August 16, 2009

From Munich to Gaza

For a long time now I've thought Human Rights Watch produced more reliable reports than Amnesty International, though after reading this I may need to re-evaluate my opinion.

UPDATE: I posted the link above when I was short on time. For those of you who don't feel like clicking on it, the gist is that the author of a recent Human Rights Watch report about Israeli soldiers in Gaza supported the infamous massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics by terrorists in the Palestinian Liberation Organization. And that's just for starters.

David T at the leftist British blog Harry's Place is aghast at Human Rights Watch, an organization that perhaps should change its name.

Assuming that this is all correct, hiring a very extreme Communist, with simply horrendous views about Israel/Palestine to produce a report of this sort is akin hiring a man who was formerly active in the KKK to write about black people and crime. Fundraising for this sort of work in Saudi Arabia is like taking cash for this enterprise from the old Apartheid South Africa.

[...]

There is a value in impartial and properly researched criticism of the conduct of combatants in armed conflicts. However, by hiring a man whose ideological background is vicious, at least in the case of Israel, they have utterly disqualified themselves from performing this important task.

UPDATE: David Bernstein at The Volokh Conspiracy has published a limited defense of Joe Stork.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 16, 2009 2:01 PM
Comments
Noah Pollak has written much about HRW's anti-Israel biaxs lately. Though long known, lately it seems to have gotten rather severe, with their raising money in wonderful Saudi Arabia to fight "Pro-Israel pressure groups.". Incredible.
Posted by: calbear at August 16, 2009 10:58 pm
The Ma'ariv article is pretty thin soure material, even by the very low standards of Commentary. But I suppose when the messenger must be shot at all costs any ammo will suffice.
Posted by: Big Jilm at August 17, 2009 3:33 pm
Bil Jilm,
Pot, meet kettle.
According to Wikipedia, the author of the article (who is not employed or even published by Commentary) "supports the Two-state solution and opposes the settlements in the West Bank. He argues that the extreme right and the extreme left lead to the same goal of One-state solution. His articles concerning the Israeli-Arab conflict and his comparative studies led him to become the most translated Israeli journalist and a widely invited speaker about criticism of Israel."
By all means, though, shoot the messenger if that makes you feel better. You might as well since you're taking a gratuitous shot at Commentary, which isn't even the messenger.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 17, 2009 3:39 pm
I said the linked source material was thin gruel, which it is, seeing as it is bereft of supporting detail and the only direct quotes appear to be decades old and are provided without any context.
To that assertion you apparently have no rebuttal aside from entirely irrelevant excerpts from the author's Wikipedia bio. Since I didn't say one word about the author of the piece, it occurs to me that you may wish to google "shooting the messenger" as you apparently don't understand the meaning of the phrase. I simply noted as an aside that the piece comes via Commentary, which has sadly fallen far from its distinguished roots into bog-standard conservative hackery. The Ma'ariv article is poorly-sourced and poorly-argued irrespective of whether it appears in Ma'ariv, Commentary, Foreign Affairs, or JAMA.
Posted by: Big Jilm at August 17, 2009 4:15 pm
do we need a report to know what happens their.
the interent is full with videos and commentaries from israeli soldiers confessing that they did war crimes, using phosphorus bombs, using illegal and banned weapons, bombing UN facilities.
The truth hurts, but it is the truth. When someone puts his finger in a wound the cries rise and he becomes a victim of the dark communist forces working in the dark to destroy Israel, the land of eqiuality and justice between all races and religions.
Posted by: akram sabra at August 17, 2009 10:12 pm
do we need a report to know what happens their.
the internet is full with videos and commentaries from Israeli soldiers confessing that they did war crimes, using phosphorus bombs, using illegal and banned weapons, bombing UN facilities.
The truth hurts, but it is the truth. When someone puts his finger in a wound the cries rise and he becomes a victim of the dark communist forces working in the dark to destroy Israel, the land of equality and justice between all races and religions.
Posted by: akram sabra at August 17, 2009 10:13 pm
Gutter journalism. Thinly sourced, with perhaps one solid quote, and based on inherently offensive logic.
Whoever this guy is, he may or may not have held nasty, offensive opinions about Israel and the Palestinians in the 1970s. I mean, this article is vague, poorly written, and probably deliberately misleading in several places that I'll go on to name, but I can certainly imagine that he might have held such opinions. I don't like those opinions. I'd be bothered if I heard them in person.
