21 March 2005:
HRW Hires Researcher from "Electronic Intifada"
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Ken Roth and Human Rights Watch have employed Lucy Mair as a researcher
in Israel/Occupied Territories. Ms. Mair's qualifications include
writing for the "Electronic Intifada" and work with Grassroots
International, a radical pro-Palestinian political organization.
HRW's employment process is secret, and not subject to independent
review, we are unable to compare her credentials and expertise on
universal human rights issues with the other candidates.) Her descriptions
in Palestine, and articles for "Palestine
Now" etc., focus exclusively on Palestinian "fear and the loss
and the humiliation and the despair", with no mention of terror,
suicide bombings, and the human rights of Israelis. References to
Israeli soldiers "protected by arrogance and hatred" are hostile
stereotypes, and she echoes the false massacre claims in referring
to Palestinians "killed in their homes in Jenin when the tanks and
the bulldozers ate up their camp". In this extreme biased approach
to Israel that extends far beyond legitimate criticism, she joins
the other members of HRW's Middle East team, including Sarah Leah
Whitson (from MADRE) and Joe Stork (from MERIP).
Writing for the "Electronic Intifada" in partnership with Robyn
Long of the highly politicized Palestinian
Environmental NGO Network (PENGON) and the "Anti-Apartheid Wall
Campaign", Mair excuses Palestinian responsibility for their situation.
Using a simplistic
hypothesis, she claims that "the Palestinian economy lay decimated
from the three-year long Israeli military crackdown against the
intifada". Referring to access gates in the security barrier, Mair
makes unsubstantiated claims that "there have been reports of Palestinians
shot, beaten, humiliated, and prevented from crossing." Mair even
goes as far as stating opposition to the security barrier even if
its route was moved to the Green Line, calling it "unacceptable
to Palestinians, who recognize that even building the Wall along
the Green Line, while perhaps minimizing the loss of land and damage
to property, would make Israel's crippling closure of the West Bank
and Gaza permanent and devastate the Palestinian economy."
Mair has previously demonstrated her politicized involvement in
Middle East issues, sharing a platform with recognized anti-Israel
activists such as Phyllis Bennis at a "Freedom
and Justice for Palestine Conference on 31 March 2001. On 3
May 2003, Mair spoke at a meeting of the UN Committee on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights, again making allegations based on unsubstantiated
Palestinian incitement claims. Speaking about water issues on behalf
of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, Mair claimed
that "the Israeli army had destroyed two wells in Rafah, in the
Gaza Strip, that provided nearly half of the city's drinking water.
Drivers of water tankers and water maintenance personnel had been
physically attacked and threatened by the Israeli army and illegal
settlers." Then, representing the Palestinian Independent Commission
for Citizens' Rights, she asserted that "The military forces were
shooting at people, including newborn babies. Patients seeking medical
assistance were dying at Israeli checkpoints because they were not
given access to hospitals."
Thus, HRW has hired someone whose experience in 'human rights'
is based upon a history of promoting the Palestinian cause with
absolutely no regard for the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict or the rights of Israelis to defend themselves from Palestinian
terror. Kenneth Roth has once again demonstrated his policy of filling
HRW's Middle East department with like-minded politicized individuals
whose priorities are not in keeping with the promotion of universal
human rights values.