Citing two people familiar with the matter, Politico reported Wednesday that US President Donald Trump’s administration is considering declaring several international NGOs, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam, as anti-Semitic.
The declaration could be announced by the State Department as soon as this week. A congressional aide with connections inside the State Department also told the outlet that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has supported the declaration, as he considers a presidential run and looks to gain the approval of pro-Israel and evangelical voters.
Such a declaration would highlight the Trump administration’s aversion to criticizing Israel in any way, Iversen and Davies, author of "Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq," told Radio Sputnik.
“It all seems to boil down to not criticizing or putting any pressure on Israel to change its behavior, to instead allow other people to look the other way and let them do what they are going to do,” Iversen told hosts Michelle Witte and Bob Schlehuber.
“Essentially, the US has completely ignored the laws of armed conflict going back decades. But since the neocons took over and the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, essentially the UN Charter might as well not have been written, as far as the US is concerned,” Davies explained.
“Under the Trump administration, there has been this sort of diplomatic offensive against the International Criminal Court, and now, as you say, against groups like Amnesty International … or anybody anywhere who actually tries to uphold and stand up for and hold anybody accountable under international law.”
“Under Trump, I think we can say that the mask has come off, and the astonishing thing is that the US can still have the gall to stand up in international fora like the UN and claim to be enforcing a rules-based international order, because it is the US that has completely trashed the rules-based international order - withdrawing from treaties, refusing to join new ones and just completely ignoring its own commitment under treaties it has already signed and ratified,” Davies added.
Although Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam do not all officially support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, they have been critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and its settlement policies. The BDS movement calls on Israel to end its occupation of Palestine and urges organizations and countries to place nonviolent pressure on Israel to comply with international law and end its military occupation of Israel. The BDS movement promotes boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel to pressure Israel to end its colonization.
Officials with all three organizations told Politico they are unaware of the potential declaration, with Bob Goodfellow, Amnesty International USA’s (AIUSA) interim executive director, calling the anti-Semitism allegations “baseless.”
“AIUSA is deeply committed to fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of hate worldwide, and will continue to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied. We vigorously contest any allegation of anti-Semitism, and look forward to addressing the State Department’s attacks in full,” he told Politico.
Noah Gottschalk, Oxfam America’s global policy lead, also denied the allegations.
“Oxfam does not support BDS or call for the boycott of Israel or any other country,” Gottschalk said.
“Oxfam and our Israeli and Palestinian partners have worked on the ground for decades to promote human rights and provide lifesaving support for Israeli and Palestinian communities. We stand by our long history of work protecting the lives, human rights, and futures of all Israelis and Palestinians,” he added.
Similarly, Human Rights Watch official Eric Goldstein reaffirmed the organization’s stance on anti-Semitism.
“We fight discrimination in all forms, including anti-Semitism. Criticizing government policy is not the same as attacking a specific group of people. For example, our critiques of US government policy do not make us anti-American,” Goldstein said in a statement to Politico.
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