A prominent Finnish physicist and board member on the NGO Amnesty International was hit with criticism after calling Israel worse than Hezbollah in response to Germany’s recent decision to ban the Lebanese terrorist group in the country.
Isaiah 5:20 KJV – “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness forlight, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
Syksy Räsänen took to Twitter following news of Germany’s ban of Hezbollah, writing: “Hezbollah is banned because it ‘calls for the violent elimination of the State of Israel and questions the right of the State of Israel to exist.’
“Replace Israel [with] Palestine, and this describes most Israeli parties,” he tweeted.
He added that “Admittedly, there is the difference that most Israeli parties have been implementing the elimination of Palestine, not just [calling] for it.
“Yet [Likud], Yesh Atid, Shas, [Labor] etc are valued partners for Germany and the EU instead of being labeled terrorists.”
In response, Hillel Neuer, head of the NGO UN Watch, tweeted: “Hi @amnesty, in the rant below your board member in Finland is openly siding with Hezbollah, which has played a key role in murdering 500,000 Syrians. Just FYI.”
He added that he was “concerned that there is a disturbing pattern of your support for terrorists, misogynists, antisemites and homophobes.”
Neuer was not alone in criticizing the comments, with the tweet receiving many replies accusing Räsänen of antisemitism and supporting violent extremists.
Räsänen hit back against the criticism, tweeting: “The comments (many of them vulgar) on this post are an example of targeted insult campaigns from supporters of Israeli apartheid.
“This is, of course, not unique to the pro-apartheid crowd: supporters of various kinds of politics do this on Twitter.
“But when it comes to Israeli apartheid, the spectrum continues with denial of premises for events, getting people fired from their jobs, even physical attacks.
“Still, this is minor compared to what Palestinian human rights defenders face: they have faced a systematic campaign of imprisonment, torture, (not just character) assassination for decades.”
This is not the first time that Amnesty International has faced allegations of being biased. In December 2019, a 200-page report commissioned by the NGO Jewish Human Rights Watch accused Amnesty of being biased against some actors – like Israel and India – while ignoring the human rights violations of others – such as Pakistan.
In addition, this is not the first time its Finland branch has been accused of being biased against the State of Israel. In 2010, the head of the branch, Frank Johansson, referred to Israel as a “scum state,” and was slammed by Israel’s ambassador to Finland, Avi Granot.
“Amnesty International professes to be a neutral body that cares about human rights. When, a priori, AI can call any free democratic state a ‘scum state,’ he [Johansson] is not suitable for the position he is holding. To call Israel a ‘scum state’ offends 7.5 million people,” Granot told The Jerusalem Post at the time.
Amnesty International did not take any action against Johansson, who remains in his position to this day, the Algemeiner reported.
The antisemitism watchdog organization Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized the lack of action on the part of Amnesty.
“AI is apparently reluctant to modify its constant and obsessive assaults on the State of Israel, even when it reaches such despicable depths. It is thus complicit by omission in the antisemitic statements of its Finnish representative,” Dr. Shimon Samuels, head of the center’s international department, wrote at the time.