The distortions, ugly innuendos, and blatant falsehoods about Human Rights Watch’s Middle East work that Stuart Robinowitz recycles here have long circulated through the corners of the Internet occupied by those who believe that Israel can do no wrong and that any report of serious Israeli abuses must be the product of the observer’s bias. Human Rights Watch has answered all these allegations before.
What’s “new” here is the fictitious assertion that Richard Goldstone has “retracted” his entire United Nations report on laws-of-war violations in the 2009 Gaza war rather than a particular finding. He has not. As Justice Goldstone told the Associated Press, he stands by the remainder of his report concerning violations of the laws of war by both Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces. After first feigning the opposite, the Israeli government now concedes that the rest of the Goldstone report remains intact, its serious charges still to be answered.
Goldstone has reconsidered the report’s conclusion that Israel had a policy of deliberately targeting civilians in Gaza—a charge Human Rights Watch never made. He has not withdrawn the report’s allegations that Israel had policies to indiscriminately fire heavy artillery and white phosphorous into densely populated areas and to engage in the systematic and widespread destruction of civilian buildings and infrastructure—all serious violations of the laws of war.
Human Rights Watch’s extensive work on the gross abuses fueling the wave of protests across the Middle East has been cited by media worldwide, and informed many policymakers at a time when such information is critical. That anyone would accuse us of an obsessive focus on Israel right now beggars belief. It does, however, reveal the obsession of the accuser.
Anyone interested in a true picture of Human Rights Watch’s work can see it here.
Iain Levine is the program director at Human Rights Watch.