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Human Rights Watch Exploits Race To Vilify Israel, Bait Jewish Community


This Report was published by NGO Monitor.

  • An op-ed by Human Right Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Director Sarah Leah Whitson, “A Matter of Civil Rights” (Huffington Post, April 15, 2011), blatantly exploits the US Civil Rights Movement to vilify and demonize Israel.
  • Abusing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King: “In a week when the U.S. paused to recall the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, President Peres might have considered King’s message — an end to segregation — and why such a system of racial inequality remains in place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
  • This op-ed contains 23 references that abuse civil rights rhetoric in this way, including accusations of “laws and policies [that] strictly segregate Jews from Palestinians,” “blatant racial inequality,” and “racial discrimination and segregation.” This is Whitson’s dominant theme.
  • In previous statements, Whitson has abused the term “apartheid” to further the assault on Jewish self-determination and equated Israeli policies to “Jim Crow laws of the American south.”  This type of rhetoric was condemned by African-American student leaders who called it “as transparent as it is base.”  Similarly, Dr. King decried discriminatory attacks on Israel, declaring, “When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews.”
  • Crude propaganda replacing a complex ethno-national and territorial conflict with the false narrative of racism: “[N]ot only do Israeli laws and policies strictly segregate Jews from Palestinians, they deliberately deprive Palestinians of the most basic needs, in many cases forcing them out of their communities.”
  • “Jewish only roads” and other myths: “And security concerns do not justify systematically separating Palestinians from Jews, with shanties and dirt roads provided for the one, and spacious villas with swimming pools and paved highways provided for the other.”
  • Race baiting U.S. Jews: “And why should American Jews, who have a history of deep engagement with the U.S. civil rights movement, support settlements built on these kinds of laws and policies in Israel?”
  • Leadership in anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions): “This is why Human Rights Watch, which extensively documented these discriminatory practices in a report, has called on the EU to clearly label settlement-produced goods, on businesses to review their activities in the settlements, and on the US to cut aid to Israel equal to what Israel spends on the settlements and to investigate tax exemptions for settlement charities.”

Analysis

HRW’s Middle East and North Africa Director Sarah Leah Whitson’s op-ed “A Matter of Civil Rights” (Huffington Post, April 15, 2011) further highlights this organization’s central role in exploiting universal human rights to promote anti-Israeli discrimination. This is a continuation of HRW’s December 2010 unsourced “report” entitled “Separate and Unequal,” which also abused the legacy of the US Civil Rights Movement to single-out and advance hatred towards the Jewish nation-state.

In the op-ed, Whitson replaces the complex national and territorial conflict with invented claims and legal myths in order to accuse the Jewish state of “a system of racial inequality remains in place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” “laws and policies [that] strictly segregate Jews from Palestinians,” “blatant racial inequality,” and “racial discrimination and segregation.” Whitson also abuses the language of the US Civil Rights Movement to further vilify Israel: “We do no honor to [Dr. Martin Luther] King’s legacy by supporting policies that promote racial discrimination and segregation.” (Half the article is devoted to this false analogy, with the terms “segregate,” “race/racist,” “discrimination,” and “equal/unequal” appearing 23 times: “segregate” – 3; “race/racist” – 4; “discrimination” – 8; “equal/unequal” – 8.)

Whitson continues by employing stereotypes, generalizations, and crude references about American Jews:  “And why should American Jews, who have a history of deep engagement with the U.S. civil rights movement, support settlements built on these kinds of laws and policies in Israel?”

These dishonest attacks reflect deep prejudices and hatred. Such fictitious allegations of Jewish race-hatred of Arabs are part of the incitement program produced by the PLO’s Negotiation Affairs Department, which invented the myth of “Israel’s plan to segregate the Palestinian People while continuing the colonization of Palestinian land.”

Whitson and HRW’s obsessive focus on Israel is evident in the different language employed when referring to other contemporary conflicts, in which history, territory, security, and other factors are as or more significant. In the op-ed, she tries to claim that: “Most governments have long since stopped trying to justify separating people based on race or national origin . . . .”  HRW often erases systematic discriminatory and repressive practices – for example, in Saudi Arabia, where Whitson participated in a 2009 trip raise funds to combat “pro-Israel pressure groups.”  HRW’s role in the use of human rights to attack Israel, and close cooperation with Arab and Islamic regimes, has been cited by HRW founder Robert Bernstein, who condemned his own NGO for turning “Israel into a pariah state,” while ignoring the human rights violations of totalitarian regimes.