However - judge Human Rights Watch on the quality of its published work. If Joe Stork puts out an op-ed anytime soon, or even gives a public speech where he goes on about how the Munich shootings were great stuff, you have a case against Joe Stork - and a *marginal* case that HRW was unwise in hiring him, which is a very long way from the stupid, hackish argument that HRW's reports are thus inaccurate due to some bias you're extrapolated from a single employee. But you don't even have that much.
I'm really very tired of demagogues who attempt to establish entire organizations as out to get Israel and terrorism supporters because they may have hired one dude who may have said some offensive crap about Israel 40 flipping years ago. You know who also said some nasty stuff 40 years ago? Ariel Sharon and Yitzchak Shamir, for starters. They didn't just speak, either - they were coldblooded killers of innocents. Another guy who probably used to say some offensive stuff is Mahmoud Abbas. And how about that finance minister everyone likes so much. What's his name again? Are you *sure* he's on record as having never made any nasty, terrorism-supporting cracks?
While we're at it, the article also feels free to call this guy a "supporter" of Saddamn Hussein because they once both attended a conference. On that criteria we can also establish Donald Rumsfeld as a Saddamn supporter. Give me a break.
Meanwhile, here's what I found when I clicked on HRW's subsection of reports dealing with Israel/Palestine:
http://www.hrw.org/en/search/apachesolr_search/hamas+language%3Aen+tid%3A228?
Gaza: Investigate Abduction, Torture by Islamic Jihad
Palestinian Authority: End Rocket Attacks on Civilians
Israel/PA: Armed Groups Should Halt Attacks on Civilians
Occupied Palestinian Territories: Factions Must Stop Endangering Civilians
Gaza: Shootings Inquiry Should Lead to Prosecutions
Gaza: Armed Palestinian Groups Commit Grave Crimes
Letter to Hamas to Stop Rocket Attacks
Occupied Palestinian Territories: Groups Should Treat Captives Humanely
Occupied Palestinian Territories: New Arrests Highlight Abuses by Hamas, Fatah
Occupied Palestinian Territories: Hamas Must Order Permanent End to Civilian Attacks
Palestinian Authority: Hamas Must Condemn Attacks on Civilians
I encourage readers to go to HRW and read their publications themselves, rather than go along with this sort of cheap manipulation.
I don't know what is wrong with you, Mike. You're supposed to be a professional. You're supposed to give me the impression that you do serious research on your field, and that you use rational criteria for evaluating the integrity of your sources. You're supposed to be able to form your opinion on the reliability of such groups, for example, based on questions like: "Are the statements in the reports accurate"? "Do the reports represent the reality of events as they occur?" Are the principles of the behavioral standards they advocate for consistently applied"?
Instead, you've written publicly that you're having 2nd thoughts about one of the few groups out there with any record whatsoever for said consistency because some hack drags up 40-year old quotes from source documents you haven't even read?
Why don't you do some journalism for once- get the guy on the phone and ask him what his views are today, instead of reaching for the gasoline.
For everything I find on this site that I genuinely enjoy, there's another post that needs to never have been born.
Posted by: glasnost at August 17, 2009 10:54 pm
Glasnost: judge Human Rights Watch on the quality of its published work.
I generally do. But there are lines which no writers should cross.
If you found out I sympathized with, say, Timothy McVeigh (to pick a random odious example), I'm pretty sure you'd dismiss pretty everything I publish. And you would be right to do so unless there was a public record of a serious attitude adjustment on my part.
If Stork refutes this, or demonstrates that he's no longer a terrorist supporter, I'll link to it.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 17, 2009 11:19 pm
By the way, in case you think the author is just making stuff up, I found some of those quotes from Stork and his MERIP organization using Google's advanced search. They predate the publication of the Ma'ariv article.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 17, 2009 11:27 pm
Yes, let's go to that search page and enter Hamas. How much does HRW have on Hamas? At the bottom you can tell because it says "[page] 1 of 5" - in other words 5 pages of articles on Hamas. Is that a lot or a little? Let's look at some other bastions of human rights in the Mideast:
Iran: 1 of 21, of course that's a much bigger country
Saudi Arabia: 1 of 15
Syria, well-known human rights paradise: 1 of 12
And then ... Israel: 1 of 23. I'll leave it to others to pro-rate by population.
