Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Human Rights Watch Hopes No-one Is Watching

David Berenstein, a law professor at George Mason University, writes in the Wall Street Journal that an official of Human Rights Watch used the organization's anti-Israeli positions as a fund-raising pitch in Saudi Arabia.
Finally, some would defend HRW by pointing it that it has criticized Saudi Arabia's human rights record rather severely in the past. The point of my post, though, is not that HRW is pro-Saudi, but that it is maniacally anti-Israel. The most recent manifestation is that its officers see nothing unseemly about raising funds among the elite of one of the most totalitarian nations on earth, with a pitch about how the money is needed to fight "pro-Israel forces," without the felt need to discuss any of the Saudis' manifold human rights violations, and without apparent concern that becoming dependent on funds emanating from a brutal dictatorship leaves you vulnerable to that brutal dictatorship later cutting off the flow of funds, if you don't "behave."

Jeffrey Goldberg found the allegation hard to believe, since if it was true it would severely compromise HRW. So he did what fine journalists used to do but don't always anymore: he asked Kenneth Roth, the boss of HRW. And then asked again. And again. Quite persistently, and not allowing Roth to weasel out of the issue. He presents most of the correspondence, and eventually admits that, yes, HRW is essentially guilty as accused.

Read the whole thing, as Glenn Reynolds often says.

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