Amnesty International rejects call to fight anti-Semitism

An Orthodox Jew walks past the Ahavas Torah synagogue in the Stamford Hill area of north London on March 22, 2015. (AFP/Niklas Halle'n)

An Orthodox Jew walks past the Ahavas Torah synagogue in the Stamford Hill area of north London on March 22, 2015. (AFP/Niklas Halle’n)

Amnesty International rejected a motion to campaign against the rise in anti-Semitism in Britain, saying it battles all discrimination and would not single out individual groups, the British Jewish newspaper The Jewish Chronicle reported Tuesday.

The resolution called for the group to “campaign against antisemitism in the UK and lobby the government to tackle the rise in attacks.” It was struck down 468 to 461 at the group’s annual general meeting at the beginning of the week, the report said.

“It was the only resolution to be defeated during the whole conference,” said Andrew Thorpe-Apps, who submitted the motion in March after becoming concerned over press reports of rising anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom.

“I’ve been appalled by what I’ve seen in the press facing the Jewish community and an organization like Amnesty should really add their voice to that as they do with other human rights issues,” said Thorpe-Apps, who is not Jewish.

The group defended the rejection. “After a really interesting debate where everyone condemned discrimination against all ethnic and religious groups, our membership decided not to pass this resolution calling for a campaign with a single focus,” said Amnesty International UK press officer Neil Durkin.

“Amnesty International fights against discrimination in all its forms, and will continue to do so.”

Durkin added that the British division of Amnesty will keep the issue on its own agenda.

“Amnesty UK’s Board, which supported the resolution, will be considering the outcome of the vote at their next meeting,” he said.

Thorpe-Apps called on Amnesty to back a recent report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism that found alarming attitudes towards anti-Semitism among the British population.

“I recently joined and I believe passionately about human rights,” he said. “I was aware that the organization has been outwardly pro-Palestine in the past but it hasn’t stood up for the Jewish population and I think it would be good if they did that.”

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