In the past, whenever Human Rights Watch spokespeople have been asked about their seemingly obsessive and disproportionate focus on Israel, the response has been that HRW holds every country to exactly the same standards. HRW does not, they claim, disproportionately focus on Israel, and if it seems that Israel is receiving disproportionate attention, it's because Israel has been engaged in so many high-profile human rights violations.
But here's Ken Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, in Tablet, on why HRW has issued report after report on the Gaza war: "But if the question is, 'Why are we more concerned about the [Gaza] war rather than on other rights abuses?' Well, we've got to pick and choose-we've got finite resources."
So it turns out, HRW doesn't treat all countries equally, and does disproportionately focus on Israel. Which begs the obvious question: If HRW is picking and choosing based on limited resources, why pick and choose Israel? Not only are there, by any reasonable human rights standards, much worse regimes both locally in the Middle East and around the world, but unlike countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, and so on, Israel has its own domestic human rights groups that are perfectly legal and well-heard in public discourse. It hardly seems logical that Israel is the best choice for HRW's limited resources, unless its staff happens to be ideologically hostile to Israel apart from specific human rights concerns--which, as I've documented in several posts, linked below, it is!
Not irrelevantly, in the same article, HRW Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson--who, remember, is a huge fan of anti-Israel activist, and frequent HRW critic Norman Finkelstein, whom she goes out of her way to appease--once again shows her contempt for her pro-Israel critics: "I'm not going to do something to appease people who have no interest in the truth, or who are only screaming about Israel."
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