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Ma'ariv vs. Joe Stork:

I don't want to become the Human Rights Watch blogger, but since we've taken the story this far, I figured I'd tell interested readers that HRW deputy Middle East director Joe Stork responded to the widely cited Ma'ariv article criticizing him last week, and the Ma'ariv editorialist lashed back with a massive Fisking; much better, in my opinion, than his original piece.

From what I can tell, the various revelations over the last few weeks about Human Rights Watch--the fundraising trip to Saudi Arabia, the anti-Israel activist backgrounds of its Middle East staff, the contemptuous attitude toward pro-Israel critics (who often turn out to be right) contrasted with the obsequious attitude toward anti-Israel critics, and so on--has cost the organization its credibility among a very broad swath of Israeli and Western pro-Israel public opinion, including the moderate left.

From now on, every HRW report on Israel is going to be greeted with "you mean the Saudi-funded HRW," or "you mean the report written by the woman [HRW Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson] who is a great admirer of Norman Finkelstein and lobbied Kofi Annan against Israel in the middle of the Second Intifada" or "you mean the report written by the guy [Stork] who supports the anti-Israel boycott movement and has been venting his hostility to Israel for almost forty years" or "you mean HRW, the organization that fails to take down from its website anti-Israel reports even when it has admitted they are inaccurate," and so on.

A housecleaning is needed. Transfer Stork, Whitson, and the rest of the current crew to an area in which they don't have strong ideological priors, and bring in some real human rights advocates to replace the anti-Israel propagandists. Or just preach to the leftist, anti-Israel choir, but don't expect anyone else to pay attention.