You don't have a damn thing to apologize for, Michael. As for glasnost, I wish he'd be honest just for once and admit he'd be much happier if Israel simply didn't exist.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at August 17, 2009 11:29 pm
A few more:
Myanmar - 1 of 5
Zimbabwe - 1 of 7
Sudan - 1 of 18, not bad for a 15-year genocide
HRW is watching human rights, all right. They just watch harder in some places than in others.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at August 17, 2009 11:41 pm
@Michael
What are the lines that no writers should cross?
the issue that Storck has written about is not about terrorists, it is about Humans who happen to live and die in a conflict zone and who have been killed and massacred, to talk about them is a border Every journalist and person should cross and write and talk about.
To label and to categorize a region,a town,a family not even an animal species by a small sub group or individual, it is simply unjust and your view would be biased and many will suffer unjustly from this view. Suppose a dog in the USA or Europe bites an innocent lil baby and kills it, do you consider all the pet dogs as Terrorists and put them on the axis of Evil.
The issue is about Mass Punishment, which translates into War Crimes, Hamas was not a saint in this matter, it targetted civilians with explosives, this is also a war crime, and most of the world criticized it , but why when a report is written about Israeli Human rights abuse the whole world shouts "Foul" you have crossed the line.
You Michael knows more than the others about the real situation in Gaza, you know about the civilian casualties, you and everyone know about the horrible living situations and the continuation of the siege. Who will suffer in a siege of a small land territory, the babies the old the pregnant women.
Posted by: akram sabra at August 18, 2009 12:09 am
We all know about the "real situation" in Gaza, sabra - it is run by a band of evil savages who are formally sworn to the annihilation of Jews. Israel *pulled out* of Gaza, and was rewarded with a rain of rockets on its nearby towns. If any of your Arab "brothers" had been subjected to the same they would have retaliated with a violence far beyond anything Israel has ever done to the Palestinians, so spare me your crocodile tears about "Mass Punishment" and "War Crimes".
Posted by: Gary Rosen at August 18, 2009 12:35 am
I used to hold HWR in respect.
Not anymore, not after they decided to go hit Saudis for money (it is possible we do not know full extent of it).
As far as I am concerned HWR no longer exists and all their previous reports cannot be trusted.
Posted by: leo at August 18, 2009 5:18 am
From the Weekly Standard Article "Watching Human Rights Watch Implode"
Here you have a group (HRW) that claims to be at the forefront of global efforts to end impunity and stop war crimes that is attacking a UN tribunal which has spent well over a decade working to end impunity and bring justice to the victims of the Rwandan genocide. The Tribunal is not buying HRW's efforts to peddle its own (insane) historical narrative: that all parties in 1994 engaged in war crimes and are to some degree equally culpable.
HRW claims that the RPF killed 25,000 to 45,000 people. It's a claim that the UN tribunal, for one, does not seem to agree is rooted in fact and does not take into account: (a) the reality on the ground -- that Kagame and his forces (the RPF) were trying to root out a civilian militia (the interahamwe) that was fully integrated into the local population and weren't exactly wearing uniforms; (b) the fact that the interahamwe and the then-Rwandan Army (known as the FAR), killed 800,000-1,000,000 people by comparison; and (c) that in the handful of cases where RPF soldiers did step out of line, they were prosecuted -- to the satisfaction of the UN Tribunal no less.
But as is the case with HRW's activity in the Middle East, the group's statements and reports appear to be driven almost entirely by the ideology and politics of its staff -- and the need to do damage control. Earlier this month HRW finally released a report on the the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas against Israeli citizens. The report concludes that these attacks were "unlawful." Did it take HRW six months to reach that conclusion, or did the group simply feel the need to show just a little even-handedness after the Saudi fundraising story had become such an embarrassment for the organization?
Just remember -- an organization that criticizes the American government for violations of international law has among its senior staff a man who celebrated the "achievement" of murdering eleven Jews on the Olympic stage. The Rwandans, the Israelis, and our own government officials might be forgiven for thinking that Human Rights Watch ought to get its own house in order before pointing the finger at democratically elected officials who are trying to make the best of bad situations.
It's not just about Israel.
As is often the case with petrodollar-funded "human rights" organizations and their supporters, the primary goal is to attack American hyperpower - and anyone who prefers American-aided military action to NGO inaction. As William Schultz, director of Amnesty International said of the Iraq war:
I think it reflects a rather wholesale disregard for international institutions, for a multilateral framework in which to conduct U.S. foreign policy. I don
Posted by: maryatexitzero at August 18, 2009 6:29 am
Suppose a dog in the USA or Europe bites an innocent lil baby and kills it, do you consider all the pet dogs as Terrorists and put them on the axis of Evil.
