The Corner

Amnesty International Official Calls Israel a ‘Scum State’

On Monday the head of Finland’s branch of Amnesty International, Frank Johansson, termed Israel a “scum state.” Writing in his blog, which appears on the Web site of Iltalehti, one of Finland’s largest newspapers, he based his characterization of Israel on his “own visit[s], which occurred during the 1970s and for the last time in the 1990s.” Johansson further justified his rhetoric toward Israel because he has previously invoked strong language against former Pres. George Bush on Finnish TV. He called Mr. Bush “the biggest executioner in the Western Hemisphere.”

Turning Israel and the United States into whipping boys is hardly new territory among human-rights NGOs, but now a high-level official of AI has exposed his pathological obsession with rejecting Western democratic values. His biological language mirrors that of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who calls Israel a “cancer” that needs to be “removed.”

Once Johansson was caught with both hands deep in the anti-Semitic cookie jar, he offered the defense that “I am writing those [blogs] in my capacity as a private person, not as an Amnesty official.” However, on Iltalehti’s Web site, his title as “director of the Finnish branch of Amnesty International” appears above his blog.

Human-rights organizations such as the London-based Amnesty International and the U.S. Human Rights Watch have long developed a cottage industry of playing down repression of human rights in the Islamic world while devoting the bulk of their resources, energies, and personnel to soft targets such as Israel’s democracy. All of this helps to explain why Gita Sahgal, the former head of Amnesty International’s gender unit, deemed Amnesty’s leadership to be plagued by “ideological bankruptcy” and “misogyny.” Sahgal criticized Amnesty for giving a platform to Moazzam Begg, a leading advocate of the Taliban in the United Kingdom and former Guantánamo Bay prisoner. Sahgal was dismissed this past year for blowing the whistle on Amnesty’s alliance with radical Islam and haters of women.

It is a world beyond madness: Human rights animated by anti-Semitism and Taliban slaughterers of women.

—Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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