Free Gilad Shalit! But don’t wait for Amnesty International to front any action

It seems like a poor joke, but it has taken the Amnesty International all of 5 years to address this ongoing crime against humanity in any serious way. Today, making the 5th anniversary since his capture, the General Secretary of AI in Israel, Rachel Benziman said:

“We hope that Gilad soon returns to his family. Until his release, Hamas is obliged [to fulfill] its obligation of ensuring that Gilad is granted personal contact and to provide him with the rights he is entitled to under international law. As such, Hamas must allow representatives of the Red Cross to visit [him].”

Further, the J’post article also stated:

To mark the fifth year of Schalit’s captivity, the organization said in a press release, Amnesty is circulating a petition to its activists worldwide demanding that Hamas ease the suffering of Gilad and his family. The petition will be presented to Hamas prime minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh.

Curious to see if this is being picked up by AI around the world I had a look at different AI sites, quite disappointing actually:

AI in the UK has no mention of this, and using their own search engine yields 4 previous entries, only one of them really being relevant.

AI in Norway? Not even a mention, well aside from a pretty biased entry back from 2006, when Gilad was first abducted, but then falsely calling Israels defensive action after 8 years of relentless rocket attacks from Gaza ‘war crimes’.

AI in Sweden, no mention at all, not even on the search engine, same result in Denmark.

In contrast, Amnesty in the USA has recent and relevant entries on the fate of Gilad Shalit.

This begs the question:does this reflect a different attitude among European human rights activists compared to North American ones? AI in the USA is just as much of a left leaning NGO as elsewhere, but they seem to be more capable of focusing on their target focal point, rather than letting hatred, personal biases, ignorance get in the way.

Even the Red Cross is not working as hard and unrelenting as they could to demand an end to Gilads captivity, with Noam Shalit complaining bitterly after IRCs latest modest bid to call for release:

I would like to believe that they would give us a sign of life from Gilad. We are conducting ongoing dialogue with the Red Cross but it has not been much help, I did not hear them condemn Hamas on its crime against Gilad. The Red Cross has been a complete failure in this affair.”

But in fairness to the IRC, they have consistently tried, perhaps not with all their resources and access to important people in high places, but compared to the deafening silence among AI intellectuals in Europe (much less so in the USA), I would say that the IRC continues to be a true human rights champion albeit with some pretty ugly slip-ups from Norway.

But in an odd way, this ugly Norwegian attitude, shows the qualitative difference between AI, Red Cross activists who confuse human rights activism with pseudo-intellectual coffee shop chatter in some cozy European university town, and all those elsewhere who actually have to put their mouths where their money is and work for all human’s rights, not just a select few.

Who cares about Gilad Shalit? Not the AI!