WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement joining the international backlash in response to a report issued by Amnesty International in which it accuses the state of Israel of the crime of apartheid:
“I am deeply disturbed by Amnesty International’s report calling Israel an ‘apartheid state’. This outrageous accusation belies history, facts, and common sense. Israel remains the only democracy in a region of autocrats, and human rights abusers; one that values human rights, individual liberty and where protest, dissent and civil society are vibrant. By identifying Israel’s very establishment as the foundation for this accusation, Amnesty International has joined a growing chorus of vicious voices intent on denying Israel’s right to exist through slander, misinformation, and ignoring that both Israelis and Palestinians are responsible for their own fates.
“The report ascribes little agency to the Palestinian people or responsibility on their leaders, who have consistently failed to deliver any kind of meaningful economic, political, or civil reforms that could truly improve the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis. Meanwhile, the current coalition government of Israel in fact includes an Arab party.
“Like any democracy, Israel may not be perfect, but it has the political structure in place to constantly force self-evaluation, reflect, and improve society.
“I am deeply disappointed that Amnesty is adding fuel to the disproportionate attention international organizations and institutions pay towards Israel. While countries around the world commit mass atrocities, starve and barrel bomb their own citizens and threaten war against their neighbors, the obsessive attention towards Israel is truly confounding.
“Finally, this report diminishes the very real Apartheid that brutalized black South Africans for decades and does a great disservice to the pursuit of true equality and progress under the law.”