Darryl Li is not listed as a member of HRW’s staff on its website, but he is an author of HRW’s Razing Rafah report (2004), as well as Rain of Fire, Under Cover of War, and Precisely Wrong (all in 2009). He is listed as a “consultant,” although only seems to consult for HRW on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite his experience doing “academic research in Rwanda, Yemen and…Pakistan.”22 Like other members of the MENA division, Li has a strong background in pro-Palestinian advocacy, and sought a “career alternating between scholarship and activist litigation.”23 Like Stork, he has also been involved with MERIP.
From 2001 (Badil Resource Center Press Release Nov. 27, 2001) to 2002 (PCHR Annual Report 2002), Li worked at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza, including representing the NGO at two international conferences (PCHR Annual Report 2002).
PCHR is a highly politicized Palestinian NGO, which occasionally documents intra-Palestinian human rights abuses. PCHR ignores abuses against Israelis and refers to deliberate attacks on Israeli civilians as “resistance” (PCHR Weekly Report Dec. 14-20, 2006). Most of PCHR’s activities are related to condemning Israel’s self-defense, as reflected in its statements on the 2009 Gaza conflict (PCHR Weekly Report Jan. 15-21 2009, PCHR News Release Jan. 11, 2009, NGO Monitor Report Feb. 12, 2009). This NGO also receives EU funding to lead the campaign of “lawfare” – exploiting legal mechanisms to pursue political goals – against Israeli military officials (Herzberg 2008).
As of 2009, Li is a PhD student at Harvard and a Law student at Yale, where he is a member (Cohn 2006) of the University’s “Alliance for Justice in the Middle East.” Li used his experience at PCHR (Cohn 2006) to promote this organization’s “Harvard war criminals” project,24 which claimed to promote “a set of rigorous and fair practices to screen for war criminals and serious human rights abusers as part of [Harvard’s] admissions and hiring policies.” In reality, this project focused its campaigning on six Israelis and one Guatemalan and publicly harassing them on campus.25
Li’s publications include “Disengagement and the Frontiers of Zionism” for MERIP (Li 2008), which completely erases all Palestinian responsibility, rejectionism and terrorism, describes settlements as “colonies” and terrorism as “armed resistance” and makes the wildly inaccurate statement that “Half of the people between the Mediterranean and the Jordan live under a state that excludes them from the community of political subjects.”26 In March 2009 Li published an article together with Marc Garlasco in The Nation, entitled “Remote Control Death” (Garlasco and Li 2009) which makes contradictory arguments,27 erases relevant background, and distorts international law to promote the authors’ political agenda.
Li’s advocacy for the Palestinian narrative is not limited to the political arena. He introduced a documentary feature film at the 2008 “Boston Palestine Film Festival,” which “documents” how the “Israeli army appears to have attacked [Palestinians] with nerve gas.”28 He also participated in an event to celebrate the life of Palestinian poet and PLO executive committee member, Mahmoud Darwish, organized by the Alliance.29 Li recited Darwish’s poem “We Have on This Earth What Makes Life Worth Living” in Arabic and English, including the line “The peoples’ applause for those who face death with a smile.”