Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

A Pavlovian Obsession: Human Rights Watch Targets Ariel Sharon

January 13, 2014 8:02 am 6 comments

Ariel Sharon's funeral.

JNS.org – Like vultures circling a carcass, the leaders of New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) prepared yet another attack against Ariel Sharon. Within hours of his death on Jan.11, HRW proved that their Pavlovian obsession has not waned, publishing a press release that again highlighted this organization’s double standards and irresponsible disregard of both facts and international law. Sharon, as HRW’s stand-in for all issues related to Israel, was accused of every conceivable “war crime” and violation, while the history of mass terror and other forms of Arab and Palestinian brutality was erased. Once again, the radical ideologues and immoral Israel-bashers who control HRW demonstrated that in their eyes, Israelis are sub-human and therefore have no human rights.

The inflated accusations and abusive language in HRW’s statement following Sharon’s death stand in glaring contrast to their immoral silence regarding Arab and Middle Eastern terror leaders and tyrants. When Yasser Arafat died in November 2004, HRW issued no statement referring to impunity for crimes against humanity resulting from the Palestinian leader’s central role in mass terror campaigns.

Additionally, HRW’s statements following the death of Osama bin Laden are a textbook example of moral confusion and obfuscation, referring vaguely to “the devastating human toll that terrorism has brought to every continent of the world” and to the September 11, 2001 attacks and other attacks for which “bin Laden’s al Qaeda organization is blamed.” Regarding the American anti-terror operation that killed bin Laden, HRW decided that it did “not have enough information about the killing to draw conclusions about whether it was lawful or not…. The US government should provide all the relevant facts about Osama bin Laden’s death to clarify whether it was justified under international law.”

HRW’s abysmal record in the Middle East is particularly salient in the endorsement of Libyan’s tyrant Muammar Qaddafi and his sons as “human rights reformers.” In May 2009, HRW Middle East and North Africa director Sarah Leah Whitson authored an article in the influential US-based publication Foreign Policy, titled “Tripoli Spring” and subtitled “How Libya’s behind-the-scenes reformer is actually, well, reforming.”  Whitson’s praise was unequivocal: “the real impetus for the transformation rests squarely with a quasi-governmental organization, the Qaddafi Foundation for International Charities and Development.” On December 12, 2009, HRW held what was presented as a news conference in Libya—the U.S State Department referred to this event as helping to “solidify Saif al-Islam’s reputation as a ‘reformer.'” Two op-eds written by HRW officials were published in the Guardian and by the Institute for Policy Studies. The first was titled “Is Libya opening up,” and the second, written by Whitson, was headlined “Postcard from… Tripoli” and embraced the Qaddafi human rights reform fraud.

In contrast, Whitson and HRW have a long history of automatically and viscerally condemning Israel, based on little or no credible information. HRW’s statement condemning Sharon upon his death briefly and selectively quoted from the judicial commission that investigated Sharon’s responsibility related to the Christian Phalange killings of Palestinians in the 1982 Lebanon war, distorting the process and reports beyond recognition. This again highlights HRW’s consistent anti-Israel obsession and exploitation of universal human rights principles to promote personal and ideological agendas.

HRW also plays a central role in the processes by which national and international legal structures and principles are being abused as part of political warfare. While Sharon was serving as Prime Minister and had the grave responsibility for ending the Palestinian terror campaign of brutal bus bombings and other war crimes, HRW officials chose instead to support a cynical effort by Palestinian groups to bring a frivolous lawfare case against Sharon in Belgium. This case triggered a flood of efforts to exploit “universal jurisdiction” statutes and frameworks, including the International Criminal Court, that were created in order to bring genocidal leaders to justice, for the pursuit of partisan political campaigns.

In 2009, the founder of Human Rights Watch, Robert Bernstein, highlighted the moral failures of his own organization, particularly in ignoring the systematic abuses of Middle Eastern regimes. Bernstein also referred to HRW reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict “that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.” Indeed, as the latest obsessive attack demonstrates, it is HRW itself that is leading this campaign, based on double standards and misinformation, to delegitimize Israel.

Gerald M. Steinberg is president of Jerusalem-based research institution NGO Monitor and is professor of political science at Bar Ilan University.

6 Comments

  • There should be a concerted effort to expose and condemn this organization’s horrific double standards and misappropriation of human rights, just as was done for the ASA after their recent BDS vote. How sick that Whitson can’t behave in a civil manner after the death of a respected national leader, instead hurling slanderous accusations that were not leveled even against mass murderering terrorists like bin-Laden or Arafat. Shameful!

