HRW’s Founder denounces the organization’s obsession with Israel

Robert L. Bernstein, the former president and chief executive of Random House, was the chairman of Human Rights Watch from 1978 to 1998. Here, on the op-ed pages of the NYT he comes out on the side of HRW’s nemesis, NGO Monitor. This is big, very big.

Let’s see how HRW responds. They’ve always dismissed NGO Monitor and their other critics as over-zealous Zionists who object to any criticism of Israel. Now they’ve got big trouble and that line won’t work… which doesn’t mean they won’t try it.

Rights Watchdog, Lost in the Mideast
By ROBERT L. BERNSTEIN
Published: October 19, 2009

AS the founder of Human Rights Watch, its active chairman for 20 years and now founding chairman emeritus, I must do something that I never anticipated: I must publicly join the group’s critics. Human Rights Watch had as its original mission to pry open closed societies, advocate basic freedoms and support dissenters. But recently it has been issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.

At Human Rights Watch, we always recognized that open, democratic societies have faults and commit abuses. But we saw that they have the ability to correct them — through vigorous public debate, an adversarial press and many other mechanisms that encourage reform.

In other words, there’s a world of difference between self-critical, self-regulating societies, and authoritarian ones who shut down any criticism of their actions.

That is why we sought to draw a sharp line between the democratic and nondemocratic worlds, in an effort to create clarity in human rights. We wanted to prevent the Soviet Union and its followers from playing a moral equivalence game with the West and to encourage liberalization by drawing attention to dissidents like Andrei Sakharov, Natan Sharansky and those in the Soviet gulag — and the millions in China’s laogai, or labor camps.
When I stepped aside in 1998, Human Rights Watch was active in 70 countries, most of them closed societies. Now the organization, with increasing frequency, casts aside its important distinction between open and closed societies.

This is the disease of “moral equivalence,” and for those of us old enough to remember the sixties, even though we were there, this was already a serious problem. I remember well my arguments with the SDS types who, in my view, expressed a ludicrous “even-handedness” which systematically ignored the fact that, were they in the countries that they claimed were no better or worse than US capitalist society, they’d be dead. Lack of gratitude. And the attitude has only gotten worse over time. Joe Stork was one of that gang.

Nowhere is this more evident than in its work in the Middle East. The region is populated by authoritarian regimes with appalling human rights records. Yet in recent years Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region.

Here’s an interesting way to illustrate the problem. Here’s what I call the “Casualty footprint” of two conflicts over the last 20 years (i.e., since the fall of the USSR). Taken from Stealth Conflicts, by Virgil Hawkins.


“Democratic Republic” of Congo, 5.4 million dead; Israeli-Palestinian conflict (including two intifadas), less than 10,000 dead.

Now take that and reverse the names and you have not only the MSNM footprint, but the NGO footprint. At HRW, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, over 300 reports; DRC, 6.

Israel, with a population of 7.4 million, is home to at least 80 human rights organizations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government, a judiciary that frequently rules against the government, a politically active academia, multiple political parties and, judging by the amount of news coverage, probably more journalists per capita than any other country in the world — many of whom are there expressly to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Meanwhile, the Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent. The plight of their citizens who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide is being ignored as Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel.

Human Rights Watch has lost critical perspective on a conflict in which Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations that go after Israeli citizens and use their own people as human shields. These groups are supported by the government of Iran, which has openly declared its intention not just to destroy Israel but to murder Jews everywhere. This incitement to genocide is a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Leaders of Human Rights Watch know that Hamas and Hezbollah chose to wage war from densely populated areas, deliberately transforming neighborhoods into battlefields. They know that more and better arms are flowing into both Gaza and Lebanon and are poised to strike again. And they know that this militancy continues to deprive Palestinians of any chance for the peaceful and productive life they deserve. Yet Israel, the repeated victim of aggression, faces the brunt of Human Rights Watch’s criticism.

