On Wednesday, Politico and The Washington Post reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is proposing several major international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Oxfam, be classified as “anti-Semitic” groups — and that a formal declaration could come later this week at the earliest, with the intention of preventing other governments around the world from working with them.
“The proposal has prompted a sharp pushback from career officials in the department concerned that it would be a gift to authoritarian governments who have long sought to delegitimize human rights groups for their work exposing mass atrocities and crimes against humanity, according to the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss future policy decisions,” reported John Hudson of the Post.
“Pro-Israel advocates have long complained of bias by groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, saying they focus too heavily on the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government,” said the report. “The groups, however, have a lengthy track record of spotlighting the mistreatment of individuals at the hands of governments elsewhere, including authoritarian regimes and Western democracies.”
All three organizations deny the allegation of anti-Semitism, with Oxfam America’s Noah Gottschalk saying, “Any insinuation that Oxfam supports anti-Semitism is false, baseless, and offensive. Oxfam and our Israeli and Palestinian partners have worked on the ground for decades to promote human rights and provide lifesaving support for Israeli and Palestinian communities. We stand by our long history of work protecting the lives, human rights, and futures of all Israelis and Palestinians.”