Human Rights Watch ignored human wrongs

"How much sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child," cried King Lear. Robert Bernstein, the founder of the now misnamed group Human Rights Watch certainly feels that way about his child. Dismayed and appalled at the actions and activities of the organization he created, he left it, mainly because of its unnatural and unfair focus on Israel.

However, still believing he can do something for human rights he started a new one, Advancing Human Rights, where, at an organizational pre launch, he explained his

renunciation of his child and his hopes for his new baby.

According to him, Human Rights Watch

became another critical voice by joining other human rights organizations already doing this in an open society. Some of these human rights organizations have gone one step further and decided to become arbiter in wars and believe that the Geneva Conventions, rules of war and international law are a major human rights concern.

This has been particularly true in Israel's fight with the Arab world, and centered, of course, on the Israel-Palestine problems just as the Arabs wished. I found myself having sharp disagreements with the actions and statements of Human Rights Watch concerning the Middle East and, in my view, the board's increasing unwillingness to address these differences. Following my op-ed in the New York Times on Oct. 19, 2009 in which I said Human Rights Watch was a major voice in trying to make Israel into a pariah state, I have had no contact with the board.

It is probably just as well that my differences with some of the leading human rights organizations be aired publicly and that those who share my views pursue our own course. I believe genocide is one of the worst, if not the worst human rights offenses and should be instantly opposed. As you know, Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas have declared it is their intention to commit genocide of not only Israelis but all Jews.

Some human rights organizations, like Human Rights Watch, do not condemn incitement to genocide, Arab hate speech being spewed daily in Gaza, particularly, and Saudi textbooks being taught to young children calling Jews "monkeys and pigs." Hate speech is the precursor to genocide. I understand giving hate speech a lot of latitude in an open society where it is sure to be criticized - but in a closed society it goes unanswered and encouraged by the government, governments that control all the media.


Human Rights Watch believes it is its job to protect civilians on both sides in a war. This is where we really disagree. In the Israel-Palestine conflict they cannot protect either side.

In addition

[T]heir methodology which is to analyze a war after it is over is flawed and in my view its staff has little knowledge of the realities of asymmetric war and makes accusations of war crimes where others would understand the sad collateral damage of war. In the Israel-Palestine war, it seems to me, the Israelis are usually the party accused. Hamas, I believe, is fighting a war of attrition, and doesn't subscribe to the Geneva conventions etc.

Meanwhile, over at Human Rights Watch, Sarah Leah Whitson, their Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division was busy proving Bernstein's claims of bias as reported  by a real watchdog, NGO (Non Governmental Organizations) Monitor. While repeatedly condemning Israel, Whiston sang the praises of Qaddafi and his son Seif, for bringing about a Tripoli Spring.

In 2009, Sarah Leah Whitson, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch (HRW), visited Libya, claiming to have discovered a "Tripoli spring." In particular, Whitson praised Muammar Qaddafi's son Seif Islam as a leading reformer. In two articles promoting this facade of reform, she repeatedly praised him for creating an "expanded space for discussion and debate."

Perhaps Whitson was impressed by Seif's Ph.D dissertation on a civil society from the London School in Economics, supposedly written by someone else. Of course the Qaddafis donated millions to the school.

Blatantly twisted analysis such as this helps explain why intelligence agencies in this country and Europe have had such failures in dealing with the Muslim world.

Will Bernstein's baby grow up into another rebellious adolescent with mutual renunciation or will it be a real advocate for real human rights? Time will tell.

hat tip: CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America)