Suppose a large number of people trained their dogs to specifically attack some people on command, and that they were in fact using their dogs to inflict vicious maulings on people who belonged to groups they didn't like. And suppose a large percentage of Americans vocally supported that. And further suppose that the government of the United States and the various law enforcement agencies did a "wink-wink, nudge-nudge" about it while they pretended to be outraged and denied responsibility? What would you say then?
Posted by: programmmer_craig at August 18, 2009 2:26 pm
Human Rights Watch puts their members' safety at stake every day, taking a stand against the kind of behavior that got Saddamn Hussein his name. Saddamn Hussein was still the same guy he was when we were merilly defending him in public and selling him satellite data and chemical precursors, but Human Rights Watch was out there getting stories and documentations of abuse out into the public domain. They're one of a handful - maybe three- organizations with the credibility and global reach to get facts about abusive state behavior into the public domain.
That doesn't mean, of course, that bias is impossible or work is above criticism. All you have to do is find something to criticise in *the work*. (and I have no doubt someone is up to this task!)
If you want to say that you think HRW made a poor hiring choice by hiring this guy and you want people to pay attention to his work lest the looming israel-hatred break free, that's also reasonable - although personally, despite my love for accountablity, I don't think even terrible statements from more than two decades ago should be grounds for permanent unemployment, lacking a continued record of the same kinds of offensiveness. A lot of leftists have grown up since the 70's; Strom Thurmond & Jesse Helms made some biased, hateful, racist remarks back in the day, but managed to refrain from openly peddling segregationism in the 90's.
This message was poorly written, because it suggests some sort of sea change, some sort of takeover, or some sort, for the Koch crackpots, a "slippage of the mask" at HRW. That's a bunch of preposterous bs.
At its origination point in Maariv, it wasn't just poorly written. It's more than likely a deliberate message campaign to tear down HRW and thus marginalize the reports of behavior during Cast Lead that appeared to show insufficient concern for noncombtants, to say the least.
But anyone who defends Palestinians - from anything, at any time - is an anti-Semite to certain people.
I wish he'd be honest just for once and admit he'd be much happier if Israel simply didn't exist.
As soon I reveal whether I beat my wife for the ounce of crack the $50 in her wallet will buy me, or just because it feels good, I'll be sure to get around to your questions.
While we're waiting, the audience will need some filler - maybe you can let them in on the plan you were telling me earlier, on how neat it would be if black people were sterilized.
Posted by: glasnost at August 20, 2009 11:35 am
Yet another interminable bloated pompous post from glasnost, none of it addressing the point I made about his dishonest cherry-picking of the HRW website.
But why are you so sensitive about me saying you don't believe in Israel's existence? A lot of "respectable" people believe that, including some of the characters you routinely defend in these pages. Of course it's a mystery how I could have gotten that idea given all the praise you continually heap on Israel.
"maybe you can let them in on the plan you were telling me earlier, on how neat it would be if black people were sterilized"
You misread. It was how neat it would have been if glasnost's parents had been sterilized. Alas, it is too late.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at August 20, 2009 10:16 pm
The moral of the story, Gary, is that when you make explosive accusations that associate other people of having agendas that overlap heavily with violence and war crimes, you should bring some evidence. Otherwise, you should just hold the suspicions close to your perverted heart, and shut the fu*k up, or learn to make your accusations more realistic interpretations of my actual words. Have you noticed that people here don't really take you seriously?
Posted by: glasnost at August 21, 2009 5:05 am
Glastnost
"I don't think even terrible statements from more than two decades ago should be grounds for permanent unemployment, lacking a continued record of the same kinds of offensiveness"
Permanent unemployment, no. But some hesitation at the same line of work, yes.
"...Strom Thurmond..." should not be in charge of evaluating affirmative action. His ability to function effectively in would be compromised by a clear bias and agenda, even if its one he's done a good job at keeping hush for a while.
"As soon I reveal whether I beat my wife for the ounce of crack the $50 in her wallet will buy me, or just because it feels good, I'll be sure to get around to your questions."
This sort of over-emotional personal-attack crap is why lot of people who don't agree with you will blow off your opinion, even when its worthwhile (kinda like Gary). Besides which it pretty douchy. Actually, really douchy. You don't know who these people are (except maybe Gary... even I think he talks like a jackass... ) so don't talk down to them based off a two-paragraph post.
