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February 5, 2015 4:33 pm

Human Rights Watch Official Urges US Holocaust Museum to Display Gaza War Pictures, While Praising Qatar Migrant Labor ‘Reforms’

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A protest against Qatari abuse of migrant workers; a top Human Rights Watch official praised the Gulf regime while issuing a separate attack on Israel. Photo: Twitter

The brazen double standards underlying the approach of Human Rights Watch (HRW) – arguably the world’s leading human rights NGO – towards the Middle East were again laid bare today, as the organization’s Middle East and North Africa director urged the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to display images of “death and destruction” in Gaza, while separately praising the Qatari regime for taking a “welcome step” in reforming its slave labor system.

Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s top staff member dealing with region, took to Twitter in response to a posting from BBC correspondent Kim Ghattas, who pointed out that the Washington, DC-based Holocaust museum was now showing an exhibition about the brutal abuse of human rights in Syria. “@BBCKimGhattas @DRovera @HolocaustMuseum @BBCNewsUS should also show pics of death and destruction in #Gaza,” Whitson declared.

While there was little surprise at Whitson’s insinuation that Israel is a genocidal regime similar to that in Syria, her comments generated an angry reaction nonetheless.

“Is it Human Rights Watch’s position that what is happening in Gaza is genocide?” columnist Jeffrey Goldberg asked Whitson.

“It certainly would be appropriate for the Holocaust Museum to feature an exhibit on genocidal Hamas theology,” Goldberg added.

Other detractors issued a reminder of Whitson’s meeting in 2009 with Seif Islam Gadaffi, the son of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi. During that encounter, she praised Gadaffi junior as an “impetus for transformation”, hailing the reality – as she mistakenly saw it – that “change is in the air.”

Separately, HRW today issued a statement on the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar, more than 2,000 of whom were killed last year building stadiums for the soccer World Cup competition that the Gulf state is hosting in 2022.

“Qatar has recognized that reform is necessary and has promised to take some steps in the right direction,” Whitson gushed in the statement. “At a time when Qatar’s detractors are seeking to strip the country of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar’s best defense would be to pass meaningful legislative reforms that end the sponsorship system, punish abusive employers, and end worker-paid recruitment fees once and for all.”

As well as undermining the work of those human rights activists advocating that Qatar – widely believed to have secured the World Cup hosting rights by bribing international soccer officials – be prohibited from going ahead with the competition, Whitson’s statement made no mention that the country’s notorious kafala system, which strips migrant workers of their most basic rights, is a modern form of slavery. As the human rights organization Migrant Rights has reported, 600,000 migrant workers in Qatar and elsewhere in region “are estimated to be in conditions of forced labor.”

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  • Yoel Nitzarim

    As a recent member of the US Holocaust and Memorial Museum, I am emphatically against any such display of human rights violations during the war with Gaza last summer. That war was begun by Hamas and Islamic Jihad and continued putting some two-thirds of the Israeli populace–civilian children, women and men–in danger of being killed by mortar, missile and rocket fire and a significant part of the population in danger of dying because of their being coerced into acting as human shields to protect the terrorists launching projectiles as well as fighting Israeli soldiers in Gaza.

  • Sofia Bain

    My Mother and Sister’s names are engraved in the Main Hall Entrance of the Washington Holocaust Museum. They have been designated as Righteous Gentiles from Pinsk, for 20 months sheltered 4 Jewish people hid them from the German murderes that were living in a separate part of the house.

    I certainly, do not agree, that Gaza be exibited in this Sacred Place – Gaza was handed to the Palestinians with everything for them, and instead they made this into a terrorist hellhole. If the Palestinians are suffering it is because they are being led by Hamas who is intend on the destruction of Israel.

    People should read about past history and read the news instead of always blaming Israel.

  • Yale


    600,000 migrant workers and more than 2000 dead in a year. That’s a per capita rate approximately four times what happened in Gaza, and none of those 2000 was a combatant or a human shield.

    It looks like Israel’s conduct of a war is more humane than Qatar’s conduct of a construction project.

  • Wm. J.Levy

    I recently asked the director of my local Federation if she would push an imaginary button that would destroy all the Nazis in Germany before 1939, which of course means Hitler and his ilke.

    She couldn’t do it using the same rational that I used in my paper. Jews can’t even hypothetically destroy their haters to save their families and other Jews and thus we have the Holocaust.

    We don’t need another Holocaust museum. We need tough, strong Jews like a Jabotinksy or an Ariel Sharon.

    There will always be another Holocaust because we so weak.

