Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Human Rights Watch Watch - From the Top

Richard L. Bernstein was a founder of Human Rights Watch, and its chairman for two decades (1978-1998). Yesterday he published an op-ed in the New York Times telling how the organization has lost its way. It was set up to guard human rights in countries where there is no-one to do so; there are alas many such countries. Instead, it obsessively fulminates against Israel, a country with all the tools to investigate itself:
Yet in recent years Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region.
Israel, with a population of 7.4 million, is home to at least 80 human rights organizations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government, a judiciary that frequently rules against the government, a politically active academia, multiple political parties and, judging by the amount of news coverage, probably more journalists per capita than any other country in the world — many of whom are there expressly to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Meanwhile, the Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent. The plight of their citizens who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide is being ignored as Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel.

Bernstein's vision for HRW is the sort of thing any right-minded person would support, and such an organization would be a source of pride. Instead, the noble agenda of human rights has been hijacked to serve as a handmaiden to the worst mankind has to offer.

Do you think the present team at HRW will listen to Bernstein? Can they listen? Can anything reach them?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

More pro Israeli anti-Goldstone report propaganda. How about the NY Times do a little investigation into the influences AIPAC has on reports coming out of New York and Washington.