Powered by WebAds

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Joe Stork's crime against humanity

You may recall that last Sunday I posted a translation of an article by Ben Dror Yemini from Friday's Ma'ariv that ripped the mask off Human Rights Watch's Joe Stork, who wrote the NGO's report on Operation Cast Lead that accused Israel of shooting eleven white-flag-bearing 'Palestinians' in seven separate incidents. Stork responded to Yemini's charges in a letter that was linked by Noah Pollak on Contentions on Saturday. In his Ma'ariv column on Friday, Ben Dror Yemini fisked Stork's letter. Here are some highlights (Hat Tip: Dave H). Stork's accusations are in italics and Yemini's response in normal font.
"On August 13, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing instances in January in which Israeli soldiers killed Palestinian civilians who were waving white flags to convey their civilian status. Government spokespersons sought to dismiss the report by calling Human Rights Watch biased. But to date no critic has disputed the facts about the seven incidents in the report, in which soldiers shot and killed 11 unarmed civilians, including four children and five women."

One of the main stories in the HRW's report relates to Abd Rabbo family, that three of her daughters were shot in cold blood, despite the fact that they raised a white flag, and despite the fact that fighting was not in the area. The case was published extensively on many newspapers around the world. A special report of Tamar Sternhal from CAMERA found out significant contradictions in the testimonies of the family members and the neighbors. Sternhal test was much more meticulous than the HRW report, and was posted on 4.2.09 - long before the publication of the report of HRW. It was ignored by the HRW team. Even the “Times Magazine” published a contradicting testimony about the Abed Rabbo affair, but again, it was ignored by HRW.

And indeed, it is becoming clear that HRW carried out negligent and non-serious work. All of the incidents appearing in the report were known to the IDF. The report itself did not add anything. Moreover, the claim that, "no critic has disputed the facts about the seven incidents," is a total lie. On the contrary, regarding five of the seven incidents, it was decided to open Military Police investigations, meaning that the IDF is carrying out a serious inquiry. If there are discrepancies – they are being thoroughly examined.

HRW adopts the opposite method. Videos have been published of Hamas personnel exploiting civilians and hiding behind white flags. These were even published on YouTube. Is there even one word – one! – about this in the HRW report? Of course not.

In the same video, it should be pointed out, the terrorist hides in a house from which civilians are waving white flags. The terrorist was apprehended. The civilians were not hurt. It is no coincidence that the film's findings were not refuted in the HRW report because when the target is painted in advance – the delegitimization of Israel – the facts will not confuse Stork and his people. While photographic testimony that refutes the findings of the report receives no comment, the testimony of Palestinians living in the shadow of Hamas's reign of terror receives top billing. Is this testimony serious? NGO Monitor responded to this and refuted HRW's claims. But Stork, as is his custom, takes no notice.

Many claims have been made against Israel. Israel did not ignore them. On the contrary, many of these claims were refuted in detail, in a 163-page Foreign Ministry report that was issued on 29.7.09. The HRW report, which was issued two weeks later (13.8.09), ignores most of them, just as the video was ignored because this is what HRW does. Stork is not even interested in checking; he wants delegitimization.

"Now, again instead of addressing our research, Mr. Yemini has launched a personal attack on me, which the Israeli government has dutifully translated and distributed. The quotes he attributes to me are more than 30 years old. Most of them I do not recognize, and they are contrary to the views I have expounded for decades now. For instance, selective excerpts about the Munich massacre come from an unsigned editorial that appeared 37 years ago where at the time I was one of seven volunteers that produced the publication. All my work since then shows that I would never support such an attack. For nearly 40 years, I have been documenting, writing, and speaking out on injustices by virtually all of the governments and many non-state armed groups in the Middle East. This work is readily available – including at Middle East Report magazine, which I edited through 1995, and at Human Rights Watch since then – but Mr. Yemini did not include these many statements, undoubtedly because they did not support his claims. Had he looked at the hundreds of statements, articles and reports I’ve written since the 1970s, he would have found exposés of Saddam Hussein’s murderous regime and my report for Human Rights Watch on war crimes by Palestinian suicide bombers. I have dedicated much of my adult life to the protection of human rights for all and to fighting the idea that civilians can be attacked for political reasons. Ma'ariv and Mr. Yemini owe me an apology."

Indeed, it is clear that Stork does not deny even one of the claims that I raised. He simply claims that there are his remarks from many years ago. Has Stork disavowed his very problematic past with the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP)? Indeed, in an article he wrote in 1993 on US-Israel relations, Stork expresses very similar positions to those he expressed in his MERIP days. Moreover, many footnotes in the same article direct the reader to remarks written in MERIP years before. This means that not only has there been no turning point but a reiteration and continuation of the past. And it should be clear that Stork was for the Israelis just as the KKK activist would be for the Afro-Americans.

Let us continue. Stork claims that HRW published condemnations of Saddam Hussein and Palestinian suicide terrorists. This is the case, there indeed were additional reports. But these reports do not pass the proportionality test. Among countless human rights violations around the world in which Israel has a marginal and small place, HRW sees fit to issue countless reports precisely on Israel, a disproportionality that indicates a pre-selected goal and Stork's special logic. Even when HRW issues a condemnation of a Palestinian action, Stork adds clarifications of his own [in a 2001 BBC report]: "Most of the [Palestinian] security officers have been in Israeli jails." Yes, the Stork of the past is no different from the Stork of today.

Stork's headline-grabber has to do with the equivocal support issued by MERIP in the wake of the Munich massacre: I was "one of seven volunteers," he tries to claim. Not exactly. Stork was one of MERIP's founders and the chief editor of the journal which published a statement in support of the massacre. It is a pity that Stork does not read his own CV as it appears on HRW's official website. The determination that the action was "an important boost in morale" for the Palestinians is part of the sequence of other remarks, including opposition to recognizing Israel, encouraging Arab countries to struggle against Israel, etc.


It is permitted to criticize Israel. But HRW has lost the moral right to do so. He who in the past has called for the elimination of Israel; he who supports, directly or indirectly, the boycott of Israel, cannot become an objective critic. There is a need for an international struggle for human rights. But bodies such as HRW hurt this important struggle. They become the prop of the world's darkest regimes. Instead of saying unequivocally that such a regime, such an ideology, such an element – has no right to exist, the HRW is waging a struggle that is not a criticism of Israel, but rather wild slander against Israel. True, there is marginal criticism against Hamas. But criticism of Israel is the main point. And therefore, for the sake of returning human rights to its proper standing, it is time for HRW to cleanse its ranks.

The very existence of a group like Hamas is a crime against humanity. Stork and HRW find it difficult to understand this. On the contrary, in their crude attack, in their delegitimization of Israel, they are parties to this crime.
An English translation of the full article is here. Yemini nailed him.


At 6:15 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its acceptable to subject Israel to criticism no other country ever faces and the bulk of it is libel, slander and defamation. What Israel's government doesn't get is Israel will never receive a fair hearing from a world predisposed to believe the worst of Jews. The Joe Storks of the world will always have the last word. It is a crime against humanity what they are doing but I don't see that ever being punished. 60 years after the end of the Holocaust, the world remains as inhospitable to Jews as ever.

At 6:23 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Do you think HRW are looking to add a new expert on Human Rights Issues in the middle east? Since the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi has been released from jail, it only makes sense that HRW will invite him to join their group!!! After all he knows a lot about human right abuses in the middle east and therefore he should fit them perfectly!!


Post a Comment

<< Home