In October 2016, Human Rights Watch (HRW) hired Omar Shakir to serve as its “Israel and Palestine Country Director.” Shakir has been a consistent supporter of a one-state framework and advocate for BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) campaigns, fitting the longstanding HRW practice of hiring anti-Israel activists to serve in key positions relating to Israel.
In May 2018, due to Shakir’s BDS ties, the Israeli Ministry of Interior chose not to renew his work visa. HRW and Shakir have been challenging this decision in Israeli courts. In April 2019, he lost his case in the Jerusalem District Court and immediately appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court. The hearing will take place on September 24, 2019. While Shakir regularly assails Israel for its “lack of democracy,” in fact, the Israeli courts allowed him to remain in the country during his appeal process despite having no obligation to do so.
Omar Shakir’s background and history of anti-Israel activity exemplifies the organization’s troubling ideological approach to Israel and retreat from the universal principles of human rights.1
Publications by NGO Monitor Relating to Omar Shakir
Background information on Omar Shakir and Ken Roth
Documents Submitted to the Court
- NGO Monitor’s Amicus Brief submitted to the Jerusalem District Court (Hebrew), June 18, 2018
- Additions to the Amicus Brief submitted to the Jerusalem District Court (Hebrew), February 2019
- Additional Documents to the Amicus Brief submitted to the Jerusalem District Court (Hebrew), March 2019
- NGO Monitor’s Amicus Brief submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court (Hebrew), July 18, 2019
NGO Monitor Reports
- UN Officials Promote HRW’s In-House BDS Activist, April 29, 2019
- The BDS Life and Times of Omar Shakir, April 4, 2019
- Omar Shakir’s Obsessive Anti-Israel Twitter Campaign (June 2018– February 2019), March 13, 2019
- Human Rights Watch (HRW), January 31, 2019
- The Gaza Riots and HRW’s Immoral Anti-Israel Obsession on Twitter, May 29, 2018
- After Work Visa Cancelled, HRW Falsely Denies BDS and Demonization Promotion, May 9, 2018
- UN CEIRPP “50 Years of Occupation” Event: BDS, Antisemitism, and Demonization, July 16, 2017
- Omar Shakir: BDS Activist and Human Rights Watch Official, December 14, 2016
- HRW systematically hires anti-Israel activists to work on Israel-related issues. Officials such as Sarah Leah Whitson (Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa Division) and Khulood Badawi (Israel and East Jerusalem Consultant) have well-documented histories of radical activism and have also engaged in various forms of anti-Israel activity such as BDS.