pageok
pageok
pageok
Daniel Levy's Defense of Human Rights Watch:

You can read it here. Levy writes:

The apparent trigger for this assault on a group that represents the global gold standard in human rights monitoring, analysis, and advocacy, was a visit by HRW's Middle East-North Africa director, Sarah Lee Whitson, to the Saudi kingdom. I happened to find myself on a panel at The Century Foundation discussing the Middle East with Whitson just days before this storm broke — I went back and watched tapes of that panel discussion. To accuse Whitson of being soft on the Saudis or somehow singling out Israel for criticism is quite astonishing as I'm sure you'll agree if you take ten minutes to listen to her presentation — of that, more in a moment.

Okay, so I listened. If you have any illusions about HRW's neutrality or objectivity re Israel and its neighbors, you should too.

Whitson had a fifteen-minute presentation on human rights in the Middle East. She spends approximately three minutes and thirty-five seconds describing Israel's alleged violations of international law and human rights. Her presentation of the relevant facts and relevant international law is tendentious in the extreme [Gaza, with not a single Israeli soldier or civilian, is "occupied?" Israel "transferred" its population to the West Bank? Using white phosphorous to illuminate targets violates international law?]. She accuses Israel of apartheid. She consistently refers to the wars in Lebanon and Gaza as "Israel's wars," even though, obviously, they were fought against foes that were launching cross-border attacks against Israel's civilian population and which declare themselves to be at war with Israel. She accuses Israel of war crimes, including "indiscriminate" bombing of South Lebanon, which, given the low civilian casualty in the second Lebanon War--even Hezbollah puts the total in the high hundreds, while Israel says low hundreds, out of a population of hundreds of thousands--from a nation with one of the most powerful air forces in the world, is absurd. If Israel had engaged in indiscriminate bombing, casualties would have been in the tens of thousands. I expect foes of Israel to engage in such hyperbole, but Whitson is supposed to be an "objective" human rights advocate.

And after Whitson's several minute-long exhaustive survey of Israel's alleged sins, she spends all of approximately twelve seconds on Hamas and Hezbollah, and this is the total of what she said: "of course there are also violations of international humanitarian law by the armed groups that are fighting Israel, namely Hamas and Hezbollah, but of course there are armed groups that have been in conflict with them [sorry this isn't coherent--ed.]. And that's something Human Rights Watch has documented." That's it.

After the exhaustive list of Israel's alleged crimes, no mention of

  • Hamas's suicide murders
  • Hezbollah and Hamas's indiscriminate (really indiscriminate) lobbing of missiles into Israel
  • H & H's use of human shields, use of civilian establishments for military purposes, and failure to wear military uniforms
  • the kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldiers
  • Hamas's reign of terror against Christian Palestinians
  • Hezbollah's threat to democracy in Lebanon
  • Syrian and Iranian state sponsorship of terrorism
  • Hamas's murder of Fatah supporters
and so forth and so on.

She then spends several more minutes criticizing U.S. aid to Israel, Egypt, and Jordan, with additional specific criticisms of Israel thrown in, and suggests the U.S. should be nicer to Hamas and less supportive of Fatah.

And note that this was a speech to an American audience. God knows what she said in Saudi Arabia. And God knows what she thinks privately, as opposed to what she reveals publicly. Somehow Levy hasn't persuaded me that this speech shows that Whitson doesn't single out Israel for criticism in the U.S., much less when she's on a fundraising trip to Saudi Arabia.

Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
"...assault on a group that represents the global gold standard in human rights monitoring, analysis, and advocacy"

Let's hope they're not the gold standard.
7.20.2009 11:33pm
Tatil:
It would be better if she went over the violations of Hamas and Hezbollah, but it is understandable for her to spend more time criticizing respectable states as they are a lot more amenable to PR campaigns to change their policies and behaviors than terrorist groups. In any case, every country with violent ethnic conflict complains that the outsiders are not criticisizing the terrorists as much as they should, but that clears them only if we take terrorists as the "gold standard."

