The good news: a delegation from the ultra-liberal Human Rights Watch visited Saudi Arabia, instead of inventing absurd and unlikely Israeli atrocities.
The bad news: HRW wasn't investigating the Kingdom's lack of religious freedom or equality for women. Rather, HRW was "mainly stressing the need for support to add to the credibility to our SA work." So, at the meetings, says Arab News:
HRW presented a documentary and spoke on the report they compiled on Israel violating human rights and international law during its war on Gaza earlier this year.In other words, HRW was highlighting its anti-Israel history to gain Arab help.
"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.
Whitson pointed out that the group managed to testify about Israeli abuses to the US Congress on three occasions. "US President Barack Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel and the Hamas authorities in Gaza to cooperate with the United Nations fact-finding mission to investigate the allegations of serious Israeli violations during the war on Gaza.
Of course, it's true that HRW doesn't take direct government funding. However, while in country it: "made presentations on our work to two private audiences in Saudi Arabia in May 2009 . . . These were receptions in private homes, hosted by people who were interested in Human Rights Watch and who invited other guests to learn more about us." This at a time, according to Arab News, when, "The group is facing a shortage of funds because of the global financial crisis and the work on Israel and Gaza, which depleted HRW's budget for the region." So HRW's Ms. Whitson defended soliciting Saudis, saying it should be "applauded."
No. To be clear, I wouldn't bar HRW from accepting money from private-sector Saudi individuals--presuming it screens out the numerous Royals and execs from nationalized businesses (such as oil). But HRW buttered-up petro-pockets by bashing Israel. That's not objectivity--it's the persistence of bias and prejudice HRW deploys to demonize the mid-East's most free democracy while downplaying terrorist atrocities and culpability.
Israel isn't always right; I presume there are some transgressions. But, after surrendering its integrity for 30 pieces of silver, HRW can't be trusted to know the difference.
According to Ms Whitson, the critique of HRW is "fundamentally a racist one." To the contrary, as Ron Kampeas says: "I don't know how, after this, HRW is not fatally compromised when it comes to reporting Israel."