Whitson’s distortions and falsehoods are also used to advance BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) targeting Israel. This is a key part of the strategy developed at the infamous NGO Forum of the UN’s 2001 Durban Conference, in which HRW also played a central role.  Since then, Whitson and HRW have been leading voices in this campaign.

Whitson, who has in the past abused the term “apartheid” to further the “Durban” assault on Jewish self-determination rights, equates Israeli policies to “Jim Crow laws of the American south.”  This misappropriation of civil rights and apartheid rhetoric for anti-Israel campaigning was recently condemned by a group of African-American student leaders who called it “as transparent as it is base.”  Similarly, Dr. King decried discriminatory attacks on Israel, declaring, “When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews.”

Sarah Leah Whitson was hired as HRW’s MENA director (2004) after having worked as an anti-Israel activist. As thisHuffington Post article and many other statements demonstrate, and as documented in an article in The New Republic, she has abused her position at HRW to pursue this activism. That profile cites Whitson praise for the notorious anti-Israel campaigner Norman Finkelstein — “I continue to have tremendous respect and admiration for him, because as you probably know, making Israeli abuses the focus of one’s life work is a thankless but courageous task that may well end up leaving all of us quite bitter.”

In attempting to whitewash Whitson’s deep prejudice, HRW program director Iain Levine falsely claimed that activism does not play a role: “…when they come to the door of this organization, they park [their solidarity backgrounds] behind.” Clearly, for Sarah Leah Whitson and the Middle East division, this is not the case.

22 replies »

  1. Everything Whtson says in her article is true. Instead of dealing with her arguments rationally the writer simply condemns them as abuse and demonisation before making ad hominem points about King and Finkelstein. Is this the best CiF Watch can do?

  2. Honestly, email this to Huffington Post editors. The are notoriously anti-israel but often run competing pieces to bring in more traffic. NGO monitor’s analysis seems very precise and specific.

    in the end, critics will attack NGO as an organization rather than defend the terrible and laughable claims made by desperate, money-hungry groups like hamas rights watch.

  3. Attempts by various groups to co-opt the Martin Luther King legacy, well lets just say the overall attitude of the US public is along the lines of “find your own damn hero”.

  4. “Everything Whtson says in her article is true.”

    Like heck it is. The lies begin in the very first sentence:

    “Israeli President Shimon Peres visited Washington earlier this month, hot on the heels of an announcement that Israeli authorities had approved yet more housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank.”

    Here’s the first lie: “Jewish settlers.”

    Jews cannot be settlers anywhere in Palestine; that is because they are the indigenous of Palestine, the one and only true Palestinian nation. It is the falsely-called “Palestinians” who are the settlers: Arab settlers, and that’s what they should be called, instead of the Goebbelsian appellation they have illicitly taken on themselves to pull the wool over the world’s eyes.

    With that lie exposed, there is little need to go over all the rest of them. I am not one to protest Israel’s innocence; my line is to put forth Israel’s legitimacy (in both pre- and post-1967 territories) as a given, and to put the anti-Zionists on the defensive. Israel and Zionism are not in the dock; it is the anti-Zionists who are in that position. Anti-Zionism is unjust, illegitimate, illegal and criminal.

  5. guardian reader

    Are you confessing that you believe the crap you read in the guardian?

    A diet of half-truths, lies and antizionist propaganda is not conducive to a capacity for distinguishing fiction from fact.

    The moral compass of most guardian readers is so skewed that they are uninterested in who the aggressor is or who the victim; and they are entirely unable to distinguish between wrongs committed in self defence and those perpetrated intentionally.

    I say unable, because if they were merely unwilling to make those distinctions it would make them anti-israeli bigots, wouldn’t it?

  6. “Instead of dealing with her arguments”

    And this is how the reader of Britain’s answer to Der Stürmer deals with the arguments:

    “Everything Whtson says in her article is true.”

