Has Amnesty International Lost The Plot?

By Rolene Marks

Amnesty International, used to enjoy a pristine reputation as one of the foremost non-governmental organisations that was at the vanguard of ensuring the rights of the truly oppressed. They raised a proud voice to free icons like Mandela, release prisoners of war and brought human rights to the global consciousness in a noble and erudite manner. They were feted by celebrities who brought social justice to rock concerts, admired by many and set the benchmark for activism.

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Losing Its Way. Amnesty International was founded in 1961 by Peter Benenson, a Jewish British lawyer and human rights activist . As a youth, one of his earliest human rights campaigns was collecting £4,000 from friends and family to bring two young Jews to Britain from Nazi Germany in 1939. One wonders what he would think of his organization’s actions today!

Lately it would appear that this once venerated organization has become a poor excuse of what it once was and has decidedly lost the plot by disproportionately focusing on the Jewish State.

The latest attempt at trying to de-legitimise the Jewish state is the launching of a campaign that targets major travel websites to boycott listing Jewish-owned homes and businesses in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The NGO has released a report called “Destination Occupation” where they claim that Israel has built a significant “settlement tourism industry” which has helped “sustain and expand” communities beyond the 1967 lines.

Amnesty International have online giants Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor firmly in their sites and accuse them of “fueling human rights violations against Palestinians” in East Jerusalem and the West Bank by promoting Jewish-owned properties and activities there.

It does not stop there.

The report greatly diminishes both Jewish and Christian spiritual connections to historical sites in both areas. Amnesty International accuse Israel of using archaeology “to make the link between the modern State of Israel and its Jewish history explicit,” while “rewriting of history [which] has the effect of minimizing the Palestinian people’s own historic links to the region.” These claims come despite antiquity that supports ancient ties to the land.

Amnesty International would rather have you believe that instead of finding antiquity that is thousands of years old and supports Jewish claims and presence to the land of Israel, it is a ploy to build neighbourhoods in the West Bank. The report goes on to say, “Israel has constructed many of its settlements close to archeological sites…[as] part of an active campaign to normalize and legitimize Israel’s increasing control of [occupied] Palestinian territory.”

Airbnb Talks With Forked Tongue. Although it says it opposes BDS, Airbnb is still boycotting settlements on the West Bank.

Targeting Israel

With all the other conflicts in the world, including the civil war in Syria that has resulted in genocide, it does beg the question, why is Amnesty International so fixated on Israel?

It could be said that there may be more nefarious intentions. Is Amnesty International giving a tailwind to the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) movement who by their own admission, advocate for a “Palestine that is free from the river to the sea,” in other words – no Israel? For a “movement” that purports to be human rights driven, this is more like hate-mongering drivel.

This latest Amnesty International report calls for travel websites to boycott only Israeli homes and businesses in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  This is unacceptable and plays into the hands of BDS whose goals are anti-Semitic.

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The ban applies a double standard exclusively to Jewish-owned properties there – twice:

First, it calls for travel companies to remove the properties from their services, while it has never promoted similar bans for every other disputed territory in the world – from Northern Cyprus, Western Sahara and Tibet to Kashmir, Crimea and Gibraltar.

 Second, it treats listings offered by Jews differently than those from Palestinians – despite being in the same area. This violates Israeli law which states that there can be no discrimination based on location of homes of business according to where you live.

Human Rights Watch, another NGO who spearheaded the campaign to coerce Airbnb to delist properties, found out the hard way that when it comes to discriminating against Israel that there are those who are willing to play hardball. No sooner had the Airbnb ban been announced, four attorneys filed a class action suit against the company in the Jerusalem District Court to protest the US-based company’s decision to drop listings in West Bank settlements from its vacation rental website that hosts adverts from 191 countries. The case is based on a 2000 law against discrimination in products and services, which was amended in 2017 to include places of residence.

The law in Israel forbids discrimination based on the place where you live, and what Airbnb has done is by all means discrimination based on the place where you live,” said attorney Aviel Flint, a partner in the law firm Yossi Levy & Co.

This could also likely apply to the other targeted companies who may not want to test the boycott waters. NGO Monitor, who monitors the activities of these types of organisations, exposed the flaws and anti-Semitic intentions of Human Rights Watch in this report.


Amnesty International may be on the same trajectory to being exposed for its anti-Semitic intentions by expanding to include other travel juggernauts, TripAdvisor, Bookings.com and Expedia.

   Despite its earned reputation as a respected human rights organization, Amnesty International has a documented history of discrimination regarding Israel. Examples include its 2015 rejection of a “Campaign against anti-Semitism in the UK” – the only proposed resolution at its Annual General Meeting that was not adopted; comments by its current Secretary General that Israel is a “government that is rogue” and the head of its Finland branch that Israel is a “scum state”; and the fact that no other country in a conflict zone is the focus of similar Amnesty-led boycotts.