  • All I can see from people here is hatered name calling and just generally abusing people that dont agree with yous. I totally condemn what happened to the three young men that were murdered but if you really think what happened after that is justified your very much mistaken I would have thought because of what happened to the Jewish people they above all people would never wish that on anyone but very sadly thats not true one day there will be a museum showing what has been done to innocent Palestinian people am not saying all were innocent but hundreds and hundreds were I just cant believe that this sort of thing could happen again it saddens me greatly what goes on in this world

    • Hannah

      You are so ignorant you don’t know Gaza was flinging rockets at Israel and that’s what made Israel retaliate? Then you shouldn’t be opening your mouth, much less embarassing yourself on a public forum.

      • Corrine schlessel

        They need to be card carrying anti SEMITE so no doctor can treat them with any medical
        Treatments of drugs or vaccination discovered by any Jew.
        Those bastards can open their own museum…and when they demonstrate they need to promote Israel and all that Isreal has done to improve the quality of life the world over.
        Amen to Sanders comment

    • Andrew

      Read their charters

    • Andrew

      And I add, HWW are always looking the wrong way with both eyes tightly shut least they observe the reality, which in their case is a complete abrogation and shows the absurdity of their evaluative ability. Plainly they are bigots who believe in myths and deny history and reality.

    • Dante

      Whatever happened to innocent Palestinian people during Protective Edge is due to Hamas who did not only trigger the murder of the Yeshiva students but needlessly also rocketed Israeli dwelling areas and built tunnels for assaults on kibbuzim near the Gaza border. Israel had to do something about that since any state’s holiest duty is to protect its citizens and inhabitants from violence, from inside by police and from outside by armed forces.
      Whereas Zahal warned Palestinians and prompted them to leave the fighting zone, Hamas made civilians, including children, stay near rocket bases and installed rocket bases near hospitals and schools. Unlike Israel, Gaza had no bomb shelters not because the Gazans lacked the ability to build ones (as the tunnels prove) but because Hamas’ aim is not to protect their civilians but make “martyrs” and therefore mighty propaganda weapons of them.

    • Conrad Nadell

      Are you aware that Hamas, the ruling power in Gaza, bombarded Israeli civilian centers with thousands of rockets before Israel retaliated. Are you aware that Hamas stored and fired rockets from civilian homes as well as mosques and hospitals which made them a target of Israeli air strikes. Are you aware that the terrorists of Gaza hid in tunnels while the civilian population were told to stay in their homes even after Israel telephoned and dropped leaflets telling them their homes would be targeted because they were storage areas for armaments. I suggest you research events in Gaza before casting blame and finding fault with Israel.

  • A Sanders

    Exhibiting images of destruction in Gaza during the recent conflict initated by Hamas NOT Israel is fine. As long as it is made clear that it was Hamas that used its own people as human shields, it was Hamas who were responsible for kidnapping 3 innocent Israeli students and then torturing them and murdering them and that it was Hamas that violated the people of Gaza’s human rights and that it recognises that every sovereign state has the right to defend itself when it is threatened by complete destruction by a bunch of murderers.

  • Lynne T

    Good on Jeff Goldberg for hoisting Whit(less)son on her own foul petard.

  • victoria brandeis






  • Fred

    It a wonderful world populated by nuts. Human Rights Watch very selective in it watch a most useless organisation. Go to any Arab country where they rob the guest workers of their passport, wages, dignity as human beings while dishing out brutal punishment including beheading in the main streets Miss witless Whitson must be flattered out of her wits , tittering at these misfortunes. Israel’s defence causes her sleepless nights and paroxysm of fury .

  • SF

    Qatar probably pays her handsomely for praising them and condemning Israel. She either has never actually been there to see the truth or this can be the only reason for her corrupt bias.


    This is the same organization who has remained mum about the Jordanian pilot being burned alive but was quick to condemn Jordan’s execution of 2 convicted terrorists (who had already received the death penalty.
    P.S. Has anyone looked into who’s funding HRW? Qatar maybe????

