The New Republic’s editor in chief, Martin Peretz, renders his opinions on the Finnish Amnesty “Scum-Gate” affair, with the press release from the Zionist Federation of Great Britain following at the bottom. KGS
Actually, almost no one should be surprised that a member in high standing of the “human rights internationale” and a Scandinavian besides resorts to such scummy language when talking about Israel. The London headquarters of the world-wide organization seemed to be in a panic, as reported by Benjamin Weinthal in yesterday’s Jerusalem Post. AI’s spokesperson took umbrage at the criticisms and said that the culprit, Frank Johnansson, had only said that Israel was a “creep state,” as if that were much of an improvement.
In any case, Finnish experts said that the “highly derogatory term” is most often translated as “scum” or “scum bag” or “douche bag.” Oh, how the human rights internationale contributes to a better world. By the way, Johansson relies on extraordinary evidence for his views. His opinions are “based on my own visits, which occurred during the 1970s and for the last time in the 1990s.”
This news from the pretentious and portentous NGO establishment came on the same day that Tony Blair, coordinator of the Quartet’s efforts at peacemaking, denounced the “delegitimization of Israel” as an “affront to humanity.” This speech was reported by Herb Keinon in the same issue of the same newspaper.
You know exactly what he means by this affront. And the affront filters down to the American press and the British press, in which there are blogsters (including, alas, former editors of this magazine) who have been seized by the putative evil that Israel does. If you think that I am fixated on Israel please consider that it is only in response to the idée fixe of a whole commando squad of fashionable and mostly, but not all, ignorant writers about the Jewish state. Let me assure that, however inadequate their knowledge of Israel and the Jews, they are far more ignorant of Palestine and the Arabs of Palestine. Still, ignorance does not stop them from issuing moral dicta. Take, for example, Nicholas Kristof. But in what else does Kristof deal than such dicta?
But let me give you an example. The hysteria that followed the flotilla confrontation on the Mediterranean -in which nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed- has now resulted in two, yes two, probes by the United Nations. Israel is cooperating with one of these. The other (the one that is being conducted by the Israel-obsessed and Israel-possessed U.N. Human Rights Council) expends almost all its efforts on the conflict. It is as if truly ghoulish and unprovoked atrocities are not being carried out by Arabs and Muslims, both in power and out, every day in at least half the world. It is as if the lives of these victims of fierce and religiously sanctioned hatred are worth nothing.
To: Salil Shetty , Secretary General, Amnesty International
25th August 2010
Dear Mr Shetty,
I am writing on behalf of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland to express our outrage at the comments of Frank Johansson, the head of Amnesty Finland , who branded Israel a “scum state,” as reported in the Jerusalem Post.
Writing in his blog, Johansson wrote on Monday that “a friend of mine who works in Israel was visiting [and] while piling wood in the shed, we got to [talking about] his favourite topic. [After] several years of residence in the Holy Land, he has come to the conclusion that ‘ Israel is a scum state.’ Based on my own visit[s], which occurred during the 1970s and for the last time in the 1990s, I agree.”
The precise phrase that he used is apparently a highly derogatory term in Finnish, and is frequently translated as “scum,” “scum bag” or “douche bag.” The blog clearly provides readers with Johansson’s title, “director of the Finnish branch of Amnesty International”, thus associating his deplorable comments with Amnesty. For him to claim that this is a personal view is not acceptable. It is no less appalling whether he said it in his official capacity or otherwise. That Amnesty is represented by someone with such a view is disgraceful.
Quite apart from openly displaying prejudice against the world’s only Jewish state, Johansson’s statement is at odds with the facts. Newsweek this week rated Israel the 22nd best country in the world, and the best in the Middle East . A recently released Gallup poll published in Forbes magazine contended that Israel is the world’s eighth happiest country.
We call on you to condemn Johansson’s statement, and to freeze links to Amnesty Finland until Johansson resigns. We further call on you to end all of Amnesty’s actions in demonising Israel .
Director of Public Affairs
Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland