The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies is deeply concerned by a highly misleading, one-sided report by Amnesty International overnight (Australian time) labelling Israel an apartheid state.

In its 211-page document criticizing the only Jewish state in the world, Amnesty conveniently omits the fact that some 20 per cent of Israel’s population are of Arab background.

They are all fully-fledged citizens of Israel with equal voting rights and equal civil and religious rights. Arab citizens serve in the upper echelons of the military, the police, the courts (including the Supreme Court) and the Parliament. The head of surgery in a leading hospital is an Israeli Arab, and Arabs head university departments.

“Israel is the only free democracy in the Middle East. All of Israel’s citizens use the same public transport, eat in the same restaurants, get treated at the same hospitals, attend the same public schools and universities and work side by side in many occupations,” JBD NSW CEO Darren Bark said.

“It is ludicrous that a time Israel is forging friendships with the Arab world, and during Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s historic first visit to the United Arab Emirates, Amnesty International has chosen to slander the Jewish state without factual basis, or any criticism of the terrorist group Hamas that seeks its annihilation.”

Israel’s security concerns are well documented over many years and are necessary to protect Israel’s citizens of all faiths and backgrounds from attacks by extremists, not an intention to “oppress and dominate” the Palestinian people as the organisation falsely states.

This is not the first time Amnesty has rushed to condemn Israel without basis. In 2019, it condemned the country for bombing a Gaza human rights office, when in fact the rocket had been fired by a Palestinian terrorist group and fell short of the Israeli city which was its intended target.

Amnesty asserts that a “system of apartheid originated with the creation of Israel in May 1948” adding it is a “crime against humanity”. It is difficult to comprehend how Amnesty International can be taken seriously when countries well known for its atrocious human rights abuses such as North Korea produce more than 300 results on its website compared to more than 2000 for Israel.

“Amnesty’s anti-Israel bias is clear, and we call on the international community to reject this appalling report in its entirety and for Amnesty International to retract this outrageous fallacy,” Bark added.