Friday, February 27, 2009

All the news that's fit to print about Amnesty International's call for arms embargo on Israel

On Monday this week, I was listening to one of the BBC world service's hourly news broadcasts, and the top story was this one:
Amnesty International has called for a freeze on arms sales to Israel and Palestinian groups such as Hamas following the recent Gaza conflict.

The human rights group said it had evidence both Israel and Hamas had used weapons sourced from overseas to carry out attacks on civilians.

It called for the UN Security Council to impose the embargo on all parties.

Amnesty International is a pretty well-known and well-respected organization in the United States, and as this BBC story reminds us, "Israel's weaponry predominantly came from the US, the report said."

So what did the U.S.'s newspaper of record have to say about this story? After all, a couple of years ago the U.S. signed an agreement promising $30 billion in military aid to Israel over a 10-year period. So you'd think that some American officials and other American interest groups would have something to say about Amnesty's call for this military aid to be suspended.

The New York Times has had just one reference to the Amnesty report, in Tuesday's print edition on page A7. The headline: "Netanyahu Rebuffed Again in Efforts to Form Coalition". Most of this article is about the negotiations between political parties to form a new Israeli government, but then if you scroll down to paragraph 10, you find a sudden change of topic:
In a separate development, Amnesty International issued a report on Monday accusing Israel and Hamas of misusing foreign-supplied weapons to "attack civilians" during the recent 22-day Gaza war.

Amnesty called on the United Nations to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on both parties, and it urged the Obama administration to suspend American military aid to Israel.

Then the article quotes a response from the Israeli Foreign Ministry and a response from a Hamas spokesman, but no response from the Obama administration or any other Americans on Amnesty's request for a change in American policy.

The article then refers to a different Amnesty report released earlier this month "that accused Hamas of a "campaign of deadly retribution" against Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel." The version of the article on the Times website includes a hyperlink to that report. However, there is no hyperlink to the other Amnesty report, the one that calls for an arms embargo on Israel and Palestinian groups, even though there are more than twice as many words about it in the article.

Unlike the Times, the BBC's website does include a hyperlink to Amnesty International's report. Just the table of contents is revealing:

Misuse of conventional arms by Israeli forces3
Unlawful use of indiscriminate rockets by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups15
Arms supplies to Israel16
Arms supplies to Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups30
Hmmm, why is it that this report has many more pages on use of arms by Israeli forces than by Palestinian armed groups? And many more pages on arms supplies to Israel than on arms supplies to Palestinian armed groups? Someone should expose this clear sign of anti-Semitism at Amnesty International.

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