Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor charged today that Human Rights Watch’s 2009 World Report reflects a continuing and pervasive anti-Israel bias, repeating many of the unjustified allegations that the organization made in 2009.

As NGO Monitor’s annual review of HRW demonstrates, nearly 30% of HRW’s 2009 output on the Middle East condemned Israel for measures taken to defend its civilian population.  HRW issued more publications critical of Israel than of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Libya combined.

Continuing this obsessive pattern, HRW’s 2009 World Report allots more pages to Israel than to any country other than China. The report includes:

  • HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth’s comparison of “abusive” Israel “war crimes” to “atrocities in Guinea, Kenya, or Darfur.”
  • A repetition of baseless HRW allegations regarding white phosphorus, drone attacks, and “white flag deaths” in the Gaza war.
  • Continuing promotion of Richard Goldstone’s tendentious report condemning Israel’s actions in the Gaza war, and failing to mention that Goldstone is a former HRW board member. In 2009, HRW released 34 statements in support of the UN Human Rights Council/Arab League Goldstone “fact-finding” mission.

HRW’s report also failed to address the organizational scandals that led to unprecedented criticism in 2009, and demands for an independent investigation. These incidents, which further undermine HRW’s credibility, included:

  • a fundraising trip to Saudi Arabia led by MENA division head Sarah Leah Whitson, stressing HRW’s anti-Israel focus;
  • the revelation that its “senior military analyst,” Marc Garlasco, is an obsessive collector of Nazi memorabilia, whose reports are unreliable;
  • founder Robert Bernstein’s New York Times op-ed, decrying the organization’s role in “turn[ing] Israel into a pariah state” and its loss of “critical perspective” on Iran’s support for Hamas and Hezbollah.

NGO Monitor President Gerald Steinberg stated that: HRW’s anti-Israel obsession has become even more pronounced in response to revelations of serious abuses under the façade of promoting “human rights”. As long as HRW continues to be led by ideologues who exploit moral claims selectively, and who promote “research reports” that target Israel and have little credibility, this organization will continue to lose moral influence. For HRW officials, board members and donors, these reports should be a source of embarrassment.