Besides, I don't know if I would call her criticisms of Israel extreme based on your description. Actually, it sounds quite run of the mill.
7.20.2009 11:59pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Tatil, HRW, and Levy, don't argue that there are good reasons to single out Israel, they claim they hold everyone to the same standard. If they'd admit they hold Israel to a different standard, and/or emphasize Israel's failing because they are more likely to have an impact, we'd be making some progress.
7.21.2009 12:12am
Adolfo:
They're not holding Israel to a different standard than they hold any other Jews to.
7.21.2009 12:21am
Paul Nelson (mail) (www):
David, as much as I sympathize with your viewpoint on the merits of each side in this conflict, I must offer up a very plausible reason for Ms. Watson's statements. Ms. Watson is an advocate - human rights (or the cause thereof) being the message she delivers. Naturally (and like any advocate worth their salt), she tailors her message to the audience at hand.

The audience in this case was primarily American, which one could fairly assume was consequently (1) generally pro-Israel, (2) quite familiar with the tragedies perpetrated by Hamas, Hezbollah, et al, and (3) inversely familiar with Israel's own human rights blunders (more sparse, as they are). With that background premising her discussion (or as you say, diatribe), her decision to devote most of her time to Israel's imperfect track record is at least understandable.

I suspect her desire was to impress upon her audience that the cause of human rights must be fought to ensure the rights of all citizens regardless of the offending party; the audience likely needed little convincing of that fact re: Hamas, etc. I have little doubt that in Saudi Arabia she devoted most of her time to atrocities occurring by powers in the Arab world, noting Israel's mistakes just enough to assuage their prejudices.

As for advocacy, Ms. Watson's approach is not unique; any politician would recognize her strategy for appealing (in this case) to the collective conscience of her audience. Replace "conscience" with "anger" and you get talk radio; replace it with "superficiality" and you get cable news; replace it with "isolation" and you get...Bill Clinton.

In any event, human rights are important enough to warrant our best efforts in preventing the suspicion of political agendas, possible slights, and subtle histrionics from clouding our duty to expand the numbers that enjoy them. Although I could do without her hyperbole, so too could I do without yours!
7.21.2009 12:35am
Tatil:
I agree with you on that front Prof. Bernstein. However, as I've said before, I don't think HRW is singling out Israel that particularly. There are many other states complaining of the same apparent bias. Of course, I cannot rule out the possibility that HRW is actually quite partial to "freedom fighter" groups in the absence of a deliberate and well-thought out different standard argument from it.

Then again, what is your ratio of time spent criticizing Israel's government compared to that of Israel's enemies? :)
7.21.2009 12:40am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Paul, then let's get a transcript of her recent remarks in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Jordan. Given your theory, I'm sure she spent at least the equivalent of 3.5 minutes on the human rights failings of her hosts for every twelve seconds she spent on Israel.
7.21.2009 12:41am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Then again, what is your ratio of time spent criticizing Israel's government compared to that of Israel's enemies? :)
Seriously, I don't claim to be a neutral or objective observer. I think Israel has a lot of faults, but not compared to its neighbors and adversaries.
7.21.2009 12:42am
JK:
I posted some skeptical comments in your previous threads, but I do think you make a strong case here. As you pointed out, she doesn't express truly out of the mainstream position, but a lot of that is really pushing it for neutral observer. Certainly the actions of Hamas deserve more condemnation or at the very least consideration. Even if their determination is that Israel's crimes are far worse, it's important to give basically equal consideration to claims of such an obviously bipolar conflict (i.e. at the very least you need to explain why you don't think that suicide bombings are a serious a human rights violation then non-optimally targeted bombing).

I would note that I do see this as a pretty different basis for concluding HRW is not objective then the mere fact they tried to fund raise from private Saudi citizens.
7.21.2009 12:47am
Melancton Smith:
Wow...you are an Obamabot-class apologist! Also please provide evidence that her American audience was generally pro-israel.
7.21.2009 12:48am
Mark N. (www):
On a tangential subject, are there human-rights-monitoring groups with a global focus that are better than HRW? Is Amnesty International more or less neutral on this sort of thing? (I'm not really looking for one with the equal-but-opposite slant, but something that does approximate neutrality better.)

