TEL AVIV, Wednesday, February 8, 2023 (WAFA) – Twelve human rights organizations in Israel have deplored recent statements by European Union High Representative Josep Borrell regarding Amnesty International’s report “Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians,” in which he referenced the IHRA definition of antisemitism in a manner suggesting it applies to Amnesty’s report.

“In view of the deepening human rights crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, we consider the unfolding debate about the crime of apartheid in relation to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians not only legitimate but absolutely necessary,” said the 12 organizations in their statement.

“We, therefore, disagree with the EU Commission’s rather dogmatic position that ‘it is not appropriate to use the term apartheid in connection with the State of Israel’. The EU Commission should not turn its back on the facts and developments on the ground,” it said, adding, “We wholeheartedly reject the idea that Amnesty’s report displays antisemitic animus and are deeply concerned about the escalating instrumentalization of allegations of antisemitism to prevent an open debate about Israel’s oppressive policies towards Palestinians.”

The statement said the EU Commission “should refrain from validating and fueling such political instrumentalization of antisemitism. Accordingly, we call on EU Commission to unequivocally withdraw its insinuation that Amnesty’s report has anything to do with antisemitism.”

The 12 organizations called on the EU Commission “to engage with the facts on which legal designations of apartheid regarding various aspects of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians are based, and to reconsider its position in this regard.”