Do they know? Do they suppress the awareness, just like journalists suppress the awareness that they are systematically intimidated? Do they substitute an ideology and advocacy that considers the Palestinians victims and therefore justified in using the “weapons of the weak” like suicide bombers in real warfare and lethal narratives in cognitive warfare, and even if they weakly denounce them, their heart is not in it?

The organization is expressly concerned mainly with how wars are fought, not with motivations. To be sure, even victims of aggression are bound by the laws of war and must do their utmost to minimize civilian casualties.

I’m not sure what he means here. They are, of course, concerned with motivations, especially when they accuse Israelis of intentionally targeting civilians. That’s at the core of Palestinian lethal narratives from Muhammad al Durah to Abed Rabbo.

Nevertheless, there is a difference between wrongs committed in self-defense and those perpetrated intentionally.

Precisely. But in the morally inverted world of people like Joe Stork and Sarah Whitson — and many “liberals” like Cherie Blair and Jenny Tonge — “resistance is not terrorism” and therefore it’s not that suicide bombers intend to kill civilians it’s that they “have no hope” and therefore no alternative.

But how does Human Rights Watch know that these laws have been violated? In Gaza and elsewhere where there is no access to the battlefield or to the military and political leaders who make strategic decisions, it is extremely difficult to make definitive judgments about war crimes. Reporting often relies on witnesses whose stories cannot be verified and who may testify for political advantage or because they fear retaliation from their own rulers.

Omri Cerem just interviewed me for his new radio show, and asked me what I thought, once the dust has settled will be the percentage of the Goldstone Report — based on a systematic credulity for Palestinian testimony — that turns out to be accurate. I think, to be generous, under 20%. And when it comes to accusations of deliberate murder of civilians, .01% if that.

Significantly, Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and an expert on warfare, has said that the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza “did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”

In a response to my article in the Jerusalem Post, one disgruntled commenter noted:

    22. The ego massaging itself – enough alraedy !
    “…the army with the best record in the history of warfare…” :-) – who says so ? Is there a concensus somewhere on this planet on this self-congratulary pronouncement ? These ridiculous statements only serves to remind the world of the dismal ACTUAL record
    Observer – US (10/11/2009 19:12)

I don’t suppose Colonel Kemp would give this fellow pause to think. But I maintain that any dispassionate study in the history of warfare would bear out those remarks.

Only by returning to its founding mission and the spirit of humility that animated it can Human Rights Watch resurrect itself as a moral force in the Middle East and throughout the world. If it fails to do that, its credibility will be seriously undermined and its important role in the world significantly diminished.

I’d take it another step. This situation is rapidly spinning out of control. (As a medievalist I can say rapidly about a situation that’s been getting visibly worse for over a decade.) The delusions that drive people like Stork and Whiston — that Israel is one of, if not the worst, human rights violators in the world and destroying/dismantling her will be a great victory, ranks among the most self-destructive delusions the world has ever seen. I hope historians a generation from now will be able to say, “Wow, that was a close call.”

44 Responses to HRW’s Founder denounces the organization’s obsession with Israel

  1. Steve in Brookline says:

    OK it’s small-minded and and carping but why did it take Bernstein so long to publicly condemn HRW. I’m delighted that he did it but it’s long overdue.

  2. oao says:

    This is big, very big.

    it should be. but my guess is it won’t be.

    the damage has already been done in the process of delegitimizing israel, which is accelerating.

    there may be changes at HRW but i very much doubt it will attenuate the acceleration. there are many other entities which will contimue the demonization — including alibama, just watch — and the political and economic underlying considerations have not changed.

    still, it is good to see one of those rare occasions when somebody with some weight does the right thing.

  3. oao says:

    steve,

    good question.

    i watched yesterday a youtube video of a presentation by andy thompson, a psychiatrist, about the evolutionary development of morality. i strongly suggest everybody to watch it, particularly those who take the collins’ side that the “moral law” comes from god.

    he described some conflict between 2 sections of the brain when moral decision must be made which in some cases slows down the decision. i would not be surprised if that’s what delayed his action: otoh hurting the org he founded and otoh the realization that not acting would also hurt it.

    i am guessing here, but he probably waited until he couldn’t anymore.

