Thursday, September 04, 2014

  • Thursday, September 04, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
NGO Monitor put together an online document that lists every tweet by Human Rights Watch's Ken Roth about Israel and Gaza from July 5-September 2.

According to that document, Roth tweeted on those topics 413 times in that time period out of 1192 total tweets - 35%. of his total Twitter output. (There seems to be a few duplicates but the percentage is pretty close.)

I did my own further analysis on just the tweets that were negative to Israel, Hamas or both. I found that of 374 relevant tweets, 293 were anti-Israel, 35 anti-Hamas and 46 mentioned both parties.

(This includes 4 tweets that blamed Israel and Egypt equally.)

That is only part of the story.

62 of Roth's anti-Israel tweets were often suffused with either sarcasm or snarkiness, while I could only find a single sarcastic anti-Hamas tweet.

So for example, there are plenty of condescending tweets about Israel and Zionists,often using biased sources:

Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth  Jul 18 Now I understand why #Israel killed the kids on the roof. They were feeding ducks. Clearly future food for fighters. 
Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth  Jul 19 Another day, another Gaza toll of kids killed by #Israel "precision" fire: 3 in bedroom, 4 at home w/ family, 4 more. 

Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth  Jul 23 In face of @HRW's detailed evidence of attacks on civilians, #Israel ambassador just blathers about "kangaroo court." 

Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth  Jul 28 Why does #Israel condemn #Hamas for firing from a cemetery? Duty is not to endanger living civilians, not dead ones. 

Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth  Jul 29 #Israel would never massively destroy civilian property w/o military justification. Except it did in 2009. Not again! 

Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth  Jul 31 1, 2, 3, 4...1389, 1390 Palestinians killed in #Gaza, 3/4 of them civilians, thanks to #Israel's "precision" attacks. 
The only sarcastic Hamas tweet was this one:
Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth  Jul 29 Incredibly, #Hamas says it's "targeting Israeli soldiers only...not..civilians"! Except those indiscriminate rockets. 
On the other side, six of the anti-Hamas tweets sought to minimize Hamas war crimes, usually by employing a very narrow definition of international humanitarian law that is not supported by the source texts. Here are three of them:

Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth  Jul 24 #Hamas is putting civilians at risk but "no evidence" it forces them to stay--definition of human shields: @NYTimes. 

Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth  Jul 25 Hamas must as feasible not fight in populated areas  but no human shield unless coerced to stay

Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth  Jul 29 Tunnels used to attack or capture civilians is a rights violation. Tunnels used to attack or capture soldiers isn't. 
 Compare Roth's snarky tweeting that Hamas was innocent of kidnapping and murdering the three Israeli teenagers with how he acknowledged the reports of Hamas admitting they did do it:

Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth  Jul 26 Remember when #Israel insisted Hamas was behind kidnap-murder of three West Bank teens. Oops, turns out it wasn't. 
He tweets a definitive statement that Hamas wasn't responsible. Then:

Kenneth Roth @KenRoth · Aug 12 FWIW, a Palestinian man reportedly says during Shin Bet interrogation that Hamas financed kidnap-murder of 3 teens. 
"For what its worth" and "reportedly" indicating that Roth doesn't quite believe it.

Kenneth Roth @KenRoth · Aug 20 #Hamas official reportedly says Qassam brigade was behind West Bank kidnapping & murder of 3 #Israel teens.    
Again, the pro-Hamas claims are tweeted as fact and the anti-Hamas claims are given caveats or are minimized.

This pattern is consistent. The only real anti-Hamas tweets were for things Roth had no wriggle room for, namely rockets aimed at civilians and executions of Hamas' enemies in the streets.

More indication of Roth's bias comes from how he reported the 4-year old Israeli child killed by a Hamas rocket. His first mention was anti-Hamas:

Kenneth Roth @KenRoth · Aug 22 #Hamas's indiscriminate attacks take a civilian toll today, including a 4-year-old killed, others injured. 

But the next mentions of  the dead child were anti-Israel!

Kenneth Roth @KenRoth · Aug 22 IDF claimed Hamas mortar that killed 4yo came from "near an UNRWA school"  Turns out it didn't. 

Kenneth Roth @KenRoth · Aug 24 Little #Israel concern shown for (1st) 478 #Gaza kids killed, but when one of their own... @Levy_Haaretz. All tragic. 

The bias is unmistakable, and combined with the feedback Roth gets from the thousands of people who retweet his anti-Israel tweets, it is self-enforcing. Who doesn't want to be popular? Roth's anti-Israel tweets get far more readers than any other categories.

Other posts about Roth's Twitter obsession with demonizing Israel here, here, here , here and here.

(h/t Adam Levick)


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