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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Human Rights Watch 'repenting'?

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

YNet reports that 'Human Rights Watch' may be recognizing the need to restore its 'moral standing' by taking a more unbiased view of Israel.
One such sign was evident in Iain Levine’s Tel Aviv press conference presenting HRW’s 2010 World Report. Levine focused on Israel’s potential as a moral advocate on the issue of banning “blood diamonds” mined under abusive conditions in Zimbabwe. He also noted Israel’s “positive movement” toward investigating Gaza war operations, especially as compared to Hamas’ lack of initiative.

While he repeated allegations about the “increasingly disastrous blockade of Gaza” and IDF misuse of white phosphorous, Levine also mentioned rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, brutal internal repression by Hamas under the cover of war, and the endemic lack of accountability for torture in the Palestinian Authority.

A week after the Tel Aviv press conference, HRW announced that James F. Hoge Jr. will replace Jane Olson as the chair of HRW’s board. Choosing a leader with expertise on China may signify a shift in HRW’s obsessive attention on the Middle East. Perhaps, under Hoge, HRW will devote more of its resources to substantively addressing severe human rights abuses in that emerging Asian superpower.

In contrast to HRW’s disproportionate criticism of Israel in 2009, the organization issued a more even-handed press release following the publication of Hamas’ response to the Goldstone Report: “Gaza: Hamas Report Whitewashes War Crimes” (January 28, 2010).

"Hamas can spin the story and deny the evidence, but hundreds of rockets rained down on civilian areas in Israel where no military installations were located," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at HRW. This condemnation received wide media coverage.
Of course, not all the news is positive.
When UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared that Israel’s investigation system for alleged violations of the Law of Armed Conflict is comparable to the systems in leading democratic nations, HRW quickly criticized Israel and Ban. Senior researcher Fred Abrahams accused Ban of avoiding the issue, and HRW continued to call for an “independent investigation”. Levine’s praise of “positive movement” was swept under the rug.
Read the whole thing.

I don't expect HRW to become pro-Israel any time soon. In fact, I doubt they'll even become unbiased. But if they'd shift their focus elsewhere, that would be a major improvement.

By the way, I understand that Garlasco's name no longer appears on HRW's web site, but HRW has had nothing to say about him. Hmmm.


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