    ————

    No two nations deserved each other more than Britain and Nazi Germany. The more I see of the Guardian and that newspaper’s readers, the more I realise that absolutely nothing has changed.

  7. “Just another Jew-bashing anti-Semite.”

    Appropriate that her organisation should be bankrolled by George Soros, an individual who not only collaborated in the Holocaust, but, more significantly, does not feel in the least bit guilty about his conduct:

    ‘How does Soros feel about what he did as a teenager? Has it kept him up at night?

    Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes asked him that. Was it difficult? “Not at all,” Soros answered.

    “No feeling of guilt?” asked Kroft. “No,” said Soros. “There was no sense that I shouldn’t be there. If I wasn’t doing it, somebody else would be taking it away anyhow. Whether I was there or not. So I had no sense of guilt.” ‘

    http://pajamasmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2010/09/06/holocaust-denial-george-soros-vs-the-tea-parties/

    And then there’s this:

    Nazi memorabilia collector now a ‘Senior Human Rights Officer’ at the United Nations

    http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2011/02/nazi-memorabilia-collector-now-senior.html

    ———————

    Robert Bernstein, founder of Human Rights Watch, accuses it of anti-Israel bias

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6883034.ece

  8. Hoi Polloi

    True, there are possibly millions of jew-haters in britain. I attended a “public” school (private boys boarding school) in England, and it was full of them. That lot are fascists; the other lot are left wing so-called “liberals” who infest politics, academia, trade union movements and the media.

    But I wouldn’t say that they were really representative of britain. There are many more millions of decent people who really are not taken in by the crap the closet nazis, the camel huggers and the so-called ‘friends’ of the palestinians peddle.

    the catchment area for the guardian (the online version) and CIF is global. antisemites of all nationalities, races and creeds are drawn to it like flies around a turd.

    The guardian does not stand for britain. It hates everything britain stands for. it wants to see britain under the jackboot. Any colour will do.

  9. “I attended a “public” school (private boys boarding school) in England, and it was full of them.”

    Ditto.

  10. guardian reader, seriously, why do you think what this woman writes is “true”?

    Because you agree with the sentiments?

    Because you yourself have spent enough time researching into the situation and have found evidence which supports this view? If so, can we know which evidence and where you found it?

    Or because a friend started spouting about this and it made you feel alive and wired and, that being the case, you keep doing the equivalent of “chasing the dragon” of hatred about something you patently know so little about?

    Or is it something else? I am genuinely interested. Please tell us.

  11. Hi Serendipity
    I have actually spent a great deal of time researching Palestinian/Zionist history and politics. I could recommend many books to you but will start with just one, by a very experienced journalist resident in Nazareth, Jonathan Cook: ‘Disappearing Palestine – Israel’s experiments in human despair’. I challenge you to read it.
    Regards
    sencar

  12. Der guardian reader sencar,

    I challenge YOU to read the hamass charter of 1988, which coincidentlally is the same year that Pan Am 103 was bombed.

    You might remember that scotland/uk released the convicted bomber of Pan Am 103 on the claim that he was going to die within 3 months and the release was a show of “compassion”. The bomber is still alive more than a year later and the uk coincidentally was awarded oil contracts.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp

    Or you can google “hamas charter” and read it yourself.

    I suggest you scan the charter for words like “freemason”, “jew”, “french revolution”. Those paragraphs reveal the twisted hateful ideology of hamas – conveniently obscured by Der Guardian.

  13. I am familiar with the story of Pan Am 103 but don’t see its relevance. Of course I have read the Hamas Charter. Some of it is plain silly but as a statement of resistance against an occupying power (Israel) much of it makes sense. How would Irgun’s charter have read in the forties (assuming there was one)? In any case I don’t have to support Hamas’ philosophy or activities to be convinced of the multiple injustices that Israel imposes on the Palestinian people.

  14. Jonathan Cook is a natural source of knowledge for a Guardian reader. Some of his works have been published on the website of David Duke too.
    And the idea of killing all Jews is plain silly… not murderous, not despicable but silly and together with their fight for a Judenrein Palestine it makes sense.
    Good to see the real face of a Guardian reader…

  15. guardian huffer,

    “Some of it [=the Hamas charter] is plain silly but as a statement of resistance against an occupying power (Israel) much of it makes sense.”

