Amnesty UK’s Campaigns Chief In Hot Water Yet Again Over Anti-Israel Tweets


The Israeli Embassy has lodged a complaint with Amnesty UK after one of its senior directors launched into an anti-Israel tirade on Twitter. This is not the first time that the staff member, Kristyan Benedict, has been criticised for his views, which in the past have been investigated for anti-Semitism.

Eitan Na’eh, charge d’affaires at the embassy sent a letter to Amnesty UK director Kate Allen after Benedict, who works as campaigns manager for Amnesty UK, tweeted repeatedly about the arson attack on a Palestinian home in the village of Douma last week which resulted in the death of 18-month-old Ali Dawabshe, the Jewish Chronicle has reported.

One of the tweets accused the Israeli government of “getting away with murder”.

Another suggested that the Israeli government saw the attack as an “opportunity to justify its collective punishment of Palestinians”:

As news broke of the attack, The Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu immediately came out in condemnation, naming the attack as “terrorism,” and insisting that Israel would track down the killers and bring them to justice. A Jewish Israeli man was subsequently arrested and charged. In a statement, Mr Netanyahu said he was “shocked over this reprehensible and horrific attack.” 

But Mr Benedict dismissed Mr Netenyahu’s condemnation, drawing parallels between the attack and Israeli military action, designed to nullify the threat from Palestinian terrorism:

He then went on to accuse Israel’s government of “facilitating the murder”:

“The incidents reflect extremely unprofessional conduct, which has direct bearing on Amnesty’s credibility as an international human rights organisation,” Mr Na’eh wrote in his letter. “Even more worryingly, they reflect a willingness to incite against Israel in the most hateful manner imaginable, while promoting and affirming the twitter account of a recognized terror group.”

He further expressed disgust at the tweets, writing that Mr Benedict had “exploited the horrible murder of Ali Dawabsha in order to incite against Israel.”

Mr Benedict has refused to back down, taking to Twitter again last night to once again accuse Israel of war crimes:

Mr Benedict has form on this matter. Last year he used the hashtag #JSIL, sometimes used by extreme anti-Israeli groups to draw parallels between Israel and ISIS.

In 2012, Amnesty International’s disciplinary panel cleared Mr Benedict of anti-Semitism after he tweeted: “Louise Ellman, Robert Halfon and Luciana Berger walk into a bar…each orders a round of B52s … #Gaza” When fellow twitter users pointed out that he had named only Jewish Members of Parliament, he responded that it the tweet was “a giggle” and “light-hearted,” adding: “apols to those who booed.”

Amnesty ruled that “the tweet in question was ill-advised and had the potential to be offensive and inflammatory but was not racist or anti-Semitic.” The incident came a year after Mr Benedict was forced to apologise by Amnesty’s disciplinary council after he threatened to “smack” a pro-Israel activist.

Follow Donna Rachel Edmunds on Twitter: or e-mail to: