manner of a website.

  18. “Looks like churchladiness is contagious.” ziontruth

    LOL. Indeed, just like the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (aka mad-cow disease): it´s spreads and destroys people´s brains.

  19. Tebboth, you are being disingenuous and downright dishonest. We are not talking are we of straightforward “representation” of Palestinian views? No, we are talking of outright lies, peddled to willing audiences of haters, where Israel is excoriated one-sidedly and often over emotionally. And don’t forget that this excoriation serves only to bed in the hatred which may then result in violence against Israelis and Jews, because many who follow that path don’t care to distinguish between the two.

    The meetings convened to put forward Israel’s point of view address that, and their speakers do not engage in mouth-frothing, hate-filled anti Palestinian rhetoric.

    I am an avowed friend of Israel, and yet at the same time I want the Palestinians to have their own state, but not, I stress, at the expense of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. I believe you will find that many of Israel’s friends agree with me. How many pro-Palestinians, (other than the vapid Quakers who don’t have an original idea between them but bleat about “peace” as if it can be pulled magically out of thin air without any attempt at working for it by Palestinian governments), would be prepared to declare the same?

    If you can point me to any links where they do, I’d be obliged.

  20. The fourth speaker, Abdel Bari Atwan, said:

    “If the Iranian missiles strike Israel – by Allah, I will go to Trafalgar Square, and dance with delight if the Iranian missiles strike Israel.”

    It’s good to know what kind of speakers will be addressing this meeting.