    Next you’ll be analyzing Mein Kampf as a statement of resistance to the oppression of the victors of WWI, and lionizing the entire Nazi project.

    “How would Irgun’s charter have read in the forties (assuming there was one)?”

    If you want it to be equivalent to the Hamas charter, it would need to have had a statement of the purpose of removing all the British, not just from Mandate Palestine but from Britain itself. That’s the correct analogy to Hamas’s goal.

  16. guardian reader, I note you give me only one reference, and that to a book about Palestine by Jonathan Cook. I have been to his blog. He’s hardly an open-minded, wide-ranging font of knowledge is he?

    OK, let’s have more details of the “great deal of time” you spent researching into the I/P issue, ie the fruits of that research. Would you care to list them for us? For myself, I’d need rather more evidence of a balanced approach than what you have provided so far, before I could call you a scholar of any description.

    As it is, you’re an empty bucket

  17. Some of the Hamas Charter is “plain silly” is it, guardian reader?

    I doubt that you’ve read it. I don’t see how you could have read it from a dispassionate point of view, judging from your lame comparison to an “Irgun charter” by Israel. Hamas kill people, their own people, who disagree with them about their charter’s intent. They damn their people to everlasting war with their neighbour (they are willing to fight to the very last drop of their people’s blood) because anyone who even speaks about peace in Gaza is arrested or worse.

    Their leaders mouth off, incite their people into danger and then scurry away like cockroaches to hide under hospitals, in the sure knowledge that they will be safe because the IDF would never bomb hospitals. Their brave fighters hide among children and civilians and store their weaponry and ammunition in civilian homes.

    No the Hamas Charter is a codification of Islamist craziness by which Hamas insists that the people of Gaza live.

    And you help it and are a partner to exacerbating the Gazan people’s misery because you do nothing to stop it or speak out against it

  18. “Some of it is plain silly but as a statement of resistance against an occupying power (Israel) much of it makes sense. ”

    Yes, kill the Jews. Makes perfect sense to a guardian reader.

  19. Hairshirt
    Let’s take your point about hospitals. The Goldstone Report notes that:
    1) “The Mission did not find any evidence to support the allegations that hospital facilities were used by the Gaza authorities or by Palestinian armed groups to shield military activities and that ambulances were used to transport combatants or for other military purposes.”
    2) “The Mission also finds that, on the same day, the Israeli forces directly and intentionally attacked the Al Quds Hospital in Gaza City and the adjacent ambulance depot with white phosphorous shells…..(it) rejects the allegation that fire was directed at Israeli forces from within the hospital.

    And your point about Hamas killing their own people. There’s an interesting story from 1949 when Iraqui jews weren’t happy about moving to Israel. The Chief Rabbi of Iraq said “The Jews – and the Muslims – in Iraq just took it for granted that Judaism is a religion and Iraqi Jews are Iraquis”. That wasn’t good enough for the zionists so they exploded three bombs in Baghdad, killing one jew and blinding another, to frighten jews into emigrating. The bombings were at first thought to be the work of Arab extremists but were later proved to be down to Israeli agents.

  20. “That wasn’t good enough for the zionists so they exploded three bombs in Baghdad, killing one jew and blinding another, to frighten jews into emigrating. The bombings were at first thought to be the work of Arab extremists but were later proved to be down to Israeli agents.”

    Heh.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farhud

    Ahh zionist conspiracy!!!!

  21. Man, these lefty people… They are always desperately looking around to indict Israel and as they rarely find anything of substance, they resort to the moral equivalence tactic. Problem is that still, other countries have a worst record.

    But they fashion themselves as the new “bad boys”, carrying around the nihilist leninist torch, trying of course to erase the piles of bodies left behind. Bashing the Jewish and democratic State of Israel, they are just being consistent with the opportunistic left-wing contempt for democracy, which they shared with their nazi brothers. They are consistent demopaths in that grand tradition.

    But, deep down they just reveal their obsession born out of envy for the resounding success of Zionism. You can´t fight reality, unless you are either crazy or moron (in their case it´s both).