(Jerusalem) – Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) recent fundraising efforts in Saudi Arabia has become a focus of debate, particularly as HRW officials capitalized on their anti-Israel agenda.

But HRW’s failures go far deeper. This report by Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor highlights the long record of errors and inconsistencies in HRW’s research, including the following examples:

  • Gaza Beach Incident (June 2006):  In widely publicized statements, HRW first blamed live Israeli artillery fire, explicitly rejecting the possibility of unexploded ordnance.  HRW officials then accepted the second version, but later reversed course, repeating the false charges leveled at Israel.  HRW has not issued corrections.
  •  Second Lebanon War (July-Aug 2006): There are numerous examples of HRW reports based on speculation and false claims. On 29 July, HRW alleged that Israel killed 54 civilians at Qana, but later acknowledged the ICRC version of 28 dead (some of which may have been Hizbollah personnel). HRW officials chose to ignore the ICRC information in order to promote its anti-Israel agenda.  And, in another example, a major HRW report found “no cases” of Hezbollah’s use of human shields, despite video evidence and independent reports clearly showing otherwise.
  • Reuters Cameraman (April 2008): HRW condemned Israel for deliberately “targeting” a journalist with a camera on his shoulder in a battle zone.  When the IDF detailed report showed the killing was accidental, HRW did not withdraw its false accusation.
  •  Gaza War (Dec 2008 – Jan 2009): HRW denied Hamas’ use of human shields, ignoring clear evidence.  And allegations that the IDF illegally used white phosphorous weapons and drones were based on unverifiable “eyewitness” accounts and speculative weapons analysis.

NGO Monitor’s Executive Director, Prof Gerald Steinberg said, “HRW has been obsessively and falsely accusing Israel for years and it’s no surprise that this was the basis for their fundraising efforts in Saudi Arabia.  Time and again, their speculative research has proved to be inaccurate, one sided and based on a politically motivated agenda.  That HRW sees fit to raise funds in one of the Middle East’s most repressive countries, while obsessively condemning legitimate Israeli defense against terror, shows that HRW has truly lost its moral compass.”

Editors Notes:

Please click here to view the NGO Monitor review of HRW’s 2008 activities

Other recent publications and reports by NGO Monitor include:-

HRW’s ‘Rain of Fire’:  Neither Thorough Nor Impartial – April 2, 2009

HRW and White Phosphorous: Condemn First, Correct (Maybe) Later – January 14, 2009

Amnesty and HRW Lebanon War Claims Discredited
– Dec 28, 2006