Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot
Amnesty International USA Executive Director Paul O’Brien.

After Amnesty International USA director Paul O’Brien called into question a Ruderman Family Foundation survey on the connection American Jews have to Israel, based on “his gut,” Jay Ruderman, President of the foundation issued the following statement:

“By rejecting a comprehensive survey of 2,500 American Jews that overwhelmingly support Israel saying ‘his gut’ tells him otherwise, O’Brien dismisses verified data. It is indefensible for the organization’s USA director to reject the verified opinion of the American Jewish community.”


The 2020 study, commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation and conducted by the highly respected Mellman Group, found that eight in 10 Jewish Americans identify as “pro-Israel,” and two-thirds feel emotionally “attached” or “very attached” to the Jewish state.

In published reports on a Women’s National Democratic Club event on Wednesday, O’Brien commented on the data saying: “I actually don’t believe that to be true. I believe my gut tells me that what Jewish people in this country want is to know that there’s a sanctuary that is a safe and sustainable place that the Jews, the Jewish people can call home.”

Having sampled 2,500 Jews representing the adult Jewish population in the US, the foundation’s survey is one of the most comprehensive studies of the Jewish community in the United States in recent years, and one of the largest ever.

“If Amnesty International dismisses American facts, it calls their own reports into question,” Ruderman quipped. “Gut instincts should not be the basis for shaping opinion and policy.”

According to Jewish Insider, O’Brien suggested at a Women’s National Democratic Club meeting that most American Jews don’t want Israel to be a Jewish state, but rather “a safe Jewish space” based on “core Jewish values.”

O’Brien tweeted in response: “Earlier this week, I spoke at the Women’s National Democratic Club, regarding Amnesty’s report which found the crime of apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel. My remarks were taken out of context by Jewish Insider. I offer clarifications here.

“Jewish Insider’s headline claims that I and Amnesty questioned the right of Israel to exist. I did not and Amnesty takes no position on the legitimacy of any state. Nor did I suggest or claim to know that ‘the bulk of American Jews do not want Israel to be a Jewish State.’

“When a participant said most Jewish people would find the use of ‘apartheid’ to be antisemitic, I did point to research showing 25% of American Jews believe Israel is an apartheid state.

“What I did was raise Amnesty’s objections to Israel’s 2018 Nation State Law, which preserves Israel exclusively for the Jewish People and does not recognize any other national identity. That law provides evidence of the crime of apartheid.

“I said that while we recognize the right of self-determination for Jewish and Palestinian people as a basic human right, we take no position on the legal or political solutions that any people may take to exercise that right.”

The presumption on the part of the Amnesty International official that the very idea of the Basic Law: Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People is evidence of apartheid is at the core of AI’s inherent antisemitism, as stated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA): “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

To the point, you can click to the text of the law and find even a single line that suggests subjugating non-Jews in Israel to a system of legislation that upholds segregationist policies, as was the case under the South African apartheid regime. Israel is a Jewish and democratic state where non-Jews are entitled to all the civil rights enjoyed by Jews but not the national rights. O’Brien’s diatribe is clearly antisemitic.


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