I agree they tend to be pretty slanted on Israel, but I think it's good to have some sort of NGO in this category when it comes to highlighting abuses in places like Iran and China, so I wish there were some better option to support.
7.21.2009 12:48am
Tatil:
Prof. Bernstein, this is a bit off-topic, but could you recommend a good, impartial book about politics and society in Israel that covers more than just the Palestinian conflict. I found Tom Friedman's From Beirut to Jerusalem fascinating, but I could use a more in-depth and up to date one.
7.21.2009 1:03am
Jeff Hall (mail) (www):
Wasn't there some wacky TV sitcom in the 80's where a Presidential candidate, beset with rumors of marital infidelity, dares a bunch of reporters to follow him around and see if he's being unfaithful to his wife? In a contrived plot twist, one of the reporters does follow him around and finds out, you guessed it, that he's seeing some floozy.

I forget what show it was, but maybe Daniel Levy saw it on cable TV recently and was subconsciously imitating the hapless candidate.
7.21.2009 1:28am
David M. Nieporent (www):
"...assault on a group that represents the global gold standard in human rights monitoring, analysis, and advocacy"

Let's hope they're not the gold standard.
Because then Ron Paul would latch on to them?
7.21.2009 1:39am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Wasn't there some wacky TV sitcom in the 80's where a Presidential candidate, beset with rumors of marital infidelity, dares a bunch of reporters to follow him around and see if he's being unfaithful to his wife? In a contrived plot twist, one of the reporters does follow him around and finds out, you guessed it, that he's seeing some floozy.

I forget what show it was,
I believe it was called "the Gary Hart campaign."
7.21.2009 1:41am
Mitch500:
The fact that Daniel Levy was a senior adviser to Yossi Beilin, played a key role in drafting Beilin's "Geneva Accord" peace plan, and sits on the board of J Street tells us a great deal about his politics.
7.21.2009 1:51am
John Moore (www):
Human Rights groups, over time, tend to fill up with "social justice" types, and the latter will always be biased against western states, especially Israel, since they view the world in modern Marxist terms, where the "powerful" are always wrong and the "weak" are always the victims of the "powerful."

I would offer this as a Lemma to O'Sullivan's Law.
7.21.2009 1:52am
eyesay:
Mitch500, I would venture that J Street represents the views of a majority of American Jews much better than, say, AIPAC.
7.21.2009 1:53am
Mark N. (www):
@John Moore: From that article you linked, this strikes me as curious:

That is explained by O'Sullivan's First Law: All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing. I cite as supporting evidence the ACLU, the Ford Foundation, and the Episcopal Church. The reason is, of course, that people who staff such bodies tend to be the sort who don't like private profit, business, making money, the current organization of society, and, by extension, the Western world.

Traditionally, the organizations most suspicious of "private profit, business, making money", etc. have been conservative religious groups, and long before any Episcopalian-like slide leftwards. My quite conservative, Orthodox Christian priest, when growing up, frequently used his sermons to inveigh against the corruption induced by secular profit (there are plenty of Bible verses to quote on the subject) and to encourage his flock to dedicate themselves to higher causes, like religion, scholarship, and charity, rather than the greed of the materialist world and hedonistic values of consumption culture. There are few topics within conservative Christian theology more deeply rooted than that view that higher concerns ought to take precedence over worldly ones.

Have those sorts of values really been wholly ceded to the left?
7.21.2009 3:50am
pot meet kettle (mail):

God knows what she said in Saudi Arabia. And God knows what she thinks privately, as opposed to what she reveals publicly.


God AND DB. God AND DB.
7.21.2009 4:43am
Pseuss (mail):
, and suggests the U.S. should be nicer to Hamas and less supportive of Fatah.

