On November 5, 2019, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Human Rights Watch (HRW) “Israel and Palestine Country Director” Omar Shakir had 20 days to leave the country. Shakir and his employer had asked the court to overturn a decision of the Israeli Ministry of Interior, which had already been approved by the Jerusalem District Court, not to renew Shakir’s work visa due to his BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) activities. 

In the ten days leading up to Shakir’s departure, HRW launched a social media campaign under the hashtag “#WhoIsNext.” The campaign attempted to make a slippery slope argument, that if Shakir is deported, many other activists would be at risk. In reality, Israel has a vibrant and diverse civil society made up of thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). As the Supreme Court found, Shakir, specifically, met the criteria in the Israeli law. 

NGO Monitor analyzed the limited reach of HRW’s #WhoIsNext campaign, noting that it was primarily used in a self-promotional manner. The vast majority of Twitter users employing the hashtag were, in fact, employees of HRW; 71 of 100 (71%) uses of the hashtag originated with HRW-linked accounts. Tellingly, most of the non-HRW uses came from pro-BDS activists and NGOs.

Individual/NGONumber of Tweets
HRW Official Account7
Omar Shakir17
Ken Roth (HRW Executive Director)2
Andrew Stroehlein (HRW European Media Director)9
Louis Charbonneau (HRW UN Director)6
Jan Kooy (HRW Deputy European Media Director)2
Mary Lagomarsino (HRW Development and Outreach Associate)2
Claudio Francavilla (HRW EU Officer)1
Ben Ward (HRW UK Director and Deputy Director of Europe and Central Asia Division)1
Stephen Northfield (HRW Digital Director)1
Fred Abrahams (HRW Associate Director for Program)1
Graeme Reid (HRW Director of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Rights Program)1
Wenzel Michalski (HRW Germany Director)2
Birgit Schwarz (HRW Senior Press Officer)1
Ariella GH Khan (HRW Special Events Coordinator)1
Kate Rosenberg (HRW Development and Outreach Manager in Melbourne)1
Kyle Knight (HRW Senior Researcher)2
Nisha Varia (HRW Advocacy Director of Women’s Rights Division)1
Audrey Kawire Wabwire (HRW Senior Press Officer East Africa)1
Karolina Kozik (HRW Disability Rights)1
Dreisen Heath ( HRW Senior Coordinator of US Program)1
Liesl Gerntholtz (HRW Executive Director of Women’s Rights Division)1
Alex Firth (HRW Children’s Rights Associate)1
Bénédicte Jeannerod (HRW France Director)1
Lilly GC1
Shantha Rau Barriga (HRW DIsability Rights Director)1
Alison Parker (HRW Managing Director of US Program)1
Amos Toh (HRW Senior Researcher on Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights)1
Amnesty International4
Andrew Preston (Norwegian People's Aid Advisor)3
Al Mezan1
Issa Amro (Youth Against Settlements)4
Huwaida Arraf (International Solidarity Movement co-founder)1
Rohan Talbot (Medical Aid for Palestinians Advocacy Manager)2
Marc Frings (Head of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in the Palestinian Territories)
Johanna Wassholm (Church of Sweden Policy Advisor)3
Blake Selzer (Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) Advocacy and Communications Coordinator)4
Joseph Willits (Caabu’s Parliamentary and Events Officer)2
Fadi Quran (Avaaz Campaign Director)1
Libby Lenkinski (New Israel Fund Vice President)1