CFI Vice-Chairman, John Howell MP OBE this week wrote a letter to Amnesty International’s UK Director Kate Allen, in criticism of Amnesty Campaigns Manager Kristyan Benedict’s recent tweets inciting against Israel.
In his letter, Mr Howell MP said: “I am writing to protest at the tweets used by your staff member, Kristyan Benedict, to attack Israel over the past weeks. In his tweets, your Campaigns Manager, shamelessly seeks to raise the atrocious events that occurred in the village of Duma in a way which exploits the situation and the terrible murder of baby. This is unforgiveable. He seeks to use this event to incite against Israel”.
He added: “This is particularly tasteless when Israel’s prime minister has called the attack “reprehensible and horrific” and an act of terrorism. As a vice-chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel, I note we gave a strong condemnation of the crime and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. Quite frankly, I found his attempts to cash in on this murder just to have a shot at Israel as despicable it has significantly lessened any appreciation I had of your organisation”.
In a series of tweets, Mr Benedict stated: “the Israeli government gets away with murder every day”, while in another he falsely attributed a statement to the UN Secretary-General, stating that the Israeli government ‘facilitated’ the murder.
The Amnesty staff member had previously compared Israel to ISIS on Twitter, and in 2012 Mr Benedict was forced to apologise after an Amnesty International disciplinary process concluded that his tweet about three Jewish MPs was “inappropriate and offensive”, but not anti-Semitic. During a Parliamentary debate about the violence in Israel and Gaza he wrote: “Louise Ellman, Robert Halfon and Luciana Berger walk into a bar…each orders a round of B52s … #Gaza”.