fbpx

The Beijing Olympics Was a Singular Chance to Expose China’s War Crimes. Instead, Amnesty International Chose to Single Out Israel.

Just when the world would have paid maximum attention, Amnesty gave the oppressors in China its own version of amnesty.
[additional-authors]
February 9, 2022
Olympics photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

A few days before the 2022 Winter Olympics kicked off in Beijing, China, on Feb. 4, Amnesty International released a bombshell report calling the only free democracy in the Middle East an “apartheid” state and igniting a global media firestorm.

Since then, the dominant image and lead story on Amnesty’s home page has been “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians.”

This media diversion must have made one group very happy and one group very depressed. The happy group was surely China’s ruthless leaders, delighted to see the world focusing on Israel instead of China’s war crimes against the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

The depressed group, obviously, were the Uyghurs themselves. Can you imagine how demoralized these poor people must be to see this unique chance at world exposure squandered?

But here’s the crazy part—Amnesty International is more than aware of these Chinese war crimes. It even released a report on June 10, 2021, titled “‘Like We Were Enemies in a War’: China’s Mass Internment, Torture, and Persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang.” And in an open letter to UN member states on Oct. 11, 2021, it called on the international community to “strongly condemn the ongoing serious human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) and pave the way for justice and accountability.”

But then, four months later, when the eyes of the world were fixed squarely on the Winter Games in China, when Amnesty could have lived up to its call to hold China “accountable,” what did it do?

It chose to focus on Israel.

Never mind that Amnesty’s report on “Apartheid Israel” has been universally condemned, with even the moderate Union for Reform Judaism rejecting it as “replete with discredited and inaccurate allegations, including a deeply wrong accusation of apartheid.”

The key point is this: While the world was distracted by Amnesty’s libelous attack on Israel, it  failed to focus on one of the worst human crimes of the century.

While the world was distracted by Amnesty’s libelous attack on Israel, it failed to focus on one of the worst human crimes of the century.

I have a feeling Amnesty is aware of its vulnerability. That must be why, beneath its loud “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians” graphic that dominates its home page, you can see down below a secondary story dated Jan. 14, 2022, titled, “China: World must use Winter Olympics to demand human rights improvements.”

It’s as if Amnesty kept that piece somewhere on its home page so it can say, “Hey, just because we released that report on Israel at the start of the Beijing Games doesn’t mean we forgot about China!”

No can do.

Amnesty’s report bashing Israel just before the Beijing Games was bad enough for fueling rising antisemitism around the world and endangering the lives of Jews.

Now it must answer to an additional charge: that it failed at a unique moment to draw attention to the hundreds of thousands of Muslim minority men and women arbitrarily detained and subjected to mass internment, torture and persecution by Chinese authorities in Xinjiang.

Just when the world would have paid maximum attention, Amnesty gave the oppressors in China its own version of amnesty.

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

Are We Going to Stop for Lunch?

So far, the American Jewish community has been exceptional in its support for Israel. But there is a long road ahead, and the question remains: will we continue with this support?

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.