This article by Robert Bernstein is one of the most thought-provoking articles I have read in a long time. Bernstein discusses Human Rights Watch, the highly-respected think tank based in New York, New York which explores and investigates Human Rights abuses throughout the world. Bernstein chastises the organization, stating that it “has lost critical perspective on a conflict in which Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations that go after Israeli citizens and use their own people as human shields. These groups are supported by the government of Iran, which has openly declared its intention not just to destroy Israel but to murder Jews everywhere. This incitement to genocide is a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”
The argument is not novel, as several organizations and newspapers have labeled HRW as biased before (see examples here and here). However, Bernstein is the founder of HRW, its active chairman for twenty years, and its founding chairman emeritus. Wow. For such a prominent member of an organization to come out and speak on this topic is really eye opening. His points are very well-taken, and it will be interesting to see the aftermath of his op-ed.
HRW responded by saying “Human Rights Watch does not devote more time and energy to Israel than to other countries in the region, or in the world. We’ve produced more than 1,700 reports, letters, news releases, and other commentaries on the Middle East and North Africa since January 2000, and the vast majority of these were about countries other than Israel. Furthermore, our Middle East division is only one of 16 research programs at Human Rights Watch. The work on Israel is a tiny fraction of Human Rights Watch’s work as a whole.”
In light of the Goldstone report, this is particularly interesting: on the same day as Bernstein’s op-ed, HRW issued a press release calling for Hamas to address attacks on Israeli civilians cited in the Goldstone report. What do you think?