  4. Don Cox says:

    Those who are against human rights, free speech, honest democracy, etc have made it their business to infiltrate as many “Human Rights” organisations as possible.

    This is like the organised penetration of trade unions and similar bodies by Soviet-sponsored Marxists in the 20C. (In the Soviet empire there were no independent trade unions.)

    How reliable is the figure for deaths in the Congo? I am not doubting that the number is big, but does anyone have really solid documented figures? It has been difficult enough to establish a true figure for the Gaza fighting (or for Iraq).

  5. Ray in Seattle says:

    About Bernstein’s previous restraint. As the founder of HRW I suspect he was reluctant to publicly condemn the org. believing that the best possible outcome for the cause of global human rights would be for the current leadership to see their errors and correct their own course.

    I have no doubt that he made his views known to the leadership repeatedly before this. I think HRW’s complicity in the Goldstone Report and the huge damage that it is causing to human rights worldwide (and may cause in the future) caused him to go public with his criticism.

  6. E.G. says:

    Bernstein:

    The organization is expressly concerned mainly with how wars are fought, not with motivations. To be sure, even victims of aggression are bound by the laws of war and must do their utmost to minimize civilian casualties.

    RL:

    I’m not sure what he means here.

    IMHO, Bernstein criticises the Org.’s interpretation of Intl. law, to their failure to note that this set of rules applies to conventional warfare but that the situation is non-conventional one (a non state-army vs. state army) and the consequential problem of distinguishing between “militant/combattant civilians” and “innocent civilians”. Including “collateral damage” due to the use of human shields.

    The second phrase is indeed bizarre: has any Intl. institution determined that a terrorist organisation is bound by any rule? Not to the best of my knowledge.

  7. Joanne says:

    “i watched yesterday a youtube video of a presentation by andy thompson, a psychiatrist, about the evolutionary development of morality. i strongly suggest everybody to watch it…”

    oao, can you provide the link?

  8. Joanne says:

    In the meantime, I think everyone should check out this link:

    http://www.jweekly.com/includes/print/39956/article/new-video-continues-campaign-against-rachel-programming/

    Be sure to scroll down to the two-part video.

    A radio host based in San Francisco shows bits from a “Jewish” film festival there that’s really eye-opening. Very interesting stuff.

    HT/solomonia.com

  9. E.G. says:

    Joanne,

    Indeed an interesting story of hijacking.

  10. One Jerusalem Radio’s Omri Ceren Show – Wednesday, 2pm PST – Richard Landes On Goldstonereport.org, Hamas’s Human Shields, And The Cognitive War Against Israel…

    I just wrapped up this week’s recorded interview with Prof. Richard Landes – he of Augean Stables, Second Draft, and soon to be Goldstonereport.org fame – the sum total of which ran almost 40 minutes. Cutting it down to……

  11. Solomonia says:

    Tuesday Goldstone and More…

    Not directly Goldstone, but so closely related it belongs: Sophia already linked to Human Rights Watch founder Robert Bernstein’s New York Times op-ed taking his own organization to task, but really, the significance of this can’t be understated: Rig…

  12. Simon says:

    joanne,
    The SF event is like a nightmare. This is why I don’t donate to local organisations, as not only is the money wasted, little gets to Israel, it is also donated as per the professional boardsitters ideological preferences. The best way is to donate directly to Israel, in Israel. Ask Israelis who to donate to and avoid the cabal.

  13. E.G. says:

    Simon,

    Libi is one such worthy org.

  14. E.G. says:

    Speaking of the IDF.
    Canadian Armed Forces Chief of the Defense Staff, General Walter J. Natynczyk:
    Now we realize what IDF had to counter

  15. nelson says:

    Terrorism = guerilla = freedom fighters = anti-colonialism

    That, above, is the troublesome equation (which can be read both left-to-right and right-to-left). For more than half a century, whatever could be called colonialism has been considered the ultimate evil, the most atrocious form of oppressing and exploiting the defenseless, innocent poor.

