Jeffrey Goldberg Defends Israeli Actions by Smearing Human Rights Watch

Does the Big Lie still work? We're seeing it in action.

Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlanticis accusing Human Rights Watch of "fundraising corruption" for allowing some of its officers to discuss the group's work in Gaza at a fundraiser in Saudi Arabia. The corruption charge is specious. Assuming Goldberg believes what he's saying, he got punk'd by an Israel-based group called NGO Monitor with ties to the Israeli government. The whole pseudo-controversy seems calculated to distract from HRW's latest revelations about Israel's use of white phosphorus in Gaza. 

It all began with a May 26 story in Arab News about the rising stature of Human Rights Watch in Saudi Arabia and the Muslim world. AN reported that prominent Saudi businessman and intellectual hosted a welcoming dinner for HRW officials during their recent visit to the kingdom. The host, who also happens to be a managing director at Morgan Stanley in London, reportedly praised group for its work in Gaza.

HRW attracted worldwide attention for its work on Israel and the Gaza Strip including its reportage on Israel's use of white phosphorous in Gaza.

A non-profit calling itself NGO Monitor picked up on the story nearly two months ago in a post entitled, "HRW Raises Funds in Saudia Arabia by Demonizing Israel." The author was incensed by the following passage in the Arab News story:

Human Rights Watch provided the international community with evidence of Israel using white phosphorus and launching systematic destructive attacks on civilian targets. Pro-Israel pressure groups in the US, the European Union and the United Nations have strongly resisted the report and tried to discredit it," said Sarah Leah Whitson, director of HRW's Middle East and North Africa Division. [AN]

That's exactly what happened. HRW presented evidence that Israel was exploding white phosphorous shells in heavily populated areas of Gaza and inflicting hideous burns on civilians. Pro-Israel pressure groups absolutely freaked out about the HRW report and did their best to discredit it. HRW defended its work.

Lindsay Beyerstein a New York writer blogging at Majikthise.
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