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UK’s Defense of Israel Reveals Hypocrisy, Cynical Abuse of ‘Human Rights’ Claims

Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, speaks at a press conference in London, ahead of the launch of ‘The State of the World’s Human Rights’, its annual report on the global human rights situation, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

John MilesThe United Kingdom has been accused of “destabilizing the entire concept of universal human rights” through its defense of Israel and repression of internal dissent.New light is being shed on the United Kingdom’s military and diplomatic ties with Israel as a report by Amnesty International accuses European countries of “grotesque double standards” in their alleged concern over human rights abuses.The investigative journalism website Declassified UK examined a so-called Roadmap agreement between Israel and the UK that demonstrates Britain’s exceptional commitment to defending Israel.“The bilateral relationship has never been stronger,” begins the document. “Our strategic partnership is underpinned by extensive security and defence cooperation that continue to safeguard the UK and Israel’s national security… The UK and Israel have a strong and evolving defence relationship through strategic dialogue and professional working groups between the defence ministries and an agreement for military cooperation.”The investigative outlet has documented the strong military partnership between the two countries amidst Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip, which has killed over 34,000. Britain has reportedly flown 50 spying missions over the enclave while ferrying US weapons and equipment to the country from its nearby airbase in Cyprus.The country has repeatedly refused to share details of its extensive support for Israel with the public, issuing so-called “D Notices” that ban British media from reporting on certain defense-related stories.“We will continue to work together to keep our people safe from cyber, criminal and terrorist threats,” the agreement continues.MilitaryMum’s the Word: UK Refuses to Answer Queries About US Use of Base to Support Israel7 December 2023, 21:20 GMTIsrael has historically attempted to delegitimize resistance by referring to Palestinian groups like Hamas and Hezbollah as “terrorist” organizations. But only a small handful of Western allies, along with the European Union, classify the groups as such.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2625 guarantees occupied people the right to violently resist “subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation,” recognizing Palestinians’ right to rebel against Israel under international law. The international body has acknowledged Israeli settlement building and control of Gaza and the West Bank since 1967 as an illegal act of “settler colonialism.”

Meanwhile observers classify the 1946 bombing of Jerusalem’s King David Hotel as the first terrorist attack in the long-running Palestine-Israel conflict. The atrocity, which killed 91, was committed by the Zionist paramilitary group Irgun. Criminal groups such as Irgun and Lehi were instrumental in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine known as the Nakba, with Lehi openly referring to itself as a “terrorist” group.The modern state of Israel has continued to adopt such violent tactics against its critics in the region, carrying out massive bombing campaigns in Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria. But a separate section of the UK’s Roadmap entitled “Antisemitism, delegitimisation, and anti-Israel bias” details the countries’ strategy of deflecting criticism by accusing detractors of “disproportionate focus on Israel.”AnalysisJewish Student Protester Shatters Myth of Antisemitic Campus Demonstrations27 April, 03:16 GMTThe UK and other European countries have repeatedly moved to crack down on pro-Palestine protests by accusing demonstrators of bias and antisemitism. Meanwhile the state media outlet BBC has punished employees for sharing pro-Palestine messages on social media.The revelation of the agreement comes as the London-based human rights group Amnesty International slams the UK for its selective concern over alleged human rights abuses. The organization’s searing indictment of Britain and other Western countries claimed the entire post-World War II human rights framework is “at risk of decimation” as global powers exploit their influence in international organizations to shield Israel from criticism.“The UK is deliberately destabilizing the entire concept of universal human rights through its appalling domestic policies and politicking,” said Amnesty International’s UK chief executive Sacha Deshmukh.The group also criticized European countries’ repression of pro-Palestine activism as threatening key liberal freedoms of assembly and expression. Germany made headlines earlier this month after police in the country shut down a pro-Palestine conference taking place in Berlin, cutting off power to the venue where it was being held to force participants to disperse.Observers were shocked by video emerging online in recent days of German police beating and brutalizing pro-Palestine demonstrators. Similar scenes have emerged from US college campuses as politicians insist that freedom of speech does not apply to “antisemitic” anti-genocide protesters.Journalists have documented the historic use of human rights narratives by Western governments to attempt to delegitimize perceived enemies. At least 12 million people have been killed in wars backed by the United States and its allies since World War II while the country maintains the highest incarceration rate on the planet.Americas’Land of the Free’? How US Lawmakers Restrict Students’ Right to Peaceful Protest27 April, 16:15 GMT

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