Sunday, August 23, 2009

  • Sunday, August 23, 2009
  • Elder of Ziyon
HRW has responded defensively - but not convincingly - against Ma'ariv's accusations of bias by the main author of its report that claims to have "proof" that IDF soldiers fired on Gaza civilians holding white flags.

The "white flag" accusation is the core of the report. In fact, it is called "White Flag Deaths." But look at how HRW defends itself from Ma'ariv's and the IDF's responses:
  • "Human Rights Watch is relying on the testimony from people who are not free to speak out against the Hamas regime." Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, in an interview with the BBC, August 13, 2009.
  • "The Human Rights Watch report which claims that IDF soldiers killed 11 Palestinian civilians holding ‘white flags' is based on unreliable witness reports." Israel Defense Forces (IDF) statement, August 13, 2009.

Both claims are false. Human Rights Watch methodology does not rely only on the accounts of victims and eyewitnesses. We examine medical records such as hospital and autopsy reports; forensic evidence left over from attacks, such as bullet casings, tank tracks or ammunition boxes; the attack sites themselves; and we conduct interviews with multiple witnesses, including medical staff and law enforcement, military and other officials and, where possible, the alleged perpetrators. Our interviews are conducted in private (unless otherwise stated) and confidentially. We carefully cross-check individual interviews with the interviews of other witnesses to assess reliability and consistency, and assess information we receive against accounts of the fighting made available by the IDF, Hamas combatant lists, and in the media.

Well, since medical records and bullet casings and tank tracks and ammunition boxes do not say anything one way or the other about white flags, all that is left are "witnesses."

And Palestinian "eyewitnesses," to put it simply, lie. They lie consistently, they lie to a known playbook, and the evidence of their previous provable lies is overwhelming. To rely on "witnesses" to prove the white flag allegations is exactly the same as to rely on "witnesses" to prove that Israel steals organs - which is what the Swedish newspaper did last week.

Moreover, HRW ignored the inconsistencies from these very supposed eyewitnesses that had been published and noted in numerous sources in the days after these attacks. If the very witnesses they rely on cannot keep their own stories straight within days of the incidents, how reliable can their testimony be to HRW months later?

The author of the original Ma'ariv article, Ben Dror Yemini, responds to the latest HRW attempts to deflect their bias and shoddy research, and the article is translated here. It is important enough to reproduce in full:


CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY

Ben-Dror Yemini, Maariv, 21.8.09

HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS BECAME THE PROBLEM OF HUMAN RIGHTS

On Sunday (16.8.09), I wrote an article entitled "Author of Report Against Israel Supported Munich Massacre" which dealt with Joe Stork, the man who presented the severe Human Rights Watch (HRW) report last week (13.8.09) which said that 12 Palestinian civilians, including children, were shot to death by IDF soldiers even though they were waving white flags.

The article received widespread coverage and many references, and apparently struck a very sensitive chord with the organization. Up until now, the organization did not respond to claims of anti-Israel bias; on occasion, it arrogantly belittled the claims. This time the organization deviated from its habit. Two days later (18.8.09), Stork sent a letter to Maariv in which he tried to deal with the claims that were made against him. The letter is presented in full below, both for reasons regarding the right of response and in order to make it clear that the letter, in effect, only strengthens the claims against the organization in general and against Stork in particular. Following is Stork's letter in full, with remarks added in order to set the record straight.

***

"The Israeli government and Ben-Dror Yemini ['Author of Report against Israel Supported Munich Massacre'] seem to share a “shoot the messenger” approach when it comes to addressing painstakingly researched criticisms of the Israel Defense Forces’ actions in Gaza. Instead of addressing these detailed findings, they spread malicious misinformation about me and my organization, Human Rights Watch."

Stork is right. One must deal with the message, not the messenger. But sometimes, in extreme cases, there are grounds for focusing on the messenger. Let us assume that a former Ku Klux Klan activist would issue a report against Afro-Americans. Would the report be important or the messenger? The comparison is not far off the mark in the current case. Stork opposed the recognition of Israel and was even one of the founders (!) of a group that admired the murder of the Israeli athletes in Munich. Stork also recommended that the left-wing body should withdraw if the PLO decided to negotiate with Israel. May we not doubt the objectivity of such a man?

"On August 13, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing instances in January in which Israeli soldiers killed Palestinian civilians who were waving white flags to convey their civilian status. Government spokespersons sought to dismiss the report by calling Human Rights Watch biased. But to date no critic has disputed the facts about the seven incidents in the report, in which soldiers shot and killed 11 unarmed civilians, including four children and five women."

