The head of Human Rights Watch has been accused of offering “excuses” for antisemitism.
Kenneth Roth, the executive director of the charity, caused anger this week after sharing an article about the spike of Jew-hate in the UK during the recent war between Israel and Gaza.
The Community Security Trust reported that May was the worst month on record for antisemitism, with 628 incidents recorded, including 585 involving language, imagery or behaviour linked to Israel and Gaza.
Roth said on Twitter: “Antisemitism is always wrong, and it long preceded the creation of Israel, but the surge in UK antisemitic incidents during the recent Gaza conflict gives the lie to those who pretend that the Israeli government’s conduct doesn’t affect antisemitism.”
Following criticism of his tweets, including claims he was condoning antisemitism linked to Israel-Palestine, he responded: “Interesting how many people pretend that this tweet justifies antisemitism (it doesn’t and I don’t under any circumstances) rather than address the correlation noted in the Haaretz article between recent Israeli government conduct in Gaza and the rise of UK antisemitic incidents.”
On Tuesday, after the backlash he said: “I deleted an earlier tweet because people misinterpreted its wording”.
Mark Gardener of the Community Security Trust said: “Kenneth Roth’s tweet is a typical example of how Israel, Jews and antisemitism appear to be treated differently to other types of racism. In particular, excuses and supposed reasons are offered for antisemitism that would be held socially and politically unacceptable for other forms of racism and their superficial triggers.”
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