NJA Condemns Amnesty’s Selective Bias and Myopia in “Automated Apartheid” Report

The National Jewish Assembly (NJA) strongly objects to Amnesty International’s latest report “Automated Apartheid,” which alleges that Israel’s use of facial recognition technology is illegal and “fragments, segregates and controls Palestinians.” The report has been widely criticised for its selective bias and myopia when it comes to other countries, where facial recognition technology is also utilised for security purposes.

Amnesty’s report erases the terrorism and public safety concerns that drive Israeli policy and ignores the ubiquitousness of facial recognition software in countless settings around the world. The report also targets companies providing camera equipment to Israel as part of Amnesty’s ongoing Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) agenda.

The NJA emphasises that Amnesty’s report ignores the reality of the tense and frequently violent security situation in areas where facial recognition technology is employed. Scores of terrorist attacks perpetrated by Palestinians against Israeli civilians and security personnel have taken place in recent years at the Damascus Gate and in other areas in and around Jerusalem’s Old City and the H2 area of Hebron.

The NJA also notes that other countries utilise facial recognition software for security reasons in the UK, throughout Europe, in the United States, and in many more countries. Despite Amnesty’s “apartheid” framing, airports, bus and metro systems, and police departments in various countries employ this technology for security screenings, including border control and identification, and for scanning crowds for individuals wanted for serious crimes.

The NJA condemns Amnesty International’s report and its ongoing campaign to smear Israel by exploiting the misapplied “apartheid” label. The NJA urges Amnesty to consider the reality of the security situation in Israel and to acknowledge the widespread use of facial recognition software for security purposes around the world.

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