One of the main stories in the HRW's report relates to Abd Rabbo family, that three of her daughters were shot in cold blood, despite the fact that they raised a white flag, and despite the fact that fighting was not in the area. The case was published extensively on many newspapers around the world. A special report of Tamar Sternhal from CAMERA found out significant contradictions in the testimonies of the family members and the neighbors. Sternhal test was much more meticulous than the HRW report, and was posted on 4.2.09 - long before the publication of the report of HRW. It was ignored by the HRW team. Even the “Times Magazine” published a contradicting testimony about the Abed Rabbo affair, but again, it was ignored by HRW.
And indeed, it is becoming clear that HRW carried out negligent and non-serious work. All of the incidents appearing in the report were known to the IDF. The report itself did not add anything. Moreover, the claim that, "no critic has disputed the facts about the seven incidents," is a total lie. On the contrary, regarding five of the seven incidents, it was decided to open Military Police investigations, meaning that the IDF is carrying out a serious inquiry. If there are discrepancies – they are being thoroughly examined.

HRW adopts the opposite method. Videos have been published of Hamas personnel exploiting civilians and hiding behind white flags. These were even published on YouTube. Is there even one word – one! – about this in the HRW report? Of course not.

In the same video, it should be pointed out, the terrorist hides in a house from which civilians are waving white flags. The terrorist was apprehended. The civilians were not hurt. It is no coincidence that the film's findings were not refuted in the HRW report because when the target is painted in advance – the delegitimization of Israel – the facts will not confuse Stork and his people. While photographic testimony that refutes the findings of the report receives no comment, the testimony of Palestinians living in the shadow of Hamas's reign of terror receives top billing. Is this testimony serious? NGO Monitor responded to this and refuted HRW's claims. But Stork, as is his custom, takes no notice.

Many claims have been made against Israel. Israel did not ignore them. On the contrary, many of these claims were refuted in detail, in a 163-page Foreign Ministry report that was issued on 29.7.09. The HRW report, which was issued two weeks later (13.8.09), ignores most of them, just as the video was ignored because this is what HRW does. Stork is not even interested in checking; he wants delegitimization.

"Now, again instead of addressing our research, Mr. Yemini has launched a personal attack on me, which the Israeli government has dutifully translated and distributed. The quotes he attributes to me are more than 30 years old. Most of them I do not recognize, and they are contrary to the views I have expounded for decades now. For instance, selective excerpts about the Munich massacre come from an unsigned editorial that appeared 37 years ago where at the time I was one of seven volunteers that produced the publication. All my work since then shows that I would never support such an attack. For nearly 40 years, I have been documenting, writing, and speaking out on injustices by virtually all of the governments and many non-state armed groups in the Middle East. This work is readily available – including at Middle East Report magazine, which I edited through 1995, and at Human Rights Watch since then – but Mr. Yemini did not include these many statements, undoubtedly because they did not support his claims. Had he looked at the hundreds of statements, articles and reports I’ve written since the 1970s, he would have found exposés of Saddam Hussein’s murderous regime and my report for Human Rights Watch on war crimes by Palestinian suicide bombers. I have dedicated much of my adult life to the protection of human rights for all and to fighting the idea that civilians can be attacked for political reasons. Ma'ariv and Mr. Yemini owe me an apology."

Indeed, it is clear that Stork does not deny even one of the claims that I raised. He simply claims that there are his remarks from many years ago. Has Stork disavowed his very problematic past with the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP)? Indeed, in an article he wrote in 1993 on US-Israel relations, Stork expresses very similar positions to those he expressed in his MERIP days. Moreover, many footnotes in the same article direct the reader to remarks written in MERIP years before. This means that not only has there been no turning point but a reiteration and continuation of the past. And it should be clear that Stork was for the Israelis just as the KKK activist would be for the Afro-Americans.

Let us continue. Stork claims that HRW published condemnations of Saddam Hussein and Palestinian suicide terrorists. This is the case, there indeed were additional reports. But these reports do not pass the proportionality test. Among countless human rights violations around the world in which Israel has a marginal and small place, HRW sees fit to issue countless reports precisely on Israel, a disproportionality that indicates a pre-selected goal and Stork's special logic. Even when HRW issues a condemnation of a Palestinian action, Stork adds clarifications of his own [in a 2001 BBC report]: "Most of the [Palestinian] security officers have been in Israeli jails." Yes, the Stork of the past is no different from the Stork of today.

