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Human Rights Watch's Credibility:

Responding to an NGO Monitor Report accusing Human Rights Watch of anti-Israel bias (a topic that has been covered here before), HRW's Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson replies, "It's hard to comprehend how NGO Monitor thinks that merely devoting an alleged 9% of Human Rights Watch's energies in the Middle East to Israel constitutes a disproportionate focus." Maybe because no objective observer thinks that in a region populated with such human rights stalwarts as Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Hamas-controlled Gaza, Hezbollah-controlled South Lebanon, and Libya, Israel is responsible for anything approaching 9% of the human rights abuses in the region, whatever one thinks of its policies regarding the Palestinian territories.

I can see the argument that a disproportionate focus on Israel is appropriate, because Israel should be held to higher standards as a liberal democracy, and because liberal democracies are far more likely to be responsive to groups like Human Rights Watch than are countries like Saudi Arabia. Instead, Whitson claims that the disproportionate focus isn't disproportionate to begin with, and indeed it's incomprehensible that anyone might think otherwise, which is another nail in HRW's credibility coffin.

Whitson adds: "Israel today is the only country committing collective punishment by blockade because it is the only country that, directly and through its pressure on Egypt, is blocking all borders of a territory in order to squeeze its civilian population." So if Israel and Egypt close the border to Hamas-controlled Gaza, only Israel is engaging in "collective punishment." And Israel is doing so "to squeeze" the "civilian population," not because Hamas has been importing rockets (which it then uses to attack Israeli civilians) and other weaponry through whatever holes it can find in the borders, and meanwhile attacking Israeli border positions whenever they are opened for humanitarian purposes.

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