[Opinion] Shakir is no human rights defender
On November 5, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected the demand that Israel renew a work visa for Human Right Watch’s (HRW) local director, Omar Shakir, ending a nearly two-year long legal ordeal. The decision confirmed that Shakir has been a consistent and active promoter of BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanction) campaigns against Israel for years – grounds for denying entry into the country.
Whether or not you agree with the merits of Israel’s BDS law, ample evidence shows that Shakir overtly promotes boycotts and sanctions against Israel. This includes his efforts to have FIFA sanction the Israel Football Association, supporting US legislation to sanction Israel by restricting military aid, and his involvement with HRW’s ongoing BDS campaign targeting Airbnb and Booking.com.
Without missing a beat, HRW and Shakir’s loyal supporters have cried out in the defense of their beloved “human rights defender” who is being “deported.” However, putting his obsession with Israel aside, Shakir’s human rights priorities appear to be highly questionable, at best.
On August 23, 2019, Israeli 17-year-old Rina Shnerb was brutally murdered when a terrorist hurled an explosive device at her and her family, injuring her father and brother, while they were hiking. A Palestinian by the name of Samer Arbid, who worked in a financial role at the NGO Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and had previously served in a similar capacity at Addameer, was later arrested for his leading role in making, planting, and setting off the explosive device. It would seem impossible for a true human rights organization or activist to ignore this horrific incident of violence, terror, and the exploitation of human rights organizations. Yet this is exactly what Shakir did.