  • If I recall correctly, HRW has also weighed in against the French ban on stage performances by the notoriously antisemetic “performer” Dieudounne M’bala M’bala, but recall no such concerns being uttered about TV Network France 2’s attempts to silence Phillip Karsenty for demanding a correction of the record vis a vis the Mohammed Al-Dura fakery that lies behind a great deal of resurgent French antisemetism.

    And of course, not a word about the state of fear that French Jews are living under as they have been targeted by violent Islamists, many of whom are no doubt further encouraged by viewing M’bala M’bala’s materials via the internet.

  • Walter Bachner

    The HRW even invoked Jews when complaining about the lack of Gay rights in Africa and Russia.

    The Trouble With Tradition
    When “Values” Trample Over Rights

    by Graeme Reid (@Graemecreid), Director, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program

    “Tradition!” proclaims Tevye the milkman, in his foot-stomping opening to the musical Fiddler on the Roof. “Tradition!”

    Tevye’s invocation of the familiar as a buffer against the vagaries of his hardscrabble life rings true—after all, what is more reassuring, more innocuous, than the beliefs and practices of the past?

  • What is so disgusting is that the USA ,UK and European contries belong to this organization and contribute to it.

  • Bin Laden had nothing to do with 911.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Book Reviews Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    It is cocktail hour on an April afternoon in 2004. The sun is hot on Amsterdam’s canals, and I am sitting at Café den Leeuw on the Herengracht with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali is still a member of the Dutch Parliament, and we talk about Islam. Specifically, we talk about the concept of “moderate Islam,” or what she calls “liberal Islam.” And she has one word for it. “It’s absurd,” she says. “It’s complete nonsense. There is no ‘liberal […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    Everybody knows that cooking varies from country to country. There are Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, etc. We associate different styles of cuisine with different languages. Do we also think of the association of different cuisines with different dialects? We should, because cooking also varies from region to region. Litvaks and Galitsyaners have their own traditions of preparing gefilte fish. Marvin I. Herzog, in his book The Yiddish Language in Northern Poland: Its Geography and History (Indiana University, Bloomington, and Mouton & Co., The […]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    An analysis of New York Times wedding announcements showed that women married in Jewish ceremonies were less likely to take their husband’s last names than those married in Roman Catholic ceremonies, the Times reported on Saturday. The largest gap between the two groups was in 1995 when 66 percent of Catholic women took their husband’s names and 33 percent of Jewish women did the same. Nearly half of the women featured in the publication’s wedding pages since 1985 took their husband’s name after marriage, while about […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    JNS.org – Through appreciation of both his comedy and humanitarian work, legendary Jewish entertainer Jerry Lewis is staying relevant at age 89. The only comic to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Lewis added another award to his trophy case in April, when he received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Gordon Smith, NAB’s president and CEO, said the organization was “honored to recognize not only [Lewis’s] comedic innovation, but also his remarkable […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli athletes marked a successful day on Sunday, as gymnasts won multiple bronze and silver medals in the 2015 European Games in Baku. The Gymnastics team won two silver medals and one bronze in group events, while Neta Rivkin, an Israeli Olympic gymnast, won bronze for the Solo Hoops event. Sunday’s gymnastics wins follow Sergey Richter’s bronze on June 16 for the Men’s 10 meter air-rifle, and Ilana Kratysh’s silver for women’s freestyle wrestling. The 2015 European Games in Baku are […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Russian-American Jews are some of the most successful ballroom dancing competitors in the U.S., South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) Radio reported on Thursday. Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, said their success can be traced back to Jewish discrimination in the former Soviet Union. Because of the prejudice they faced, Russian Jews had to perform better than their peers in every field, including dancing, in order to have a chance of getting ahead. “They knew that if they […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    An Israeli dancer made use of Jewish props in an extraordinary routine that left judges amazed when he auditioned for season 12 of TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance on Monday. At first, the panel of judges appeared confused when Asaf Goren, 23, began his audition in Los Angeles with a tallit (prayer shawl) over his head and the blowing of a shofar, which he explained “opens the sky” for people’s prayers. However, as soon as he started his “Hebrew breaking” performance, […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    JNS.org – A fairytale ending to Jewish basketball coach David Blatt’s first season in the National Basketball Association (NBA) was not meant to be, as the Blatt-led Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night dropped Game 6 of the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, 105-97, to lose the best-of-seven series 4-2. Blatt, who just last year coached Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv franchise to a European basketball championship, failed to finish a second straight hoops season on top. But after the Cavaliers began the NBA […]

    Read more →