Stork's headline-grabber has to do with the equivocal support issued by MERIP in the wake of the Munich massacre: I was "one of seven volunteers," he tries to claim. Not exactly. Stork was one of MERIP's founders and the chief editor of the journal which published a statement in support of the massacre. It is a pity that Stork does not read his own CV as it appears on HRW's official website. The determination that the action was "an important boost in morale" for the Palestinians is part of the sequence of other remarks, including opposition to recognizing Israel, encouraging Arab countries to struggle against Israel, etc.

I believe that today, Stork would not issue a statement in support of massacring athletes. But Stork has merely gone from the highest rung on the anti-Zionist ladder to the next one lower down. But he is still on the same scale. He was and remains in the ranks of the anti-Israel Left. NGO Monitor and Prof. Gerald Steinberg will soon publish a book that analyzes a decade's worth of HRW publications and the people behind them, including Stork himself. But Stork is above criticism. It is possible to assume that he did not bother to study NGO Monitor's detailed response to the HRW report. This allows Stork to claim that there were no responses. This is what he does. When Steinberg previously issued a biting and substantive criticism, Stork arrogantly responded that he is not at all interested in criticism against him.

Israel, in contrast to Stork, takes notice of the criticism against it. It checks itself. Not all criticism of Israel deserves to be dismissed. Israel also makes mistakes. But Stork is a special personality. He is both radically anti-Israeli and unwilling to be criticized. Is it possible to accept the "criticism" of such a man?

Stork is not alone. When he began to work at HRW, he had no special expertise in the field. His only talent was a series of articles that were exceptionally hostile to Israel. That is not surprising. The Director of the Middle East Department, Sarah Leah Whitson, arrived at HRW after having been in a pro-Arab body. This is legitimate. Is there a chance that someone from the Anti-Defamation League would be accepted to HRW?

Global human rights are in a predicament. The UN Human Rights Council has turned into the Dark Regimes Rights Council. Saudi Arabia, Iran and Libya have an automatic majority. Non-governmental organizations, such as HRW, were supposed to stand against such bodies. But in reality a sad thing happened, Whitson flew to Saudi Arabia recently to raise funds for HRW. And they don't even understand that they have a problem. This is how non-governmental bodies have transformed antagonism towards Israel to the main issue. They are biased to the extreme. They place Israel in the same category as Sudan, and publish weak protests on the suicide and rocket industries, just to discharge a perfunctory obligation.

Israel is contending with the Hamas regime, the official covenant of which is the closest thing to Nazi ideology. This is a group that calls for the elimination of the State of Israel, the malicious murder of Israeli citizens, gratuitous Jew-hatred, and many of its speakers talk candidly about taking over the West. How exactly is a democratic country supposed to confront such an entity, indoctrinated in the ideology of hatred, murder and incitement? Why is Europe permitted to fight the Taliban – which threatens Germany or Spain much less – with much harsher measures, but Israel is prohibited from fighting a body like Hamas?

It is permitted to criticize Israel. But HRW has lost the moral right to do so. He who in the past has called for the elimination of Israel; he who supports, directly or indirectly, the boycott of Israel, cannot become an objective critic. There is a need for an international struggle for human rights. But bodies such as HRW hurt this important struggle. They become the prop of the world's darkest regimes. Instead of saying unequivocally that such a regime, such an ideology, such an element – has no right to exist, the HRW is waging a struggle that is not a criticism of Israel, but rather wild slander against Israel. True, there is marginal criticism against Hamas. But criticism of Israel is the main point. And therefore, for the sake of returning human rights to its proper standing, it is time for HRW to cleanse its ranks.

The very existence of a group like Hamas is a crime against humanity. Stork and HRW find it difficult to understand this. On the contrary, in their crude attack, in their delegitimization of Israel, they are parties to this crime.

h/t SfA



EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz

Loading...

comments

Speaking

follow me

Follow by Email

Contact

Elder: elder -at- elderofziyon dot com
Mrs. Elder: mrs.elder -at- elderofziyon.com


translate

E-Book

For $18 donation








Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever

Hasbys!

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

Donate!

Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options



One time donation:



subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Tweets

Compliments

The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs

Categories

Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz book review breaking the silence Cardozo Chanukah Christians conspiracy theories Cyprus Daphne Anson Davis report DCI-P double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada EoZNews eoztv Erekat EU Euro-Mid Observer Fake Civilians 2014 Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian gunness Haaretz hamas Hamas war crimes hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Juan Cole Judea-Samaria Kairos Karl Vick ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Miftah Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco music Muslim Brotherhood Nakba Natural gas Nazi News nftp NGO NIF norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peter Beinart Petra MB poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist purimshpiel Qaradawi Qassam calendar Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shujaiyeh Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Yemen zahran zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive