April 18, 2010

To the Editor:

Fares Akram’s article “Hamas Executes Two Accused of Aiding Israel” (April 15, 2010, page A11) prominently features Human Rights Watch (HRW). However, the Times fails to mention Akram’s ongoing professional affiliation with HRW. This conflict of interest is particularly problematic considering that HRW's reporting on Israel and strident political advocacy are the subject of extensive controversy.

Fares Akram works as a “research consultant” for HRW, and has been associated with the NGO since at least 2007. He contributed to three major HRW publications alleging Israeli war crimes during the Gaza war: Rain of Fire (March 25, 2009), Precisely Wrong (June 30, 2009), and White Flag Deaths (August 13, 2009).

In light of this conflict of interest, the April 15 article should be corrected to acknowledge Akram’s relationship with HRW. The Times should also consider Akram’s dual role as an HRW employee and a journalist.

Sincerely,

Gerald Steinberg

President, NGO Monitor