The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv has published an article about Joe Stork, deputy director for the Middle East of Human Rights Watch. As Noah Pollack summarizes, Stork has “written in explicit support of terrorism against Israel, who lauded the murder of Israeli athletes at Munich in 1972 as providing ‘an important boost in morale among Palestinians,’ and who wrote that ‘Zionism may be defeated only by fighting imperialism.'”
I thought the article was somewhat unfair, because it relies primarily on quotes that are over thirty years old. So I decided to read some of Stork’s more recent writings, from the Middle East Report, which he edited (and searchable back issue of which are available through university library subscription).
I didn’t find anything nearly as outrageous as his quotes from the ’70s. What I found was someone with fairly standard, far Left anti-Israel views, who was especially exercised by the “special” U.S.-Israel relationship.
Which leads to the question of why Human Rights Watch hired him in 1996 to be a senior member of its Middle East staff, direct from his position as editor of Middle East Report. When HRW hired Stork, as near as I can tell (see his official HRW bio), he had no law degree and had not practiced international law, had never worked for a human rights group, had no military experience or experience with munitions, never held an academic position (he has an M.A. in international affairs), and otherwise had no specific qualifications one could pinpoint that would suggest that he’d be the person an “objective” human rights group would hire to a top position.
Stork did have a great deal of experience, however, as a leftist anti-Israel polemicist, who sought to undermine U.S.-Israel ties. One can only assume that this is why HRW director Ken Roth hired him.