It used to be that human hights groups were supposed to avoid taking political stances.

When did that change?
7.21.2009 5:07am
circuit splits:
HRW is ludicrously biased. Most undeluded people already knew that. The ones pushing the myth of HRW 'objectivity' are those whose politics are served by HRW's pronouncements. That is how the radical left operates, by pretending that radical ideas and outfits are somehow respectable and innocuous, they hope to set the tone and inch the discourse further left -- a corrosive 'mainstreaming' of radical talking points under the cover of pretextual rights rhetoric.

The ME section of HRW has been taken over by ideologues more interested in ideological activism than genuine huminatarian concerns.
7.21.2009 5:53am
Ryan Waxx (mail):
Objectivity wouldn't get them fat paychecks from those concerned by "The Israel Problem".
7.21.2009 7:21am
Mitch500:

Mitch500, I would venture that J Street represents the views of a majority of American Jews much better than, say, AIPAC.

J Street and its supporters frequently claim that the organization represents a majority of American Jews. The main evidence to support this argument is J Street's own polling on the subject, which should be viewed with considerable skepticism. (See more detailed criticisms of J Street's polling methods here and here)

J Street frames many of its polling questions in a way that is designed to elicit the responses it wants to see. Here's an example of a question in which respondents are asked to agree or disagree with the following statement:

With hundreds of Palestinian civilian deaths and a humanitarian crisis resulting from a month of no electricity and clean water throughout Gaza, Israel's response to Hamas' attacks was disproportionate

In this case it didn't work, as 69% of respondents disagreed despite the wording of the question, but you can see how the pollster framed the question in a way designed to maximize agreement, and they structured many of their other questions in a similar way.

J Street also tends not to advertise results that the organization doesn't support, such as that 75% approved of Israeli military action in Gaza in 2009 and that in their 2008 survey 56% opposed Arab neighborhoods in E. Jerusalem becoming part of a Palestinian state.

Finally, if you look at the Israel section of the American Jewish Committee's 2007 Annual Survey of Jewish Opinion, the results suggest that American Jews agree very little with J Street: 58% said Israel should not be willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem, 74% said Israel cannot achieve peace with a Hamas-led government, 61% said the UN treats Israel unfairly, 82% said that Arabs seek the destruction of Israel rather than the return of occupied territories, and the establishment of a Palestinian state in "the current situation" was favored only 46-43%.
7.21.2009 7:25am
awt (mail):
Isn't the point though that we should hold Israel to a higher standard than the non-democratic kleptocracies that surround it? This is why I always bristle at the argument that we can rough up the Al Qaeda guys we capture, because they sure as hell weon't be giving our guys a cot, a shower and three squares a day. We're better than that. So's Israel.
7.21.2009 7:27am
Marian Kechlibar (mail):
AWT: There is some logic in it, but the article also complains about the fact that human rights violations of Hamas and Hezbollah were effectively hidden from the audience. Which means keeping the audience in the dark about the real face of these organizations; and this is very bad in my book.

Because then, the only source of information about Hamas and Hezbollah will be their own propaganda, and gullible people will start to believe it after some time.

Exposing dark sides of totalitarian and violent movements is, IMHO, always crucial.
7.21.2009 8:11am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Isn't the point though that we should hold Israel to a higher standard than the non-democratic kleptocracies that surround it?
Again, HRW and Ms. Whitson explicitly say they don't do that.
7.21.2009 8:59am
rarango (mail):
DB: I know they SAY they don't explicitly do that (hold Isreal to a higher standard), but IMO liberal democracies Are in fact always held to a higher standard--I don't personally believe they should if one's concern is human rights generically--but that seems to be the situation.

