Ostensibly, the report was created as a jeremiad to pressure the world’s largest travel companies against listing properties in what Amnesty calls “the occupied Palestinian territories,” an area that includes East Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. But really, the report is a primer on how an anti-Semite thinks, and his radical view of Jewish and Palestinian history.
The first and most important premise: no Jew ever stepped foot in the “occupied territory” prior to 1967. Until then, it was a paradise of sorts of Palestinian farmers peacefully tending their olive groves while their neighbors pastured their sheep among the terraced hills of their historic homeland. This beautiful and idyllic life suddenly came to an end in 1967, however, when Israel raced across the border and implemented its “illegal settlement enterprise,” an evil scheme meant to steal Palestinian land, pollute Palestinian water, and imprison the Palestinian population in their villages and cities.
To make matters worse, according to Amnesty, international travel companies like TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Boooking.com, and Expedia are helping Israel carry out its plot by facilitating tourism to settlements like Kfar Adumim, where families go to camp; Shiloh, where there’s a top-notch winery; and Susya, where you and your kids can milk goats. The horror.
Lest you think I am exaggerating Amnesty’s claims, I let the report, “Destination: Occupation,” speak for itself:
In doing business with settlements, all four companies are contributing to, and profiting from, the maintenance, development, and expansion of illegal settlements, which amount to war crimes under international criminal law.
Collusion in war crimes! Amnesty does not once mention the Jewish People’s ancient ties to the land. Nor does it bother to detail the eliminationist war launched by Arab states to suffocate the Jewish state at its birth, or the terror war since. Nor does the human rights group explain that Israel fought a defensive war in 1967 and that there are a good number of scholars who take issue with Amnesty’s interpretation of international law. Instead, for Amnesty, “Hebron” is simply a place where 800 settlers live, and “East Jerusalem” (which includes the Western Wall) is nothing more than a neighborhood that Israel captured after a war with its “Arab neighbors” in 1967.
When I first read the report, I thought that the authors must be seriously misguided and totally ignorant, but not necessarily malicious. But then I reconsidered — and concluded that no one could be this warped without one foul agenda.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 747)