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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Ken Roth keeps on slandering Israel based on pure ignorance

Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch is predictably perturbed at Goldstone's Washington Post op-ed. Almost as predictably, he writes a letter about it - not to the Washington Post, but to the New York Times.

Here's one part that shows how disingenuous Roth is:

Mr. Goldstone has not repudiated his panel’s findings that Israel committed numerous serious violations of the laws of war. Israeli forces, according to the Goldstone report, indiscriminately used heavy artillery and white phosphorous in densely populated areas and deliberately destroyed civilian buildings and infrastructure without a lawful military reason. That conduct was so widespread and systematic that it must have reflected policy.

Israel has yet to investigate the policies behind the indiscriminate attacks that caused so much civilian harm.
HRW's central thesis is that Israeli policy is to attack civilians. And their evidence is that based on their deeply flawed investigations, "it must" be so.

Yet HRW did not have a single real military expert doing its investigations. It came up with these conclusions based not on knowledge, but on ignorance. Their one "expert" they loved to trot out as a fig leaf for their pseudo-investigations has left HRW in disgrace, he had no real-world experience in how urban warfare is waged, and even so his concerns about how HRW was "sexing up" military claims against Israel were reportedly disregarded by his supervisors.

A comparison between how Goldstone (and HRW) investigated specific incidents of the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and the IDF's report on the same incidents, shows conclusively that Goldstone and HRW both know next to nothing about military matters - yet they both made false conclusions about how Israel must have had a policy violating Geneva conventions because they couldn't imagine otherwise.

Israel has been spending the past two years painstakingly investigating not only HRW and Goldstone's claims, but hundreds of other complaints about Cast Lead. Yet somehow we have not heard about any deliberate Israeli policy to target civilians. So is HRW saying that the investigations are a huge cover-up for an immoral and illegal Israeli policy that they are sure exists but that no one has been able to produce?

At least Goldstone belatedly realized, to a small degree, his own limitations. HRW has too much hubris to ever issue a correction.

So-called "human rights organizations" cannot fairly judge how a war is waged without basic knowledge of how wars are fought. Ken Roth runs an organization that makes conclusions based on pure ignorance.

When will HRW become as transparent in its methodologies as it demands from those it loves to condemn? When will HRW ever admit that they perhaps didn't have all the information needed to draw their flawed conclusions?

We know the answer. HRW doesn't care about the truth as much as it cares about its own reputation and its own self-image as an arbiter of morality for (selected) nations of the world. So any legitimate criticisms of HRW will be denied, ignored, and downplayed rather than investigated and fixed. It's happened before and it will continue to happen, and we can expect Ken Roth to continue to dissemble rather than do what he demands of others.