  • Exposing The True Identity of the So-called Arab-Palestinians
    There are some modern false belief – or more exactly, lies- that we can hear everyday through the mass-media as if they were true, of course, hiding the actual truth. For example, whenever the Temple Mount or Jerusalem are mentioned, it is usually remarked that is “the third holy place for Muslims”, but why it is never said that is the FIRST Holy Place for Jews? It sounds like an utterly biased information!
    In order to make this article easier to comprehend, it will be presented in two units:
    -1) False beliefs and facts concerning the origin and identity of the so-called Arab-Palestinians;
    -2) False beliefs and facts regarding Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.
    I – Origin and identity of the so-called Arab-Palestinians
    Arab-Palestinians are the newest of all the peoples on the face of the Earth, and began to exist in a single day by a kind of supernatural phenomenon that is unique in the whole history of mankind, as it is witnessed by Walid Shoebat, a former PLO terrorist that acknowledged the lie he was fighting for and the truth he was fighting against:
    “Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became an Arab-Palestinian?”
    “We did not particularly mind Jordanian rule. The teaching of the destruction of Israel was a definite part of the curriculum, but we considered ourselves Jordanian until the Jews returned to Jerusalem. Then all of the sudden we were Arab-Palestinians – they removed the star from the Jordanian flag and all at once we had an Arab-Palestinian flag”.
    “When I finally realized the lies and myths I was taught, it is my duty as a righteous person to speak out”.
    This declaration by a true Arab “Palestinian” should have some significance for a sincerely neutral observer. Indeed, there is no such a thing like a Arab-Palestinian people, or an Arab-Palestinian culture, or an Arab-Palestinian language, or an Arab-Palestinian history. There has never been any Arab-Palestinian state, neither any Arab-Palestinian archaeological find nor coinage. The present-day “Palestinians” are an Arab people, with Arab culture, Arabic language and Arab history. They have their own Arab states from where they came into the Land of Israel about one century ago to contrast the Jewish immigration. That is the historical truth. They were Jordanians (another recent British invention, as there has never been any people known as “Jordanians”), and after the Six-Day War in which Israel utterly defeated the coalition of nine Arab states and retook legitimate possession of Judea and Samaria, the Arab dwellers in those regions underwent a kind of anthropological miracle and discovered that they were Arab-Palestinians – something they did not know the day before. Of course, these people having a new identity had to build themselves a history, namely, had to steal some others’ history, and the only way that the victims of the theft would not complain is if those victims no longer exist. Therefore, the Arab-Palestinian leaders claimed two contradictory lineages from ancient peoples that inhabited in the Land of Israel: the Canaanites and the Philistines.
    Excepts taken from reliable sources.

    How many holidays do the Arabs celebrate due to historical events in the land of ancient Israel. The Jewish people celebrate most of their holidays and fast days in memory of and the goal and aspiration to return to Israel and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem – where it was before it was destroyed and desecrated by the enemies of the Jews. Many of the Jewish prayers for thousands of years recite the love of Israel and the Jewish aspirations to return to their ancestral land and bring back its glory and holiness.

  • RichardRoe

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    Es wird empfohlen, dass Sie nicht zu dieser Website wechseln.

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    Diese Website wurde Microsoft als unsichere Website gemeldet, die möglicherweise persönliche oder Finanzinformationen offenlegt.

    Weitere Informationen Weitere Informationen

    Für diese Website wurden die folgenden Bedrohungen gemeldet: -Bedrohung durch Phishing: Bei diese Site handelt es sich um eine Phishingwebsite, die eine vertrauenswürdige Website imitiert. Hierdurch sollen Sie dazu gebracht werden, persönliche oder Finanzinformationen preiszugeben.

    Weitere Informationen zum Phishing

    Melden, dass diese Website keine Bedrohungen enthält
    Symbol für nicht empfohlen Ignorieren und fortsetzen (nicht empfohlen)

    I told them that is a safe web site!


  • Dante

    HRW has lost, rather thrown away all its credibility.

  • Clas Lehmann

    I think there are pictures from Gaza that should be displayed… Children being tought to hate, motorcycles tearing corpses, little boys given the name of jihad, merry people in the street because of someone’s been killed…

    Sorry for my basic English!

  • Ellen Gershenbaum

    a friend of mine is an attorney for hrw. i have made contributions to them…not any more.

  • CC

    Sarah Leah Whitson, you can’t be so stupid as to compare what happened to the Jews the same thing as Gaza. Jews defending themselves against attack is not genocide. During the Holocaust, nearly four thousand Jews A DAY were killed, separated from family, starved, tortured, had horrific, sadistic, and cruel experiments performed on them, including children daily, buried alive, gassed, and burned in ovens. There are no words to describe the atrocity that you alone are committing by saying such a ludicrous statement. You should be ashamed of yourself. You are a horrible and amoral person. People with so little conscience should not speak in public, and never to the press.

  • steven L

    It is not worth talking about the BBC. They must be full of orientalists and perhaps Nazis!!!
    I question the position of the BBC Tv chief Danny Cohen. Where is he hiding?

  • steven L

    Jeffrey and HRW: what about being honest: the West is responsible for the 800,000 Tutsis/Hutus mass murders; what about the 5-6Mil in RDC. Are you asking for a place in the Museum?
    I guess these are black people and you and the HRW are WHITE or Islamists or antisemites

    The Pal are self-destructive and don’t blame other for their religion-induced psychotic state.
    Shame on all of you.
    I suggest that U all read Chomsky and “On Western Terrorism”.
    U will discover that the West in the EU and US were responsible for political and economic crimes against the 3rd world! Guess who were the main power in these governments: SOCIALISTS!!! (In the US = democrats). They also deserve a place in the Museum.

  • Hinda

    HRW should lose all tax status as a charity as they pick and choose who they will stand up for but are silent to the true abusers of human rights. Their support for the very anti human rights countries and organizations prove this point.