"Human Rights Watch puts their members' safety at stake every day, taking a stand against the kind of behavior that got Saddamn Hussein his name."
I don't think most readers here would presume everything HRW ever does is wrong. But because you did something right doesn't mean your not very wrong about something else. Or at least somewhat wrong. Sometimes I get the sense you're actively trying to confuse readers by muddling the subject...
I'm not going to bother looking up the exact numbers (besides which I'm pretty sure they were tallied up by an organization you'll dismiss out of hand because they're "pro-Israel" or a tool of the lobby or something absolutist along that line) but HRW published something like 1/2 its reports and 2/3 of its mideast reports about Israel. And this is with events in Darfur, Chechnya, Uighur, ect. going on. Does Israel really commit as much evil as the rest of the world combined?
Maybe its that as opposed to the entities messing around in these other places (Muslim world, Russia, China), Israel can be f-ed with without too serious consequences. And regarding Saudi... even you should be able to agree that seeking funds from a serious HR violator to specifically combat the abuses of the donator's enemy is some serious conflict of interest.
The issue isn't that Stork or HRW or anyone else is dismissible and always wrong; its that the indicators point to the fact that their reporting about Israel is seriously compromised, and should be treated as such. Even if it hits the occasional important point.
Its too bad glasnost, you strike me as a pretty bright, and probably cool guy
Posted by: A-Squared at August 23, 2009 6:31 pm
"I'm not going to bother looking up the exact numbers (besides which I'm pretty sure they were tallied up by an organization you'll dismiss out of hand because they're "pro-Israel" or a tool of the lobby or something absolutist along that line) but HRW published something like 1/2 its reports and 2/3 of its mideast reports about Israel."
A-squared, I had the "exact" numbers right up there in my post. Admittedly I'm a "tool of the lobby" (haha) but in this case anyone can do the same thing I did to find out how skewed HRW is. Maybe I'm a "jackass", but I don't think it's a coincidence that glasnost's most hysterical overreaction to me has come when I most successfully nailed him to the wall factually.
"glasnost, you strike me as a pretty bright, and probably cool guy"
"cool"??? His insufferable arrogance irritates me as much if not more than the politics he steadfastly refuses to own up to. As for "bright" ... let's just say I disagree.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at August 24, 2009 12:59 am
Human Rights Watch puts their members' safety at stake every day, taking a stand against the kind of behavior that got Saddamn Hussein his name.
Lots of people put their safety at stake in order to do their jobs, including our blog host. Why do you choose to defend the employees of this international organization above all others?
They're one of a handful - maybe three- organizations with the credibility and global reach to get facts about abusive state behavior into the public domain.
They were one of a handful of human rights organizations with credibility. If HRW is going, cap in hand, begging the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the most abusive, terror supporting state out there, for money, they have already lost their credibility.
Posted by: maryatexitzero at August 24, 2009 7:28 am
I'm not going to bother looking up the exact numbers (besides which I'm pretty sure they were tallied up by an organization you'll dismiss out of hand because they're "pro-Israel" or a tool of the lobby or something absolutist along that line) but HRW published something like 1/2 its reports and 2/3 of its mideast reports about Israel. And this is with events in Darfur, Chechnya, Uighur, ect. going on. Does Israel really commit as much evil as the rest of the world combined?

Here's the heart of the problem, A-Squared: this is the only factual core of your defense of the anti-HRW POV visible in your post, and it's literally false. It's not even close to true. It's completely made up. See, when I made my prior post, I actually went to HRW's website to *look* at their collection. Whereas you - no offense intended - assume that because I can be sharp and obnoxious, the other guy's point must be empirically valid. And it's not.
I don't think most readers here would presume everything HRW ever does is wrong. But because you did something right doesn't mean your not very wrong about something else. Or at least somewhat wrong.
Sure, they could be. But are they? This isn't metaphysics.
Sometimes I get the sense you're actively trying to confuse readers by muddling the subject...
Give me a break. I'm pushing back against an organized propaganda front tryign to actully discredit HRW by boiling them down to the fact that they dare to criticize Israel, and then packaging that with irrational associational mishmash and flat-out dishonesty. I'm not "muddling the issue", because the issue is HRW itself, and I'm *introducing people to them*.
This sort of over-emotional personal-attack crap is why lot of people who don't agree with you will blow off your opinion
A-Squared, I'll continue to be polite to people who are polite to me and to others, as I always have been.