    This model went unopposed for so long that it became kind of an archetype. And, as in theory at least, the poor and oppressed colonial peoples could only fight asymmetrically, any asymmetrical fight became synonymous with the ultimate good: anti-colonialism.

    Managing to make the anti-colonial model or narrative stick to a conflict has, for over half a century, been enough to make it unnecessary, even prohibited, to judge it on its own merits. That’s why, immediately after 9/11, there was already talk of “root causes”. This is a byword for making anything conform to the anti-colonial pattern.

    And, if we dig a little deeper, we’ll find out, below the anti-colonial narrative, the Age’s morality according to which the poor and/or weak are always right, while the rich/strong are always wrong. And the basic reason for this is given by the class-war nexus: the poor are poor because the rich are rich.

    According to this view, Israel’s success, affluence and (relative) military power are already an indictment against it. A country –any country– can only be (relatively) rich through robbery. Thus, Israel’s (illegitimate) success is a direct consequence of the Palestinian’s “dispossession”.

    Until this paradigm is rejected (and it won’t be), Israel (and the US) will always be seen as the guilty side, and no action it takes in self-defense will ever be justified. Mean while, the best the Palestinians (and Arabs in general) may do to go on being seen as the oppressed underdogs is to stay poor, to perpetuate their societal failure. And this is not a really difficult task for them.

  16. oao says:

    Until this paradigm is rejected (and it won’t be), Israel (and the US) will always be seen as the guilty side, and no action it takes in self-defense will ever be justified.

    the former colonial powers are turning the US and israel into oppressors to expiate for their own past sins.

    Mean while, the best the Palestinians (and Arabs in general) may do to go on being seen as the oppressed underdogs is to stay poor, to perpetuate their societal failure. And this is not a really difficult task for them.

    more than that: this is the ONLY thing they know, they are incapable of anything else. it is not genetic, but induced by indoctrination, lack of education and incentivization by western jiziya, which sustains and rewards them for remaining that way.

  17. oao says:

    The SF event is like a nightmare.

    not just this event, the whole political system.

  18. oao says:

    what would bernstein say of this?

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/hazony/135792

    looks like these NGO have essentially recognized terrorist groups as bona-fide nations equivalent not even to dictatorships, but to full-fledged democratic civilized nations.

    i don’t care how much they hate israel, the evidence of utter ignorance and stupidity is overwhelming. and this goes for goldstone too.

  19. Cynic says:

    Nelson,

    And, as in theory at least, the poor and oppressed colonial peoples could only fight asymmetrically, any asymmetrical fight became synonymous with the ultimate good: anti-colonialism.

    but unsurprisingly this excuse is denied the Israelis Jewish Palestinians in pre-1948 Palestine when the fought the British foreign policy, that condemned their brothers and sisters to be slaughtered by the Germans, and used asymmetric warfare against the military which kept the doors to freedom for those millions slammed shut.

  20. oao says:

    hrw’s inabaility to address bernstein’s criticism:

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/pollak/135012

  21. nelson says:

    Cynic,

    “but unsurprisingly this excuse is denied the Israelis Jewish Palestinians in pre-1948 Palestine”

    The point is: Palestine (and the rest of the Arab/Muslim world) on one side, and Europe on the other existed and still exist in completely different planets, or rather, universes — between which there’s no communication.

    Though, as Obama told us, the Muslims were directly responsible for everything important, everything good, beautiful and useful in the West and in Western culture, their world never ever had any other kind of relationship with the Western/Christian world — except, of course, as a perpetual victim of the West’s gratuitous imperialistic aggression, beginning with the Crusades (if not earlier), and uninterrupted until now.

    Every country and/or region on the face of the Earth has, for instance, the duty to accept political or economic refugees, save the Muslim world. It is basically a fact of nature that Arabs and Muslims in general have a God-given right to settle wherever they want, and that the host population should not only accommodate them, but actually give them a privileged status. Vis-à-vis the rest of humanity, the Muslims have only rights (and grievances), but no duties or obligations.

    Thus, if Jews were running away for their lives from Europe, the Muslim world had no reason to accept them, and even though those Jews were refugees in Europe, once close to/or inside the Muslim world, they automatically became bloodthirsty colonial invaders.

    Coming to think of it, they weren’t even refugees or immigrants, because the whole story about their persecution in Europe (obviously a richly deserved persecution) was nothing but a lie invented to justify the dispossession of the Palestinians.

    This reasoning is not limited to the Jews.

    Multiculturalism, for instance, is fine and desirable in Europe or the US. But not in North Africa, the Middle East or the Arabian peninsula. Though all these regions are actually multicultural, multiethnic, multi-religious and multilingual, their Muslim and/or Arab inhabitants (and the Iranians as well) don’t have to recognize any other group or grant them basic human rights.

    Egypt, though maybe 20% Coptic, calls itself an Arab Republic. The millions of Catholic Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia cannot begin to dream of the rights granted by the Europeans or the US even to illegal immigrants. It is arguable that those Filipinos in the KSA have less rights than any prisoner in Guantánamo.

    Israel has two official languages: Hebrew and Arabic. But the Berber languages spoken by a large part of Algeria’s and Morocco’s population (by the way, the descendents of those who were already there before the Arabs and Islam arrived) aren’t officially recognized. Nor are, in the whole region, non-Arab ethnic groups (or non-Iranian in Iran) and religious minorities. Just take a look at the situation of the Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq.

    Muslims in general and Arab Muslims in particular behave as if there were two set of rules in the world: one for them and one for the rest. And the funniest part of it is that they are right. The UN, the EU and the US all recognize this. So, why should those trouble-making Jews disagree? Why don’t they simply vote their state (and themselves) out of existence?

    My impression sometimes is that, for the time being, we haven’t been saved by our elites’ wisdom and courage, but rather by the Muslims’ mistakes, impatience and their love for infighting. Instead of a competition between the Western and the Muslim world for victory over each other, what I see are two parallel (though interdependent) races, where each of these worlds is trying to defeat or destroy itself before its adversary manages to do the same.

  22. oao says:

    their world never ever had any other kind of relationship with the Western/Christian world — except, of course, as a perpetual victim of the West’s gratuitous imperialistic aggression

    that is, if you don’t count the islamic colonialism of europe.

    be that as it may, colonialism is the best thing that ever happened to muslims. given their inability for progress, their victimhood seems to have guaranteed them some life, without which they would all be in the 7th century, in which many of them still are.

  23. oao says:

    Muslims in general and Arab Muslims in particular behave as if there were two set of rules in the world: one for them and one for the rest.

    read Quttb — he makes that explicitly clear straight from the quran: dar-el-islam and dar-el-harb. ALL infidels are in the latter by definition.

    My impression sometimes is that, for the time being, we haven’t been saved by our elites’ wisdom and courage, but rather by the Muslims’ mistakes, impatience and their love for infighting.

    elites never save anybody except themselves. that’s why they want to be elites. and to define the rules for the others except themselves.

  24. Eliyahu says:

    oao, re your # 26

    Many of the Jewish immigrants [`olim if you like] to Israel in the mid- and late 19th century, were Rumanian Jews, like Aaron Aaronsohn and his family. But Rumania was a part of the Ottoman Empire up to 1878. This was a Sunni Muslim empire in which Arabs as well as Turks and Muslims of other ethnic groups held high office. Palestinian Arabs holding high office in the empire belonged to the Husseini, al-Khalidi [think Walid and Rashid] and `Abdul-Hadi families, especially. In other words, Arabs, including palestinian Arabs, were ruling over Jews in the empire, including Jews in Salonika, Smyrna [vey iz mir!], Kusta [Istanbul today], Bulgaria and Romania. So how could the Romanian [or Bulgarian or Greek] Jews be “foreign colonists” if they were just moving from one part of the Empire to another?? The right to move from one part of one’s state to another is recognized in the Universal Declaration of human rights, article 13, I believe. How is this colonialism, even for the Aaronsohn family who came to Israel about 1882, four years after Rumania was lost to the Empire?? The upper crust of the Sunni Arabs, as a privileged part of Ottoman society, ruled over Jews in various parts of the Empire, including Jerusalem, especially after the Jerusalem municipality was set up about 1862. The Arabs were part of the colonial ruling class of the Ottoman Empire.

  25. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    In the current zeitgeist this (28) remark is not relevant. The Ottoman Empire suffered its defeat. And by no others than the horrendous Western colonial empires. Blame the losers? the humiliated? Add insult to injury?

  26. oao says:

    So how could the Romanian [or Bulgarian or Greek] Jews be “foreign colonists” if they were just moving from one part of the Empire to another??

    i am sure that the euros and the pals will give you some explanation why, whether they know the history or not.

  27. nelson says:

    Eliyahu,
    re: Universal Declaration of human rights

    I imagine there are by now some new articles in that Declaration dealing with the Muslims’ right of ruling over non-Muslims, and also with anybody’s right to live in a Jew-free environment.

  28. nelson says:

    Robert D. Kaplan has a somewhat clueless text in The Atlantic defending the idea of something he calls the international civil society. (http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200910u/obama-global-internationalism) Obama’s anointment by the Scandinavians would make him a kind of leader of this movement, something that wishes to transcend national interests in the name of mankind.

    According to him all transnational institutions, NGOs, the UN and so on are, I guess, made up of non hypocritical and non self-interested people who hold the keys to a better future.

    My only curiosity about him is whether he is completely cynical or absolutely self-deluded, since he simply ignores (or omits) that all this “transi” stuff is even more corrupt and less democratic than the average Third World dictatorship. None of these people nor their institutions are bound by transparent rules (well, by any rules save those of Alice’s Wonderland), nor do they have to answer to any kind of accountability.

    It took centuries to submit a handful of governments here and there to a moderate amount of accountability. Does he actually think that, if the few more or less functioning democracies give their decisions up to the representatives of all the world’s dictatorships, the Muslim bloc, the Latin American populist demagogues, the African and Asian kleptocrats, to an unelected and unanswerable elite, then the whole world will look like Disneyland in a sunny day?

    I mean, if there has ever been something we might call a “teachable moment”, that was the Goldstone Report and the way it has been dealt with by the UN Human Rights Commission and, in general, by the so-called International Community. As far as I know, even Stalin’s judges throughout the 30s took more care to stick to formalities and keep appearances.

    On the other hand, in a certain way, Kaplan does tell us where Obama’s loyalties (if he has any) lie. Though elected according to the US Constitution by the American voter and tax-payer, he’d rather consider himself a representative of the trasnational elite, someone who’d like to make the US conform to an ideal I’d call Supranational Neo-Enlightened Despotism. If anyone finds enigmatic how come that these proponents of such a PoMo universal governance can establish alliances with the world’s most pre-modern, archaic, primitive and reactionary regimes and societies, the tactics of the Third International supply us with the answer. According to them, it was even easier for a society to jump from, say, feudalism to socialism than it was for a bourgeois capitalist society to do it. From the point of view of the transi ideologues, it would be a loss of time to develop those societies in the wrong, capitalistic, direction. Better to enlist their “primitive revolutionary” instincts (not yet corrupted by the market, consumerism etc.) to help demolish the establishment, thus forcing its “internal contradictions”, past their limits, to the breaking point.

    Independently even of anti-Semitism, this is Israel’s sin. It is a successful and democratic, recently created nation-state that not only outperforms all its neighbors, but most of the world. To make things worse, it was created in a region where, due to all the sins of colonialism and imperialism, successful nation-states should, according to dogma, be impossible. And it also provides a very bad example there that, if followed, would contradict whatever the transi elite preaches. (In a perverse way, no one formulated this better than Tony Judt.) Israel’s thus a mistake: it couldn’t and, so, shouldn’t exist, especially where it is. From this follows the necessity of proving it is an aberration and that it behaves as such. The Jewish state is an embarrassment both for the pre-modern barbarians and for the post-modern technocrats.