HRW is useful only for the usefuly idiots.
7.21.2009 9:07am
rarango (mail):
Ewwww-apologies for the egregious typing errors--no posting before the second cup of coffee.
7.21.2009 9:08am
NaG (mail):
Maybe HRW bashes more vigorously on Israel than on Hamas/Hezbollah because (1) no use beating on the underdog that has already had the snot beaten out of it for decades now, and (2) Israel, as a democratized Western-style nation has a greater capacity for change than its enemies. Hamas would rather shoot its critics than listen to them.
7.21.2009 9:08am
11-B/2O.B4:


The audience in this case was primarily American, which one could fairly assume was consequently (1) generally pro-Israel, (2) quite familiar with the tragedies perpetrated by Hamas, Hezbollah, et al, and (3) inversely familiar with Israel's own human rights blunders (more sparse, as they are). With that background premising her discussion (or as you say, diatribe), her decision to devote most of her time to Israel's imperfect track record is at least understandable.



I got a fiver says she slammed Israel even more in muslim countries, and made no mention of the Saudis executing women for "witchcraft", denying them the right to vote, travel or even drive and other such nonsense.
7.21.2009 9:13am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Maybe HRW bashes more vigorously on Israel than on Hamas/Hezbollah because
I'll just keep repeating this until it sinks in. HRW officials, and their defenders like Daniel Levy, claim that HRW has only one standard, and doesn't single out Israel. If they'd admit that they do single out Israel for the reasons you suggest, we'll have made progress.
7.21.2009 9:25am
Justice Sotomayor:
I find Bernstein's repetition of the point hilarious: he's made it three times now, and yet it's still not penetrating the craniums of some commenters trotting out the same old "but democracies are held to a higher standard" talking point.

Think before commenting.
7.21.2009 9:34am
Ugh (mail):

And after Whitson's several minute-long exhaustive survey of Israel's alleged sins, she spends all of approximately twelve seconds on Hamas and Hezbollah, and this is the total of what she said: "of course there are also violations of international humanitarian law by the armed groups that are fighting Israel, namely Hamas and Hezbollah, but of course there are armed groups that have been in conflict with them [sorry this isn't coherent--ed.]. And that's something Human Rights Watch has documented." That's it.


well, what did she say about the Saudis, which was what Levy was pointing to?
7.21.2009 9:53am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Maybe HRW bashes more vigorously on Israel than on Hamas/Hezbollah because (1) no use beating on the underdog that has already had the snot beaten out of it for decades now, and (2) Israel, as a democratized Western-style nation has a greater capacity for change than its enemies. Hamas would rather shoot its critics than listen to them.
DB has responded to this point (made by several people). But even if it's true, think about how perverse it actually is. It means that human rights groups will spend most of their efforts criticizing the people who least deserve it, and little time on those who most deserve it.
7.21.2009 10:55am
NowMDJD (mail):

Hamas would rather shoot its critics than listen to them.

Like Israelis.
7.21.2009 11:03am
DangerMouse:
But even if it's true, think about how perverse it actually is. It means that human rights groups will spend most of their efforts criticizing the people who least deserve it, and little time on those who most deserve it.

To them, that's not a bug, it's a feature. The people who most deserve their criticism are the people who would least listen to them. The only way to maintain their alleged power is to attack people that don't really deserve it, because those are the same type of people who would normally listen to constructive criticism. If someone says to a rational person that they're doing something wrong, a rational person would consider if in fact he is. The same principle applies here. HRW knows this. They know that their usefulness extends only as far as their influence. They know that terrorists aren't going to listen to them. Rather than shout in the wind, they attack the target that will garner them the most publicity and the most power. Their operations have nothing to do with actual human rights, and everything to do with maintaining their own position.

