In October 2016, Human Rights Watch (HRW) hired Omar Shakir to serve as its New York-based “Israel and Palestine Country Director.” Shakir is a consistent supporter of a one-state framework and advocate for BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) tactics, fitting the longstanding HRW practice of hiring anti-Israel activists to serve in key positions relating to Israel:

BDS advocacy

HRW’s History of Biased Officials

Shakir is not the only anti-Israel activist employed by HRW to work on Israel-related issues. Officials such as Sarah Leah Whitson (Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa Division) and Joe Stork (Deputy Director, Middle East and North Africa Division) were visible anti-Israel activists before joining HRW. Former Middle East staff member Nadia Barhoum was also an anti-Israel student activist immediately prior to being hired. Moreover, HRW analyst Marc Garlasco, who was centrally involved in allegations of “war crimes” during the 2009 Gaza conflict, was revealed to be an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia and defended by HRW as a “student of military history.”

Similarly, Amnesty International has been employing several individuals, including Kristyan Benedict, Saleh Hijazi and Edith Garwood, who have either made antisemitic statements publicly, volunteered for NGOs that have promoted antisemitic imagery, and/or have engaged in various forms of anti-Israel activity such as BDS.

HRW’s and Amnesty’s employment of such individuals severely damage the NGOs’ objectivity and credibility, and expose their true political motivations in their work on Israel.