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September 23, 2005

Dershowitz on Amnesty International

In June, CAMERA reported on criticisms of a May 2005 Amnesty International report. Critics denounced, among other thigs, the absence of credibility in Amnesty's research and allegations, and the "very low level of research" displayed by by the organization.

In a Sept. 17 op-ed in the National Post (Canada), Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz added his voice to the criticisms of the human rights group's practices. He wrote:

...a recent report by Amnesty International ("AI") on violence perpetrated against Palestinian women by Palestinian men in the West Bank and Gaza ... purported to be "part of the global AI campaign to stop violence against women." ...

The AI report documents honour killings of women who had been raped. ...

The AI report places substantial blame for these and other killings on -- you guessed it -- Israel! Here is AI's conclusion, listing the causes of the violence directed against Palestinian women, presumably in the order of their importance: "Palestinian women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are victims of multiple violations as a result of the escalation of the conflict, Israel's policies, and a system of norms, traditions and laws which treat women as unequal members of society."

The "escalation of the conflict" (which AI blames primarily on Israel) and "Israel's policies" rank higher than the "norms, traditions and laws which treat women as unequal." The report asserts that violence against women has "increased" dramatically during the Israeli occupation and has reached "an unprecedented level" as a result of the "increased militarization of the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation." It is as if the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been violence-free for Palestinian women until the Israeli Occupation.

On Aug. 23, 2005, I spoke with Donatella Rovera, who is AI's researcher on Israel and the Occupied Territories and asked her to provide the data on which she had based her conclusion... I also asked her whether AI had compared violence against women in the occupied West Bank and Gaza with violence against women in unoccupied Arab-Muslim areas that have comparable populations, such as Jordan. Rovera acknowledged that AI could provide no such comparative data and confirmed that the report was based on anecdotal information...

It is impossible under these circumstances for any outside researcher to replicate AI's study and to confirm or disconfirm its conclusions.

You can read the entire piece here. (hat tip Daily Alert)

Posted by GI at September 23, 2005 12:16 PM

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