It is also doubly true that the left is obsessed, marxist style, with power relationships and often mindlessly concludes that people with more power are more evil than people with less power. This is key to understanding how they think and why they do the things they do. It allows them to excuse everything done by the person with lesser power, because the real evil is the exising power imbalance and not any monstrosity conducted by those people. Seeing the world in this way permits the left, as it has often and usually done, to excude countless murders and crimes done in the name of "social justice." The left is saturated with this kind of mindless obsession with power relationships. Coupled with the regular attacks on traditional morality and individual responsibility, it's very very easy for them to ignore suicide bombers killing innocent children.
7.21.2009 11:42am
Jiffy:
Maybe some who are critical of HRW for focusing attention on Israel and claiming that it is biased against democratic governments should take a look at its web site. Right now, the headline stories are Nigeria, Russia, Dr Congo, and China. The "front page" stories in the "Middle East/N.Africa" section have critical reports on the United Arab Emirates, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, and Iran (nothing on Israel). The HRW site includes the following articles published this year: "Hamas kills perceived opponents in Gaza," "Hamas uses torture, killing," "Under cover of war: Hamas political violence in Gaza." In August 2007 HRW released a 128-page report titled "Hezbollah rockets targeted civilians in 2006 war."

DB is just upset that HRW has also taken on Israel.
7.21.2009 12:36pm
John Moore (www):

Have those sorts of values really been wholly ceded to the left?

That is not the point of my assertion, or O'Sullivan's.
7.21.2009 1:41pm
Desiderius (mail):
DB,

"I'll just keep repeating this until it sinks in. HRW officials, and their defenders like Daniel Levy, claim that HRW has only one standard, and doesn't single out Israel. If they'd admit that they do single out Israel for the reasons you suggest, we'll have made progress."

Indeed, as will your admission that you single out HRW in a similar manner and for similar reasons. After all, some of those dollars HRW seeks to capture would otherwise go to some of the same organizations which threaten Israel in a more visceral manner than HRW.
7.21.2009 1:59pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Paul sez: 'I have little doubt that in Saudi Arabia she devoted most of her time to atrocities occurring by powers in the Arab world'

I have little doubt she didn't.

OK, now that that's settled.

You're either with the terrorists or you're against them. How hard is that to figure out? Saudi Arabia is a terrorist state.
7.21.2009 2:05pm
PlugInMonster:
Wow several hours and no "Zionist", "Likud" or "Neocon" keywords issued out by a commenter. Progress!
7.21.2009 3:17pm
PLR:
Maybe some who are critical of HRW for focusing attention on Israel and claiming that it is biased against democratic governments should take a look at its web site. Right now, the headline stories are Nigeria, Russia, Dr Congo, and China. The "front page" stories in the "Middle East/N.Africa" section have critical reports on the United Arab Emirates, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, and Iran (nothing on Israel). The HRW site includes the following articles published this year: "Hamas kills perceived opponents in Gaza," "Hamas uses torture, killing," "Under cover of war: Hamas political violence in Gaza." In August 2007 HRW released a 128-page report titled "Hezbollah rockets targeted civilians in 2006 war."

DB is just upset that HRW has also taken on Israel.

If memory serves, these topics began with a story about HRW raising funds from Saudi sources. Hey, maybe there really are some highly affluent, socially conscious Saudis with a mission to ensure equal rights and the rule of (secular) law for all regardless of gender, religiosity or national origin, but it sure does smell a little funny.

But now we are up to six posts on the legitimacy of HRW itself, which of course is a different subject from the factual accuracy of HRW's most recent findings concerning another IDF excellent adventure. The line of protesting too much seems to have been obliterated.

AI, don't get too comfortable.
7.21.2009 3:37pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Daniel Levy says the Saudi event wasn't a fundraiser. Then what was it? Repeating from previous threads, it would be nice to see a transcript or video, or at least to know whether one exists.
7.21.2009 4:04pm
Sammy Finkelman (mail):
Well, I think it would be fair to say that Daniel Levy's claim that Sarah Lee Whitson was not "somehow singling Israel out" for criticism was based on the idea that she only spent about 24% of her time saying Israel had done bad things and NOT that anything she said was fair or right, although maybe daniel levy thinks it was, nor on the idea that there was not a double standard both in morality and in evidence, and not on a comparison of what she said about Israel and what she said about its worst enemies.

Actually, I think maybe it is a bit of a victory that she felt compelled to at least mention Hezbollah and Hamas - these organizations don't like to deal with non-state actors, and pretend human rights violations can only be done by established governments. HRW apparently now is even talking a little about Hamas because its morhing into a government.