And regarding Saudi... even you should be able to agree that seeking funds from a serious HR violator to specifically combat the abuses of the donator's enemy is some serious conflict of interest.
No more so than seeking funds from Israelis. Or Americans. There is no fictional country of very rich yet ethically perfect people from which HRW can take its funds. I'm glad to see HRW taking funds from Saudi Arabians as individuals. The idea suggests that people in Saudi Arabia are interested in human rights, which I encourage. If they point to their anti-Israel work to demonstrate that they're not merely stenographers who lie and coverup to appease western governments, so much the better. They do need to demonstrate that, and I'm glad they're not.
Taking money from the Saudi government, of course, is a more complicated issue, but also not a real-world one as of yet. Bottom line: if you're a major NGO, you deal with governments, both good ones and bad ones, every day. You swim with the ugly fish. If you come up with some sort of evidence that HRW is altering its reports for money, or otherwise overlooking or ignoring violations of human rights, I will support you and your conclusions. Until then, you've got nothing except short-sighted suspicion.
I'm glad you're cordial, A-Squared, but you're also a pretty smart guy, so color me dissapointed with the petty and banal focus of your attention. When you active knife a deeply outgunned human rights community in the back over empehera like this, you demonstrate that you really don't much care about the issue at hand. Self-serving editorials in the Wall Street Journal denouncing the Evil Arabs do almost nothing whatsoever to actually change behavior in the places where human rights abuses actually happen. Real change requires real dialogue, which is hard to do with
an endless parade of snipers howling over symbols and emephera.
Posted by: glasnost at August 25, 2009 5:42 am
If HRW is going, cap in hand, begging the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the most abusive, terror supporting state out there, for money, they have already lost their credibility.
Maybe you should consider waiting for actual evidence of some actual quid pro quo before you decide that someone has lost credibility. Look at it this way: every dollar Saudi Arabia spends on HRW is one less dollar they're putting towards far less benign organizations, ain't it?
If evil people donate to good causes, that seems like a win for the good guys to me. Not if said evildoers pervert the cause, but I have no evidence of that, and neither do you.
This is, of course, glossing over the fact that, no matter how twisted Saudi Arabian foreign and domestic policy is, that doesn't exclude the certainty that the country itself contains idealists interested in doing good for the world, just as any other country. Why shouldn't HRW accept that kind of money, other than the fear of being targeted by those who discriminate, rather than those who exercise discernment?
Posted by: glasnost at August 25, 2009 5:47 am
Look at it this way: every dollar Saudi Arabia spends on HRW is one less dollar they're putting towards far less benign organizations, ain't it?
LOL. It's very funny to watch defenders of the Saudis twist their logic into pretzel shapes like this. It was funny when James Baker did it and it's also amusing here. For some reason, you both temporarily affect a folksy persona. Are you projecting your own lack of reasoning onto your audience?
If we discovered that the Nazis had contributed to Charles Lindbergh's "America First" campaign in America, would you take that as evidence that "every dollar Hitler spent on reactionary American isolationists was one less dollar they'd put towards far less benign organizations, weren't it?"
Posted by: maryatexitzero at August 25, 2009 8:34 am
"It's not even close to true. It's completely made up."
I guess g thinks that if he keeps repeating something loudly enough that makes it true. But I *proved* he was wrong, *proved* that HRW spends a vastly inordinate amount of time condemning Israel compared to other countries with far worse human rights trnasgressions. Unless glasnost wants to argue that Israel is morally equivalent to Darfur. Go ahead. Make my day.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at August 25, 2009 11:32 pm
If we discovered that the Nazis had contributed to Charles Lindbergh's "America First" campaign in America, would you take that as evidence that "every dollar Hitler spent on reactionary American isolationists was one less dollar they'd put towards far less benign organizations, weren't it?"
You continue to conflate "people who live in Saudi Arabia" with "the Saudi Arabian government". It's kind of offensive that you just called everyone who lives in the whole country Hitler. So your analogy, since as far as I can tell, HRW was fund-raising in the country, not from the government, is bankrupt.
Even if they were fundraising from the government, this is still a crazy argument. Hitler, in funding Lindbergh, would have been funding an *ally*. The hypothetical Saudia Arabian government fictionally funding HRW would be like Hitler giving Charlie Chaplin a grant. Human-rights oriented NGOs building relationships with authoritarian countries is a *good* thing, as long as the NGO influences the government more than the reverse.
