As in HRWs other statements on Gaza, this report reflects a manipulation of "evidence" and lack of professionalism to support pre-determined political and ideological positions. The charges of "war crimes" are unjustified, based on dubious interpretations of international law, and reflect HRWs role in the wider Durban strategy of demonization. The lack of credibility results from reliance on unreliable and tampered evidence; false and inaccurate claims; and internal contradictions. The authors include a pro-Palestinian activist who has worked at the highly politicized PCHR.
International NGOs should work toward the goal of ensuring human rights for all citizens, everywhere. Instead, many disproportionately focus on allegations of Israeli violations and use their power and funding to promote a distorted narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
In a February 23, 2009 publication, Amnesty International calls on the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Israel. This continues Amnestys leading role in the Durban Strategy designed to isolate Israel and prevent self-defense. Amnesty exploits the faade of a "research report" to make baseless accusations, misrepresent international humanitarian law, and promote an immoral and indefensible equivalence between Hamas and Israel. Amnesty's attempt to equate the transfer weapons to Israel for legitimate defense, with clandestinely smuggled arms to a terrorist organization, is defamatory, immoral, and absurd.
On January 10, HRW launched a public relations campaign condemning Israel for allegedly using white phosphorus weapons unlawfully in the conflict with Hamas. HRWs large budget, and its media access via the "halo effect" results in the amplification of these reports in the press and through other NGOs, without independent investigation or verification. HRWs disproportionate focus on this issue diverts attention from Hamas systematic use of human shields, its indiscriminate rocket attacks, and Irans role in fomenting the conflict.
Quantitative and Qualitative analysis of HRW in 2008 reflect the portrayal of Israel as the second worst abuser of human rights in the Middle East. HRW's use of international legal and human rights terminology singles out Israel for condemnation, while other serious human rights abusers receive little coverage. Evidence suggests that specific HRW personnel (Joe Stork, Sarah Leah Whitson and Marc Garlasco) are responsible for responsible for much of the bias, and when other individuals are centrally involved, the reports are less tendentious
In the first 16 days of fighting HRW released 11 statements on Gaza, primarily critical of Israel, including many using the rhetoric of international law for political objectives. Sarah Leah Whitson has carried HRWs campaign to the UN -- and similar to allegations made during the 2006 Lebanon war, HRWs claims about the IDFs use of white phosphorus lack credible evidence.
The addition of Nadia Barhoum, a pro-Palestinian campus activist, to HRWs Middle East and North Africa Division, increases the political bias reflected in the activities and backgrounds of Sarah Leah Whitson, Joe Stork, and previous staff. This is inconsistent with HRWs claimed "even-handedness and accuracy." Barhoum was an active member in Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of California, Berkeley. SJP promotes the Durban agenda of demonization of Israel, divestment from Israel, and uses terms such as "apartheid" and "mass atrocities" in reference to Israel.