Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch (HRW) claims that it “is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice. We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable. We challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.”

Investigative researchers, however, allege that HRW is actually a major inciter of hate against Israel, while ignoring – or actually seeking funding from – the worst human rights violators in the world.  As the first item below documents, even HRW’s founder lambasted the organization in 2009, for having betrayed its stated principles, and effectively acting as a legitimizing shill for Islamist terror groups and regimes.  And as NGO Monitor reports, HRW aspires to be much more than (supposed) watchdog over human rights issues:

“In September 2010, HRW announced a 10-year, $100 million donation from billionaire George Soros. With the grant, HRW plans to increase its staff by one-third and “to shape the foreign policies of these emerging powers, much as we have traditionally done with Western powers.”

The following articles and reports reveal the little-known reality behind HRW.  

Human Rights Watch’s founder denounced the organization for its anti-Israel bias and incitement:

Rights Watchdog, Lost in the Mideast, by Robert L. Bernstein, The New York Times, October 19, 2009.  Excerpt:

I must do something that I never anticipated: I must publicly join the group’s critics.

When I stepped aside in 1998, Human Rights Watch was active in 70 countries, most of them closed societies. Now the organization, with increasing frequency, casts aside its important distinction between open and closed societies.  Nowhere is this more evident than in its work in the Middle East. The region is populated by authoritarian regimes with appalling human rights records. Yet in recent years Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region […]

Meanwhile, the Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent. The plight of their citizens who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide is being ignored as Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel. […]

Leaders of Human Rights Watch know that Hamas and Hezbollah chose to wage war from densely populated areas, deliberately transforming neighborhoods into battlefields. They know that more and better arms are flowing into both Gaza and Lebanon and are poised to strike again. And they know that this militancy continues to deprive Palestinians of any chance for the peaceful and productive life they deserve. Yet Israel, the repeated victim of aggression, faces the brunt of Human Rights Watch’s criticism.

HRW solicited funding from Saudi Arabia to continue its anti-Israel bias and incitement

Human Rights Watch Goes to Saudi Arabia: Seeking Saudi Money to Counterbalance “Pro-Israel Pressure Groups,” by David Bernstein, The Wall St. Journal, July 15, 2009.  Excerpt:

A delegation from Human Rights Watch was recently in Saudi Arabia. To investigate the mistreatment of women under Saudi Law? To campaign for the rights of homosexuals, subject to the death penalty in Saudi Arabia? To protest the lack of religious freedom in the Saudi Kingdom? To issue a report on Saudi political prisoners?

No, no, no, and no. The delegation arrived to raise money from wealthy Saudis by highlighting HRW’s demonization of Israel. An HRW spokesperson, Sarah Leah Whitson, highlighted HRW’s battles with “pro-Israel pressure groups in the US, the European Union and the United Nations.”

Documentation of HRW’s anti-Israel bias & incitement, and ignoring/whitewashing of Islamist terror groups

Human Rights Watch Earns Their Saudi Pay, Publishes Another Thinly-Sourced Report Demonizing Israel (UPDATE: Video Of Hamas Soldiers Hiding Behind White Flags), by Omri Ceren, Mere Rhetoric, August 13, 2009. Excerpt:

There’s a certain asymmetry in the international demonization of Israel. Organizations like Human Rights Watch get to make things up out of whole cloth but Israel has to spend precious resources and months of time disproving the charges. By the time the nonsense is debunked the news cycle is long gone. Plus nobody publishes “turns out, Israel didn’t commit war crimes after all” articles. Plus anti-Israel academics just repeat the myths anyway since they can just footnote the original report.

Example: in 2006 HRW put out a report saying that Israel took potshots at Lebanese civilians waving white flags. It was dutifully picked up by the usual anti-Israel outlets. Of course the report was crap – Israel produced documents and videotapes showing that the “civilians” waving white flags were Hezbollah soldiers launching missiles. But as of 2008 the report is still being cited in academic dissertations under headings like “8.1.1 Possible war crimes committed by Israel.”

HRW’s pattern of bias in its “Precisely Wrong” report, by Elder of Ziyon, September 9, 2009.  Excerpt:

No one denies that civilians were tragically killed in Gaza. The major question that human rights organizations like HRW and Amnesty International have to deal with is whether the civilian casualties could have been reasonably avoided, or if they appear to have been deliberate.  Clearly, they have no insight into the thinking of the IDF commanders, so it is literally impossible to prove that the IDF killed civilians deliberately. Instead, these groups will attempt to find evidence – physical, or via interviews – that seem to prove that the attacks were deliberate. While this can never be considered conclusive, it is a reasonable approach to take all the existing data and look to see if the evidence fits better into a narrative of deliberation or a narrative of accidental or collateral killings.
Looking into the details of HRW’s reports that condemn Israel, one can see a disturbing but consistent pattern that HRW seems to have shown a definite bias towards evidence that condemns the IDF while downplaying or ignoring evidence that could exonerate the Israeli army. From all indications, HRW is stacking the deck to make the IDF look as guilty as possible.  Here are some examples from the HRW report on alleged drone attacks on civilians in Gaza, entitled “Precisely Wrong.”

NGO Monitor key articles on HRW

NGO Monitor “provides information and analysis, promotes accountability, and supports discussion on the reports and activities of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) claiming to advance human rights and humanitarian agendas.”

HRW’s top Middle East “human rights” investigator found to be an avid collector and admirer of Nazi memorabilia

Prior to these shocking revelations, Marc Garlasco, HRW’s senior “human rights” investigator in the Middle East, had been revealed by numerous researchers and bloggers to employ anti-Israel bias and incitement.  Although HRW initially defended Garlasco after these revelations, it later suspended him, he resigned soon thereafter.

Marc Garlasco – Is HRW’s Anti-Israel Investigator A Nazi-Obsessed Collector?, By Omri Ceren, Mere Rhetoric, September 8, 2009. Excerpt:

Then there’s the second Marc Garlasco, who I caught wind of from Elder of Ziyon. Elder had just finished tearing apart another one of HRW Garlasco’s anti-Israel reports when he found the Amazon profile of collector Garlasco. This Garlasco’s Amazon book reviews show a nearly obsessive knowledge of Nazi-era Luftwaffe Flak and Army Flak.

A little more searching revealed that he’s written a gigantic book on the subject that retails for over $100. He regularly participates in forums about Nazi medals under the handle Flak 88, where he posts galleries of his prizes and admires what others have managed to collect. On those forums he uses the email, which points to a family genealogy site he set up in 2002.

Rights Group Assailed for Analyst’s Nazi Collection, by John Schwartz, The New York Times, September 14, 2009.

Nazi scandal engulfs Human Rights Watch, by Jonathan Foreman, Sunday Times (UK), March 28, 2010.

NGO Monitor research featured in Sunday Times: “Nazi Scandal engulfs Human Rights Watch”, NGO Monitor Blog, March 28, 2010.



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