Human Rights Watch founder blasts group for anti-Israel bias

The blogosphere is buzzing with commentary about an op-ed in today’s New York Times blasting the group Human Rights Watch for its obsession with Israel – an obsession the writer says diminishes its effectiveness in addressing epidemic human rights abuses around the world.

And what a writer; the op-ed was penned by Robert Bernstein, HRW’s founder and for twenty years its chairman.

Bernstein writes that the group he created is now “issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.”  The group also neglects the reality that Israel is an open society “with least 80 human rights organizations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government,” while “the Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent.”

I’m not going to summarize – it’s worth reading yourself – but Bernstein’s conclusion is particularly telling:

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

No response yet from HRW.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.