Human Rights Watch’s Unfinished Business
JERUSALEM – The belated “resignation” of Marc Garlasco, who held the position of senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch, underscores HRW’s lack of credibility and the need for a thorough investigation.
Since Garlasco was revealed to be an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia in September 2009, NGO Monitor had repeatedly called for an independent examination of HRW’s policies and hiring practices.
“Although Garlasco no longer works with HRW, the organization’s reliance on his supposed ‘military expertise’ raises alarming questions about the credibility of its activities, and the Goldstone report, which relied heavily on HRW’s claims,” said Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “HRW’s problems go far deeper than the Garlasco case.”
Steinberg noted that Garlasco co-authored numerous HRW reports alleging “Israeli war crimes” during the 2009 Gaza war, and if these publications are shown to be based on inaccurate, false, or biased claims, both HRW and Goldstone, who was on HRW’s board, should issue retractions. Since 2004, Garlasco was involved in many of HRW’s reports condemning Israel, including on the “Gaza beach incident” and the 2006 Lebanon war, each of which needs to be investigated or withdrawn, Steinberg said.
NGO Monitor urges HRW to mount an independent investigation focusing on the relationship between Garlasco and its Middle East and North Africa division. MENA heads Joe Stork and Sarah Leah Whitson – who were both active in anti-Israel campaigning prior to joining HRW – appear to have worked closely with Garlasco. This relationship, under the leadership of Executive Director Kenneth Roth, may have propelled HRW’s highly disproportionate focus on Israel, as documented by NGO Monitor and by HRW founder Robert Bernstein.
“As James Hoge Jr. prepares to chair HRW’s board, his first priority should be launching an independent investigation of this human rights superpower, particularly of its Middle East and North Africa division,” said Steinberg.