New York, April 5th, 2022 – On March 9th, Paul O’Brien, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), made a series of antisemitic and anti-Israel comments at an event held in D.C. Following his remarks, the American Jewish Congress launched an advocacy campaign to bring attention to Mr. O’Brien’s antisemitic rhetoric and call on Amnesty International USA to take action. On April 4th, the American Jewish Congress, along with 749 petition signatories, submitted a letter to AIUSA’s Board of Directorsurging AIUSA to levy O’Brien’s immediate dismissal due to his hateful comments. 

During O’Brien’s speech, he repeatedly slandered the one true democracy in the Middle East, saying that Israel “should not exist as a Jewish State.” Moreover, Mr. O’Brien claimed to “know what [American] Jews want” and that, [to change the conversation on the issue collectively], “It needs to start first and foremost with the Jewish community.” It is important to note that O’Brien, who supported an Amnesty report that improperly depicts Arab-Israelis as helpless, ignores Israel’s humanitarian aid efforts, and accuses the Israeli government of apartheid, is not Jewish.

Following the petition, Jack Rosen, President of the American Jewish Congress, stated: 

“It would be shameful to see an organization like Amnesty, which claims that its core values include impartiality and mutual respect, failing to extend that kind of consideration to the Jewish community. Paul O’Brien’s comments were clearly biased, offensive, and antisemitic. Amnesty cannot justify and rationalize those comments; it cannot and should not try to gaslight the Jewish community. I would like to thank all the Jewish Members of Congress who condemned O’Brien’s outrageous comments earlier, as well as all members of the community that joined the American Jewish Congress’ letter to Amnesty’s Board of Directors.”

American Jewish Congress urges AIUSA’s Board of Directors to fulfill their duties to the organization and swiftly rectify this blatant marginalization of American Jews and the world’s only Jewish state. 

Read our letter to Amnesty International USA HERE.

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.