Israel’s government has accused Amnesty International of anti-Antisemitism over a report that claims Palestinians live under apartheid.
Lior Haiat, a spokesman for Israel’s foreign ministry, branded it a “collection of lies” that sought to “deny the right of existence of the state of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people”.
He said: “This is a double standard, demonizing Israel in order to delegitimize the existence of the state of Israel.
“Those are the components of modern anti-Antisemitism.
“We have no other choice but to say that [this] is anti-Semitic.”
The Amnesty review is due to be published this week, but extracts have already been published online by NGO Monitor – the Israeli pressure group – which says it obtained a leaked copy.
The report will accuse Israel of “enforcing a system of apartheid against the Palestinian people” and of treating Palestinians as “an inferior racial group”.
In a statement, Amnesty stood by its report and said it was a critique of “the Israeli government, not the Israeli or Jewish people”.
Reports by human rights groups on Israel frequently scrutinize its settlements, the demolition of Palestinians’ homes, restrictions on Palestinians’ movement, and the killing of Palestinians by armed forces.
But the charge of apartheid is particularly controversial because it draws a direct link with 20th-century racial segregation in South Africa.
Mr Haiat said: “We reject all the false accusations that are made by Amnesty International UK. This report is a collection of lies, is biased and copies from other reports from anti-Israel organization.
“What we want to say here is that even if you repeat a lie once, and again, it doesn’t make this lie the reality or the truth. But it does make Amnesty International UK an illegitimate anti-Israeli organization.”
It is not the first time Israel has faced accusations of apartheid.
A similar report by Human Rights Watch, which was published in April 2021, made the same allegation.
In that study, Human Rights Watch claimed that Israel was responsible for “the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians”, including those with Israeli citizenship.