  • steven L

    Why don’t Goldberg & HRW not suggest to replace the Holocaust with the Palestinian “hollow-caust”?

  • mr. H

    These who allude to, directly imply or outright say, that Israli self-defense is the same as Shoa are deliberate provocateurs. Repulsive.

  • pxfragonard

    Let her buy her own museum. Then she can set its policies.

  • Noel Herasfield

    Just ignore these disgusting people!They use Isreal as a cover for their genetic Antisemitism as an excuse for hating Jews. The malady is incurable!

  • Jack Kopowitz

    The Holocaust Museum should concern itself with anti-Semitism and human rights abuse against Jews, not what is happening in Syria. For “never again” to succeed the world needs to see that the seeds of the next holocaust are already sown.

  • I sure there are many Jews that want to help destroy Israel in DC that you can find to help with that or just check with Californnia Jews and ask Jstreet. the anti Semite nonprofit that intends to destroy Israel.

  • Jack

    Whitson displays a psychosis in her desire to support the likes of Khaddafi.(sp?):)

  • Marco Redwolf

    This sort of explains who Whitson is and why. No surprises here, she could be the poster girl for The Down With The Zionist Dogs Club.. No surprises here.

    See below.

    Whitson was reared by an Armenian American mother, Ashi Whitson, who was born in the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City and immigrated to the United States in 1960. Her father was from Texas. Whitson was a student at Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School for 12 years in Los Angeles and spent childhood summers with family in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

    In 1988, Whitson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, located in Berkeley, California, taking time to study abroad in Egypt.[10] In 1991, she graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from the Harvard Law School, where she was a classmate of Barack Obama’s.

    There is nothing wrong to be Pro Arab but like most ultra left, feminist liberal activists ( that’s a mouthful ) Ms Whitson is rabidly Anti Israel. What she doesn’t know she invents. She has already been discredited for her role in the phony Goldstone Report. Lets not waste any more time on her, bad enough we have the clown in the White House to talk about.

  • Wolff Bachner

    Gee Well, there is a law against criticizing anyone but us Jews. We are evil Christ and Prophet murderers and we deserve it according to these lovely people. They have no honor or shame, just endless reserves of JEW HATE AND MORE JEW HATE.

  • rachel robinson

    Thank God there are not many pictures that are being demanded by the HRW. Israel, unlike the Jewish community in Europe knew how and did protect itself fro Hamas during the Gaza War, so the Museum will not have any pictures to publish.

  • Carl

    Perhaps Qatar or the Saudis are also buying favorable assessments from HRW… Surely some outside factor must be at play to explain their unholy obsession with Israel in lieu of pursuing so many gross human rights abusers. Has anyone followed the money trail?

  • Gregg Solomon

    My comment is not very high-brow. They are stupid people.

  • Efram

    Human Rights Watch is just that. They watch as human rights are crushed, and applaud when Jews are murdered.

  • shloime

    over 200,000 syrian civilians have been killed, which somehow hardly merits a mention by the self-righteous hrw. simply based on the number of victims, one would expect more than 200 times as much attention to be paid to the ongoing slaughter in syria, but the opposite is true. and the victims are arabs in both syria and gaza (as well as in “collateral damage” from american drone attacks in yemen and iraq), so hrw’s preoccupation must be based on an inherent anti-israel bias.

  • Mickey Oberman

    I hope the museum has nothing to do with the so called Human Rights Watch.

    They should treat it as the bigoted pariah that it deserves.

  • citizenstat

    HRW’s Middle East director’s suggestion that the Holocaust museum display pictures from Gaza bespeaks a corrupt cynicism that is beyond measure. She and the organization that employs her are without honor, and the truth is not in them.

  • Michael Fox

    Human Rights Watch watches human rights abuse all over the world and says nothing. Never one to miss an opportunity to condemn Israel, this joke of an organization is a large financial beneficiary of Israel’s enemies….. of which there is no shortage. It’s the Jewish thing.

    Ignore them.

  • Jerry Beigel

    Perhaps a published record of major donations to HRW already has been done. If not, it should be. Often, “follow the money” is a go-to method to discover why people and organizations act as they do.

  • Lyone

    HRW is on crack

  • Reuven

    Even the founder of the so-called “Human Rights Watch,” who is no longer a member of it, has condemned the anti-Semitioc bigtry of that horrendous, pro-terrorist organization!

  • Ben Gruder

    Sarah Leah Whitson is a nit-‘whit’.

  • BH in Iowa

    If Gaza wants a Holocaust museum…. there is one way to earn one.

  • Gee

    More migrant workers have been killed by Qatar than Hamas terrorists that have died in combat, yet Qatar has never been condemned for their international war crimes.

    • Markus E Brajtman

      Of course Quatar is never condemned, nor are any Islamic countries,


      The Arabs are masters at spreading lies and hatred against Israel and Jews, and the world believes this.