    (To check whether my explanation above works, I’d suggest applying it to a country like Zimbabwe.)

  29. Eliyahu says:

    Nelson, they don’t need to amend the Universal Declaration. They have what is called the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, to which all or nearly all Muslim states subscribe. You can imagine what the Cairo document contains. It vitiates, but in sneaky ways, the rights enshrined by the Universal Decl. So they already have the legal answer to your question in #31. And of course we must accept the Cairo Decl for the sake of peace, human rights, the equality of cultures, the rights of women in their proper cultural-traditional setting, for a clean environment, for the struggles against global warming and against constipation.

    Carlo Panella has a helpful discussion of this in his book [in Italian] on Islamic Judeophobia, Il ‘Complotto Ebraico’]. He compares the articles of the Cairo Decl with those of the Universal Decl. Don’t worry, Nelson, your question has already been answered.

  30. Eliyahu says:

    and states that have endorsed the Cairo Declaration must sit on the UN human rights council in order to judge Israel.

  31. JG Caesarea says:

    Struck by Bernstein’s thunderbolt, HRW quickly went into damage control mode. If you go to their home page under “Latest News”, there is a link to “Why We Report on ‘Open’ Societies, Responding to Robert Bernstein’s NYT op-ed” (http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/10/20/why-we-report-open-societies), where it is stated:

    “Human Rights Watch does not devote more time and energy to Israel than to other countries in the region, or in the world. We’ve produced more than 1,700 reports, letters, news releases, and other commentaries on the Middle East and North Africa since January 2000, and the vast majority of these were about countries other than Israel.”

    HRW is disingenuous. Bernstein’s claim is not that HRW has produced more condemnations of Israel than all other Middle East countries combined as HRW would have us believe, but rather that “Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country [emphasis added] in the region.” How might we test this?

    Go to the HRW website, go to “Browse by Country”, and from there check the number of pages of HRW reports for each country. For example, you will see:

    Sudan: 30
    “Israel and Occupied Territories”: 27
    Iran: 21
    Egypt: 18
    Saudi Arabia: 11
    Syria: 8

    It need first be noted that some of the reports found in “Israel and Occupied Territories” concern violations of human rights by Hamas and Fatah, but these reports are a distinct minority. Also, classifying Gaza as “Occupied Territory” already casts a shadow upon HRW’s neutrality.

    Now let’s look at the numbers. True, Sudan of Darfur infamy, comes in barely ahead of Israel in terms of number of pages; however, Israel is well ahead of Iran, which is known for hanging homosexuals, executing minors, persecuting Baha’is, persecuting Sunni Muslims, persecuting Jews, discriminating against women, brutally suppressing political dissent, stoning to death adulterers while their children watch, supporting genocide in Darfur, and the list continues.

    Israel also comes in far above Saudi Arabia, known for its beheadings, severing of hands, whipping, gauging of eyes, discrimination against women, discrimination against Shiites, etc. I would love to learn how much of HRW’s funding derives from this desert kingdom.

  32. Cynic says:

    would contradict whatever the transi elite preaches.

    That is, their transfacts.

  33. Cynic says:

    Nelson,

    With regard to Zimbabwe it was the straightforward march to power that occurred with no interest whatsoever for socialism.
    They went from a basically market capitalism to despotism as Mugabe’s thugs murdered Nkomo’s tribesmen after the whites were removed from power to introduce “majority” rule. Mugabe’s majority Shona slaughtered Nkomo’s minority Ndebele.

  34. nelson says:

    Cynic,

    Zimbabwe was among the most economically viable countries in Africa. Mugabe’s conquest of power there was backed by most of the “international community” led, btw, by Jimmy Carter.

