HRW, B’Tselem and other Goldstone promoters must immediately retract their statements on Gaza

(JERUSALEM) – In response to Judge Richard Goldstone’s landmark article in the Washington Post, in which he retracted the main allegations of the “Goldstone Report,” watchdog group NGO Monitor calls on the NGOs that were his main sources to withdraw and revise their discredited claims. NGO Monitor also notes that the Goldstone Report, published under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2009, has been used to justify a widespread campaign of demonizing Israel with false accusations of “war crimes” and demands for BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions).

“With Goldstone’s admission that ‘our fact-finding mission had no evidence’ and that ‘civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy,’ the politicized NGOs that supplied these allegations have been exposed again as biased and lacking credibility,” said  Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “Goldstone was misled by an orchestrated campaign led by powerful NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Adalah, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and Al Haq. As NGO Monitor demonstrated when the report was released, the so-called ‘evidence’ provided by these groups was at the core of the political war against Israel. Goldstone was taken in by crude manipulation.”

Goldstone’s reversal is further evidence of the central role played by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in the exploitation of human rights and in promoting the bogus conclusions of the Goldstone Report. HRW employed Marc Garlasco, an obsessive collector of Nazi memorabilia, as its “senior military analyst” on the Gaza war. Officials also held a fundraiser with Saudi elites in Riyadh – not to expose the daily human rights violations in Saudi Arabia – but to bolster Garlasco’s “findings” on the conflict. Similarly, HRW embraced the Qaddafi regime and its supposed “Tripoli spring.”

Steinberg continues, “HRW has been at the forefront of demonization and distortions since the infamous 2001 Durban conference, and used its influence to promote Goldstone, who was on HRW’s board. The leaders of this organization’s Middle East division have a long history of involvement in hard-core anti-Israel advocacy. This immoral behavior led HRW’s founder, Robert Bernstein, to denounce his own organization, presaging Richard Goldstone’s reconsideration.”

Steinberg further notes, “Israeli NGOs funded by European governments and the New Israel Fund have also played a central role in advancing the one-sided agenda of repressive regimes at the Human Rights Council. These groups have continued to lobby at the U.S. Congress, European Parliament, and the Knesset. Goldstone’s Washington Post article has exposed these campaigns as nothing more than anti-Israel propaganda.”

For more information on NGOs and the Goldstone Report, see NGO Monitor’s extensive coverage.