HRW has been eroding its claimed “moral authority” for a long time, especially in the Middle East and today’s op-ed in WSJ shows how far they’ve gone: Human Rights Watch Goes to Saudi Arabia by David Berenstein
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.
Very timely, Jeffrey Goldberg conducted his own investigation: Fundraising Corruption at Human Rights Watch and concludes it thus:
In other words, yes, the director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division is attempting to raise funds from Saudis, including a member of the Shura Council (which oversees, on behalf of the Saudi monarchy, the imposition in the Kingdom of the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic law) in part by highlighting her organization’s investigations of Israel, and its war with Israel’s “supporters,” who are liars and deceivers. It appears as if Human Rights Watch, in the pursuit of dollars, has compromised its integrity.
And Barry Rubin provides an example of HRW’s double standard when it comes the the Jewish state:
Human Rights (sic) Watch: The Big and Little Hands Always Point Against Israel
Here’s what they wrote this year about Israeli UAV strikes in Gaza, “Precisely Wrong”:
“In the incidents investigated by Human Rights Watch, Israeli forces either failed to take all feasible precautions to verify that the targets were combatants, apparently setting an unacceptably low threshold for conducting attacks, or they failed to distinguish between combatants and civilians and to target only the former. As a result, these attacks violated international humanitarian law (the laws of war).”
BUT, here’s what they wrote—in a very different manner–last year about U.S. and NATO airstrikes in Afghanistan in “Troops in Contact”:
“The fact that civilians die or are injured in an airstrike does not necessarily mean the airstrike violated the laws of war, as long as the precautions required by the laws of war were taken and applied in good faith. Beyond the human tragedy, high civilian casualties-regardless of whether they were the result of lawful or unlawful conduct-should always be cause for concern by a military force, as the damage to an armed forces’ reputation and good-will among the population can be considerable. This is particularly true in a country such as Afghanistan where loyalties are often malleable.”
Notice any difference in tone? There’s a willingness to credit good faith; a degree of nuance and context, a difference in sensitivity to legitimate concerns.
Read on more revealing material there.