Humanitarian organisations such as Amnesty International and Oxfam are to be declared “antisemitic” by the Trump administration in the coming days, according to US reports.
News site Politico detailed on Wednesday how organisations such as Human Rights Watch may also be caught up in the declaration, which is being pushed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, just days before the US election.
All three have criticised Israeli action in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, much to the chagrin of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Now Pompeo is targeting them to win favour with pro-Israel groups in the US.
The report is being traced to a congressional aide and if true would trigger a string of lawsuits from the organisations in question, to demonstrate in court that they criticise other perceived human rights violators as well.
Such a declaration, if made, would withdraw all US cooperation and support to the groups, including financially, and urge other states to do the same.
Lawyers in Pompeo’s own State Department are believed to have warned him against such an action, saying the organisations’ criticism of Israel is constitutionally protected free speech, but Politico’s sources said Pompeo is nevertheless pushing on.
The initiative is believed to involve Elan Carr, the US special envoy on antisemitism, who is planning to cite the NGOs’ alleged or perceived support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and their input into a UN database of businesses operating in West Bank settlements.
Amnesty said allegations of antisemitism were “baseless”, adding: “We look forward to addressing the State Department’s attacks in full.” Oxfam said it was “offensive” and reiterated that it did not advocate boycotting any country, while Human Rights Watch said: “Criticising government policy is not the same as attacking a specific group of people.”
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