In 2004, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a 133-page report headlined “Razing Rafah,” accompanied by a world-wide media campaign condemning the Israeli military and government for “mass home demolitions in Gaza.” The main accusation was that the tunnels built under the houses along the border and used by Palestinian groups to smuggle explosives and terrorists from Egypt into Israel “posed little threat, and the IDF action was ‘unnecessary,’ ‘unlawful,’ and designed to maintain ‘long-term control’ over Gaza.”
For the next 19 years, this powerful organization orchestrated automatic condemnations following every Israeli counterterror action in Gaza, repeating the earlier slogans and political campaigns under the facades of human rights and international law. They continued and even intensified after Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, and the violent Hamas takeover from the PLO in 2007.
It is not an exaggeration to conclude that HRW played a central role in protecting the Hamas terror machine, including turning a blind eye to the massive network of concrete tunnels and command centers constructed under schools and hospitals, and the production of tens of thousands of rockets to target Israel. The brutal results were traumatically displayed on October 7, 2023.
This history was brought into sharp focus by the email that a long-time HRW employee sent to the entire staff (approximately 500 individuals) on November 14, 2023, her last day before leaving the organization. Danielle Haas spent 13 years as a senior editor, working with all the key officials, led by Executive Director Ken Roth (1993-2022), who set the tone and fashioned the corporate culture of demonization for everything connected to Israel and Zionism. Her email was leaked and published, confirming what many serious observers of the organization had concluded and providing additional evidence.