The other war against Israel
NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based watchdog group, sent out a statement today that reads, in part:
Signaling the continuing decline of the organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has appointed Shawan Jabarin, an alleged senior activist in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization, to its Middle East Advisory Board. . . . "This appointment ends any façade that Human Rights Watch is a moral 'watchdog' organization," says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. "Mr. Jabarin has ties to the PFLP terror group, which specialized in aircraft hijackings and carries out suicide bombings and political assassinations. He also heads an organization, Al Haq, which is among the leaders of delegitimization campaigns targeting Israel. This appointment is a slap in the face from HRW Executive Director Ken Roth and Chairman James Hoge to terror victims, Israelis, Jews, and others who seek to uphold universal human rights. "With this appointment, HRW blatantly disregards decisions by the Israeli Supreme Court and other countries that have affirmed Jabarin's terror links. Jordan also has denied him exit visas because of his alleged terrorist ties to the PFLP.
As reported by NGO Monitor, the Israeli Supreme Court in June 2007 referred to Jabarin as a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," a human rights worker by day and a terrorist by night. In 2008, the Supreme Court upheld a visa denial because of his terror connections....
This appointment is the latest of numerous moral failings, scandals and biases that have exposed HRW as a political advocacy organization. In May 2009, as NGO Monitor exposed, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) division director Sarah Leah Whitson went to Saudi Arabia to raise funds, selling the message that HRW counters "pro-Israel pressure groups." Last year, the revelation of HRW "senior military analyst" Marc Garlasco's Nazi memorabilia obsession further damaged the organization's credibility. (Garlasco was fired, but an investigation never occurred.). . . As donations decreased amid the scandals, George Soros rescued HRW with a 10-year, $100 million donation. Mr. Soros also funds Al Haq."
Soros, of course, also founded and continues to fund the faux pro-Israel group, J Street, which, like HRW, devotes a disproportionate amount of its time and effort aiding in the delegitimization efforts of Israel's enemies (e.g. escorting Richard Goldstone around Capitol Hill, urging Obama not to veto a condemnation in the U.N. of Israel).
In a sign of increased willingness to combat those NGO's that are nothing more than combatants in the war to delegitimize Israel, an Israeli official authorized to speak only on background had this reaction in response to my request for comment:
"This unfortunately comes as no surprise. HRW has a consistent track record of institutional bias against Israel and as an organization lacks any credibility when it comes to the Jewish state. HRW is known to hire people to do their Middle East work who do not have a human rights background but rather a background of activism in radical Arab advocacy groups."
The official also pointed to its past fundraising in Saudi Arabia, remarking, "Isn't that a bit like feminists fundraising with the Taliban?"
This incident raises several key issues. First, it is further justification for Israeli efforts to require that NGO's disclose their foreign funding. Second, it should be incumbent on media outlets not to use HRW as a source for unbiased material or comment. The group has proven over and over again that it is an antagonist of the Jewish state and not a neutral observer. And finally, why should the Israeli government, especially the Israeli Defense Forces, continue to cooperate with HRW? Allowing HRW access to the battlefield or other data certainly isn't going to impact the group's ideological commitment. Rather, it enhances its image as a real "human rights" group.
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