Leaders of Human Rights Watch visited Saudi Arabia one of the major violators of the norms that HRW claims to promote to raise funds for the organization. HRWs anti-Israel obsession was stated as the major reason for holding this Saudi fundraiser. Sarah Leah Whitsons appeal for Saudi support and money acknowledged HRWs anti-Israel focus extensively, claiming that Human Rights Watch provided the international community with evidence of Israel using white phosphorus and launching systematic destructive attacks on civilian targets. Whitson also invoked the canard of pro-Israel pressure groups.
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.