Amnesty International official calls Israel “scum state”

Amnesty has excellent vision and the majority of its work is necessary and good. We all benefit from the scrutiny of strong human rights organisations and I do not want to weaken Amnesty. But this from Amnesty International’s Finnish head Frank Johansson requires attention.

“Scum” is a Google translation, apparently. When I ran “nilkki” through Google translate, I got “twat”. Alternative translations offered have been “punk state” or “creep state”. None really helps this official of a leading human rights organisation whose credibility depends on being able to criticise governments without those governments writing Amnesty off as simply antagonistic to the country. Do Amnesty officials publicly insult other countries like that or, once again, is it only Israel?

Why are so many members of so many organisations prepared to sacrifice their credibility for the chance to vent their flimsy personal opinions about Israel? Weird.

6 Responses to “Amnesty International official calls Israel “scum state””

  1. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    So Johansson claims that “I am writing those [blogs] in my capacity as a private person, not as an Amnesty official.”
    Bit difficult to keep claiming that when the JPost report continues: “However, Iltalehti’s Web site clearly provides readers with his title as “director of the Finnish branch of Amnesty International,” which appears above his blog.”

    Can’t have it both ways, Frank. Either you write as Head of the Finnish section of Amnesty International, in which case you _should_ be about to lose your job, or you don’t, in which case your blog should not identify you as such.

    Of course, AI is such a noble human rights organisation that the former is about to happen. Isn’t it?

    Then the Finnish Government tries to wriggle off the hook, as follows: “The deputy head of Mission for the Embassy of Finland in Israel, Anu Pulkkinen, told the Post on Tuesday that Johansson “is responsible for his own comments, and we are not commenting on blog writings of individual Finnish citizens”. Given the nature of Johansson’s comments and also the nature of AI, she should, at the very least, be saying something along the lines that, given her Government’s close relations with Israel she is disturbed at the apparent views of someone so prominent in such an important organisation…

    Hardly undiplomatic to say so.

    • Alec Says:

      Fair dues to the Finnish Government, expecting it to condemn explicitly one private citizen (as an NGO, AI shouldn’t have politician affiliations) misses the point about Western democracies as surely as when the race-baiters expected the Danish Government to condemn explicitly JP over the Motoons. Still, a pointed comment about the cordial relations and obscencity of singling out any one country wouldn’t go amiss.

      The thing is, Frank (were your forebears Swedish colonial oppressors?), you ain’t really hid your lack of knowledge. A few visits in the 1970s, and a couple more in the 1990s… you ain’t been there for over 10 years, and I bet you don’t even speak a word of Hebrew.

      Plus, he can only call Israel “the Holy Land”. As I doubt he includes Sinai and parts of Jordan or Saudi or Lebanon, I suspect he has a problem with Jews in control of a Government.

    • Bill Says:

      “Can’t have it both ways, Frank. Either you write as Head of the Finnish section of Amnesty International, in which case you _should_ be about to lose your job, or you don’t, in which case your blog should not identify you as such.”

      Yup! This is like one of the “nilkki” donut holes in Academic Freedom where you can say what you want about anything except what’s in your job description and you’re speaking for yourself. However, when you’re talking about your area of expertise, while you still might say what you feel is true and correct, fair comment and all, but you’re representing your institution. You may be able to say it, but you are no longer “John Q. Public.”

      I’m pretty sure that if a non-orgasmically-critical-enough AI’er whinged about Israel (or shall we just call it “Nikksylvania”) getting a bad wrap, Johansson would be asking for his or her resignation.

      What do you think is the Finnish for “douche”? Mira, can you please google that particular wordy dird for me? I’m at work (eating lunch) so I can’t.

  2. Conchovor Says:

    The guy looks like a bit of punk himself.

    So, the Jewish state of Israel is viewed precisely as anti-Semites viewed the state of Israel among the nations of Europe and elsewhere, long before any modern state of Israel in the land existed.

    Israel in the diaspora was viewed as scum. Israel in the land is viewed as scum.

    And AI, formed in the decades when Europe and the Arab world purged itself of most of their remaining Jews, turns out to be anti-racist with all groups, bar one.

  3. Mark Gardner Says:

    *Warning: Shameless plug for CST Blog*

    At CST, we were struck by Johansson: not about what the actual translation ought to be, but because it led us to contemplate the question of racism (rather than antisemitism) against Israel, or Israelis, or Israeli Jews.

    My colleague Dave Rich explores the question, here at CST’s blog http://thecst.org.uk/blog/?p=1872

  4. Inna Says:

    You can write AI at aimember@aiusa.org .

    Regards,

    Inna


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