Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Garlasco hits the fan

The New York Times finally covers the controversy over Marc Garlasco's hobby first reported by Mere Rhetoric and reports that he has been suspended from Human Right's Watch.

The article covers most of the aspects of Garlasco's collecting and summed up the controversy:

The suspension comes at a time of heightened tension between, on one side, the new Israeli government and its allies on the right, and the other side, human rights organizations that have been critical of Israel. In recent months, the government has pledged an aggressive approach toward the groups to discredit what they argue is bias and error.

The problems with this are that
1) The Israeli government with lumped together with "allies on the right." Human rights organizations are apparently without ideological bias.
2) It's suggested that the revelations about Garlasco are part of a campaign by the Israeli government, when there is no evidence that the Garlasco story was in any way pushed by the Israeli government.
3) The bias and error are real. Why not mention Sarah Leah Whitson's fundraising in Saudi Arabia or Joe Stork's ideological baggage?

These suggestions and omissions all blur the real issue. Is Human Rights Watch biased against Israel? The answer is unequivocally "yes."

Whitson, Stork and Garlasco are part of the story. Another part of the story are some of the members of HRW's board of directors for the Middle East. They include Helena Cobban, Anne Lesch, Phillip Mattar and James Zogby. All these four are anti-Israel (or at least anti-Zionist) to some degree. On the other side there are no members who can be said to be strongly pro-Israel. So there's no effective counterweight in HRW's Middle East Board of Directors against the documented anti-Israel biases of its staff.

This isn't about Israel and its "right wing" allies, it's about the corruption of HRW. The Times doesn't seem to get it.

For more please check Elder of Ziyon, NGO monitor and memeorandum.

Crossposted on Yourish.

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