In a comment to one of my posts, someone suggested that there is proof positive that Israel is the bad guy in all this — Human Rights Watch has condemned it. Clearly, when an organization dedicated to watching out for Human Rights condemns Israel, Israel must be at fault, right? Weeell, not really. HRW has a few problems with Israel, most notably the fact that it is obsessed with it, and disproportionately focuses on its faults to the exclusion of most other actors in the world [article hyperlinks omitted]:
Notable in the second category of reflexive Israel-bashers is Kenneth Roth, whose organization Human Rights Watch posted on its website a statement called “Israel Responsible for Qana Attack: Indiscriminate Bombing in Lebanon a War Crime.” According to his staff biography, Roth, who has been executive director of Human Rights Watch since 1993, “was drawn to the human rights cause in part by his father’s experience fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938.” Roth is a graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, and served, among other things, as a federal prosecutor for the Iran-Contra investigation.
This disproportionate interest in Israel is of course not new to Kenneth Roth and Human Rights Watch. Israeli professor Gerald Steinberg notes:
As a detailed NGO Monitory study has shown, between 2001 and 2004, during the height of the terror attacks against Israel, HRW focused one-third of its entire Middle East effort on condemnations directed at Israel. This went far beyond legitimate criticism, and suggested an obsession. Far more pages, reports, press conferences, letters, films, and photography-exhibits sponsored by HRW were devoted to allegations against Israel than to the slaughter taking place in Sudan, or the Palestinian terror campaign [itself].
And just lately, Roth was involved in an exchange with Israeli law professor Avi Bell and the editors of the New York Sun in that newspaper’s pages. In his July 31 letter to the Sun responding to Bell’s July 25 article there, Roth asserted: “An eye for an eye—or more accurately in this case twenty eyes for an eye—may have been the morality of some more primitive moment.”
The Sun replied that same day in an editorial:
Mr. Roth concludes his letter with a slur on the Jewish religion itself that is breathtaking in its ignorance. . . . To suggest that Judaism is a ‘primitive’ religion incompatible with contemporary morality is to engage in supersessionism, the de-legitimization of Judaism, the basis of much anti-Semitism.”
And in Bell’s response, also that day, he noted:
nearly all HRW documents released since the onset of fighting on July 12 . . . focus their very partisan criticisms on Israel. HRW’s and Mr. Roth’s near-silence on Hezbollah’s, Lebanon’s, Syria’s and Iran’s crimes and obsessive accusations about Israel even in the absence of evidence of crimes speak volumes about Mr. Roth’s and his organization’s patently political, non-legal and nonobjective agenda.”