Of course all of this is onlly part o what is wrong with all these groups. They ALWAYS find much more wrong, more easily with open societies than closed ones.

How much has HRW written about North Korea?

Of course HRW in raising money in Saudi Arabia with its attacks on Israel as a fundraiding argment was being openly corrupt. It's worse than what the Wsashington Post attempted.
7.21.2009 4:22pm
Desiderius (mail):
Mark N.,

"Have those sorts of values really been wholly ceded to the left?"

No, it's just that our present crop of conservatives have such a pressing fear of their own mortality that they refuse to admit their own drift rightward (and thus oldward) and so continue to call themselves leftist/progressive, while maintaining worldviews/advocating policies that are anything but.

Further confusion is caused by those dedicated to actual progress/liberty therefore fleeing to the "conservative" banner left empty by our Archie Bunkers continuing to play Meathead.
7.21.2009 4:43pm
Jiffy:

How much has HRW written about North Korea?


Quite a bit. See, for example this 2006 report on North Korea's policies toward food aid and this release stating that "North Korea is among the world's most represive states," and this 2008 report stating that "Human rights conditions in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) remain dire."
7.21.2009 5:13pm
PlugInMonster:
Considering the sheer monstrous evil of North Korea, you'd think HRW would better spend their time on that then the morally ambiguous Israel/Palestine conflict.
7.21.2009 7:20pm
ABAR (mail):

Considering the sheer monstrous evil of North Korea, you'd think HRW would better spend their time on that then the morally ambiguous Israel/Palestine conflict.


If you think so, but the claim that HRW isn't prioritizing well is far different from the assertion, made by commenters repeatedly, that they ignore human rights abuses of non-democratic states. As to priorities, it seems perfectly rational for them to spend more time and resources on countries where their work may have some influence, rather than N. Korea where they are likely to have none. But to suggest that they don't write about human rights abuses of N. Korea, Hamas or Hezbollah is just wrong as anyone who cares to check out their web site can see.
7.21.2009 10:25pm
PlugInMonster:
ABAR - HRW would be far more courageous going after a brutal dictatorship like North Korea then democratic Israel whose own Supreme Court often rules in favor of Arab civil rights. Honestly HRW has NO CASE when it comes to Israel. They have pretense of even-handedness when it comes to Israel and that's a fact.
7.21.2009 11:40pm
PlugInMonster:
Well actually ATM if you go to HRW home page, not a mention of Israel! This must be first for them. For once they are actually focusing on real human rights abuses. Although they do have a sidebar entry on Bush's "torture regime".
7.21.2009 11:42pm
MCM (mail):
Well actually ATM if you go to HRW home page, not a mention of Israel! This must be first for them. For once they are actually focusing on real human rights abuses.


I can only imagine that was your first visit to hrw.org. Using web archives I'm having trouble finding any front-page mentions of Israel. I'm sure there might be a couple, but Israel is not exactly among their favorite targets. It's much easier to find critiques of Serbia, Saudi Arabia, and the use of child soldiers and land mines.
7.23.2009 12:07am
Careless:

I can only imagine that was your first visit to hrw.org. Using web archives I'm having trouble finding any front-page mentions of Israel. I'm sure there might be a couple, but Israel is not exactly among their favorite targets. It's much easier to find critiques of Serbia, Saudi Arabia, and the use of child soldiers and land mines.

Serbia and Saudia Arabia don't have half the hits of Israel on HRW. Nigeria would have been a better example.
7.23.2009 12:30am
MCM (mail):
"Hits" don't really mean much, which is probably why we're talking about front-page hrw.org mentions. Findly a editorial opposing the construction of new settlements on page 4 doesn't seem like it should count for as much as a front page accusation that Saudi Arabia is torturing dissidents.
7.23.2009 9:26am

Post as: [Register] [Log In]

Account:
Password:
Remember info?

If you have a comment about spelling, typos, or format errors, please e-mail the poster directly rather than posting a comment.

Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.