Human Rights Watch and Its Saudi Donors
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"The clash is but the latest chapter in an ongoing conflict between pro-Israel groups and HRW, one that has only intensified since Israel’s military campaign last winter in Gaza and HRW’s subsequent charge that both Israel and its opponent, Hamas, committed war crimes then. But in the process, questions have been raised about HRW’s practice of offering donors the opportunity to earmark their contributions to projects involving specific countries. The HRW visit to the Saudi kingdom was first criticized by NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based organization and frequent critic of HRW." "The organization’s policy is to systematically refuse government funding and seek backing from individuals and foundations only. But Gerald Steinberg, NGO Monitor’s executive director, counters that such a distinction is not a valid one in Saudi Arabia, where money and power are closely intertwined. “The idea that the funds were expected to come from ‘ordinary’ wealthy Saudi human rights activists unconnected with the regime is absurd, even by HRW’s standards,” he said. The latest controversy, he added, represents “a major crisis for HRW.”"