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The Hypocrisy Of Airbnb’s West Bank Ban. The company is selectively applying its rules when it comes to Israel and, in the process, undermining its own values.

Boycott Over Bridges

Amnesty International’s call for a boycott against Jewish-owned homes and businesses in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is the antithesis of what the objectives of a human rights organisation should be. The report endorses boycott over bridges, conflict over discourse and instead of promoting peace and economic partnerships between Palestinians and Israelis, Amnesty chooses to scupper any attempts at normalisation.

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But Amnesty International may be in for a rude shock. This plan also violates US based anti-boycott laws and this once venerable organization could find itself sanctioned and its funding cut. It would appear that when it comes to human rights and being a voice for the oppressed and persecuted, Amnesty International has chosen to take the path of conflict and discrimination.

Clearly Amnesty International has lost the plot. A sad trajectory for this once noble organization.image012 (12).jpg


Flush with Success

When Nature Calls – Israel’s P-Pass will tell you where to go ‘under pressure’!

By David E. Kaplan

When you gotta go; you gotta go!”

We’ve all been in this ‘pressing’ situation when nature calls in a town or city in which you are unacquainted with its lavatorial layout.

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Under Pressure. The awkward trail to finding a loo quickly – an all too familiar experience.

Israel, the Startup Nation that is globally recognized as quick to recognise problems in the world and offer solutions have done so again.

Whether you are in New York, London, Tokyo or Johannesburg what could be more important that knowing – when that familiar pressure builds up – where to take a leak.

The country that gave the world WAZE – the Israeli  GPS navigation software app that informs drivers of motor vehicles on smartphones and tablet computers on best travel times and route details, have now come up with P-pass  – a toilet service developed by Israeli students that tells you –  ‘where to go, when you gotta go.’

This will come as a great ‘relief’ for those whose bladders are bursting.

It’s all evolving in Tel Aviv with its enviable reputation as  “The city that never sleeps” – and therefore has to provide urinals that need to be on active service 24-hours a day.

In a current trial period, tourists and locals in Tel Aviv are using P-Pass where by just a click of a button, finding where to pee is so much easier.

The P-pass bathroom-finding service also informs users which businesses and eateries are open to those who suddenly need to relieve their bladder.p

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Calling Card. “Thank G-d for my P-Pass,” says this relieved Tel Avivian.

Innovation is about solving real problems and we found not knowing where to pee to be a major issue,” 31 year-old Tal Elharar, a female and one of the student-entrepreneurs behind the P-pass service told NoCamels.com – a leading news website covering breakthrough innovation from Israel based at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.

Everyone has to go,” says Elharar. “When you’re a tourist, you don’t always want to go into a restaurant or business and ask to use the bathroom. Or, you feel you need to buy something that you don’t really want just so that you can go to the bathroom.”

Partnering Elharar are her fellow MA students in Design, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at the College of Management Academic Studies in Rishon Lezion – Ariel Rozenberg, Tal Leibushor-Dahan and Shlomit Joy-Goren.

The P-pass mission, says Elharar, “is to provide quick and easy toilet access to users and potential profit to retailers, transforming it from a usually awkward activity to social responsibility.”

In the same way as consumers in shops usually end up buying more than they planned, toilet uses passing through a shop or restaurant may well broaden their original horizon.

Going to “do my business” may translate into actual “business”!

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No Kidding. If children need to go, parents need to find a place and quickly.

I’Loo’minating The Way

The P-Pass gives new meaning to the term “peebrain”. These Smart students hit on the “pee patrol” concept as tourists in Europe. “Finding a place to visit the lady’s room in a foreign city became a time-consuming mission when there was no reason it needed to be,” said Elharar.

In January 2019, the P-pass entrepreneurs ran their first pilot of the service in the Carmel Market and Jaffa Flea Market areas of Tel Aviv.

Tourists paid $1 for the four-day trial that afforded them a “reward card to pee wherever they wanted” at any of the participating 30 businesses that collaborated with P-pass, Elharar told NoCamels. “We proved that there is a real need to know where to go when you gotta go and that people are even willing to pay for that convenience.”

Gearing up to launch a second pilot in March, the innovative foursome want to be ready for the 64th Eurovision Song Contest which will be held in Tel Aviv in May, when the lines to toilets could could be at bursting point. After all, some 20,000 visitors are expected to crowd Tel Aviv for this year’s international song competition.

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Gladder Bladders

Elharar says where better to initiate the service than in Tel Aviv. “We aim to make the world a better place in answering the call everyone needs answered.”

The Fab Four are graduating soon and “we’re meeting with investors. Tel Aviv is just the beginning; we’re planning on expanding our service and App to all major European cities starting with London, Amsterdam, and Budapest,” she says.

If all goes as planned, the app will eventually offer premium services that will inform folk on the prowl with pressing needs, where the cleanest toilets are and where to find three-ply softness.

As always, Israel “aims” to please!



Seinfeld – Magnificent facilities