    Now, it was obvious already at the time that, beneath his freedom fighter image, what lurked was a destructively corrupt autocrat. Whoever backed him wasn’t interested in the well being of the country’s population, but only in the triumph of the “anti-colonial liberation movement” model. Neither were they interested in a peaceful and constructive transition from white rule.

    If moderates had prevailed there, setting an example of relatively decent governance and administration, that would contradict two central ideas or dogmas: (1)that democracy or freedom or whatever can only be achieved through revolutionary violence and (2) that the weight of the colonial past dooms all African nations to be economic and social basket-cases.

    A possibly successful alternative to the favored model had to be blocked by any and every means. Otherwise, several other African countries could have been tempted to choose pacific transition, representative democracy, even the free market. Then it might have become somewhat more difficult for those basket-cases to blame exclusively the West, the US and capitalism for their failure. And it would also have become more complicated for the transi elite to state that the only way out is through their destruction.

    If there weren’t miserable, embattled, failed countries all around, what would anyone need all those transnational bureaucrats and their international organizations for?

    Take a look at Honduras. That was a country lucky enough to have strict constitutional provisions against a Bolivarian, Hugo Chávez-like take-over of the executive branch. Nonetheless, under the guidance of the Latin American left-populist coalition, the whole “international community” united to force back a proto-dictator against the legal decisions of the judiciary and the parliament — and against the will of most of the country’s citizens. Why? Because even the advanced democracies’ foreign policy establishments favour both the leftist, 3rd world coalition and the Islamic bloc.

    (It could be argued that, from its point of view, the State Dpt. is not mistaken or incompetent. What happens is that it is looking for real allies. Its allies are those countries and international organizations that fight, hate and/or criticize the US as it is. The role of such allies is not only helping the liberals to change America’s foreign policy, but also backing their wish to change the country’s very nature.)

    Again, nobody’s interested in the well being of the Honduran people. What all of them want to avoid is the democratic and legal victory of that country’s anti-authoritarian forces which, besides reaffirming its sovereignty over the pressures and impositions of the “international community”, would threaten all those according to whom the future is pre-determined, inevitable and can follow only the route they consider right. Or, from the State Dept’s point of view, if even little and poor Honduras can successfully defy the will and wisdom of the “international community”, why should the US submit to it?

  35. Cynic says:

    Nelson,

    but only in the triumph of the “anti-colonial liberation movement” model.

    Just another façade to hide the power grab.

    If moderates had prevailed there, setting an example of relatively decent governance and administration,

    Well Bishop Abel Muzorewa almost made it but see how Djimma Kata screwed him.
    Amazing how that travesty for a human landed Zimbabwe with its current situation and the world with the Iranian apocalypse.

  36. Eliyahu says:

    cynic, be fair now, poor jimmuh cartuh couldn’t find either Iran or Zimbabwe on a map if his life depended on it. Jimmmuh was carrying out the policy of the second model for Dr Strangelove in the movie [the primary model for Strangelove was Kissinger].

    This secondary model for Strangelove was zbig brzezzzzski. By the way, zbig is filling up his cannibal’s pool with cooking liquid to cook us with. He was explaining in some fashion or other to the moronic joe Klein at Time mag what a Just or Realistic settlement of the “palestinian”-Israeli would look like which picture “everybody” knows is right and agrees with. One of the problems that neither zbig nor joe klein seem to want to deal with is that the Arab side doesn’t want peace Israel, doesn’t believe that such a peace would be a Good Thing, doesn’t believe in peace with infidels, etc., in any case.

  37. Eliyahu says:

    Nelson, you are saying that the obama crowd doesn’t care for the human or civil rights of the Hondurenos. But he doesn’t discriminate against Hondurenos. He opposes human rights for Iranians who oppose the ayatollahs and he is agin human rights for Jews, such as the freedom to live in Judea-Samaria.

  38. Cynic says:

    Eliyahu,

    The two words are used in conjunction as a weapon to bludgeon the opposition or a façade to hide the ulterior motive of the politician/activist.
    As it is it appears almost oxymoronic in its use when a human is actually considered.

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