You're not even trying to evaluate the question. I see you prefer to trust the ... US government.. to get the Saudis to start treating their population better? That makes me laugh.
But I proved he was wrong, proved that HRW spends a vastly inordinate amount of time condemning Israel compared to other countries with far worse human rights trnasgressions.
Your statistics demonstrated only that HRW puts out plenty of critical human rights reports on arab countries. Otherthan that, you didn't prove a darn thing. You made a series of lists and made an a priori conclusion that Israel's number was too high, and that this furthermore demonstrates that HRW is "out to get" Israel.
Notice how the two countries reported on the most - Iran and Israel - are the two non-US occupied countries that have shown up #1 and #2 frequency in "the news"? Tell me, because HRW has twenty-five reports on Iran but only fourteen reports on the Democratic Republic of Congo, does that mean that they're pushing a despicable anti-Iran narrative while ignoring a much greater loss of life in a larger country, because of their shameless pro-DRC bias?
I think not.
HRW doesn't have any obligation to moderate the number of reports on Israeli Human Rights Violations according to your personal formula of prioritionality, where 0.9 times as many reports as on Iran is an obscenity, but 0.4 times as many makes you in the clear. Or whatever it would be. You remind me of a liberal democrat yourself now - oh noes, Clique B got 14% more reports than Clique A! Those kinds of errata are not what messaging campaigns look like. You don't see the Republicans in Congrees making 14% more arguments against Obama's health plan than they do make for it.
To recap, HRW doesn't owe you a thing. It does have an obligation not to ignore human rights violations wherever they occur, including The Axis of Evil and all points West. Since you came up with 10+ pages on all your favorite boogeymen, I'm not seeing the "ignore" here.
But congradulations. That's the first time you've ever responded to a post of mine without personally insulting me. I guess that's progress.
Posted by: glasnost at August 26, 2009 11:56 am
You continue to conflate "people who live in Saudi Arabia" with "the Saudi Arabian government". It's kind of offensive that you just called everyone who lives in the whole country Hitler.
Since HRW was begging for money, I assume they were asking wealthy Saudis for the cash. According to a CNN poll taken directly after 9/11, 95% of wealthy Saudis supported bin Laden and his goals.
So, not only are these turds evil, they are under all laws of man and God America's enemies. I don't give a damn about offending them or anyone who supports them.
Oh, and since there are literally thousands of Saudi royals, and since the Saudi royalty is the government, wealthy Saudis=Saudi government.
Human-rights oriented NGOs building relationships with authoritarian countries is a good thing, as long as the NGO influences the government more than the reverse.
HRW has joined the Petrodollar Cargo cult. Martin Kramer described this cult (probably the largest, and most elite worldwide) this way:
"If you want a fabulously wealthy Saudi royal to drop out of the sky in his private jet and leave a few million, you had better watch what you say.
Posted by: maryatexitzero at August 27, 2009 8:12 am
"If HRW has reformed Saudi society, if Saudi leaders have stopped supporting the majority of terrorist groups worldwide, if they've fire their royal executioner/head chopper/hand &leg choppers, if they're willing to touch Jews or to let Christians bring bibles into the country, if they stop oppressing women - then you were right."
Oh, he'll be right, mary. Not that any of that will have happened. He'll just change the argument, or the subject, or just make something up. He's *always* right.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at August 27, 2009 10:28 pm
"But congradulations. That's the first time you've ever responded to a post of mine without personally insulting me."
I must have been having a bad hair day.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at August 27, 2009 11:26 pm
Glasnost,
Despite your name you do not live up to Gorbachev's good works.
Do not you remember he turned off the Anti-Zionism campaign?
BTW, all major charities scare up donations with scares. The many uneducated think the target is ARabs. Usually it is Western European leftists suffering from the toxins of the Anti-zionism campaign. Maybe that well is drying up.
Of course Stork will probably "lie" and not tell the "truth" because to Marxists truth is a bourgeois concept when it does not serve the purpose of the party, a concept enshrined in the naming of a paper you know, "Pravda."
Posted by: exmaple at August 28, 2009 4:15 pm
By the way, raising money from Saudi Arabia is not just about "Israel" but Saudi Arabia. Basically, HRW might have solicited protection money.
Look what happened shortly after the Saudis gave no money--HRW released an anti-Saudi report.
Posted by: exmaple at August 28, 2009 4:21 pm
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Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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