How Human Rights Watch Became a Pawn of Terrorists

Founded in 1978, Human Rights Watch (HRW) played an important role pressuring the Soviet Union and Eastern-bloc countries over their mistreatment of their citizens. But since the turn of the century, HRW has joined the ranks of the Israel-haters, not hesitating to accuse the Jewish state of any evil—so much so that HRW has been denounced by one of its founders. It has most recently become one of the most successful advocates for the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS). David May and Jonathan Schanzer write:

Connections to the Palestinian organization al-Haq may [partially] explain HRW’s BDS contortions. The two groups have collaborated since at least 2007, when HRW urged Israel to allow al-Haq’s director Shawan Jabarin to travel abroad. According to a 1994 Israeli submission to the United Nations, Jabarin is a senior member of the terrorist group known as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), [which] was notorious in the 1960s and 1970s for high-profile hijackings and attacks against Israelis. In October 2001, the group assassinated an Israeli minister. In 2014, the PFLP claimed responsibility for a gruesome attack on a Jerusalem synagogue that left six dead, including three American rabbis. . . .

Jabarin denies his PFLP connections while he continues to assail Israel through al-Haq, which has called for a European boycott on Jewish goods from the West Bank and a [complete] French financial boycott of Israel. Jabarin submitted several reports to the International Criminal Court as part of an anti-Israel lawfare campaign, and he was instrumental in the recent push in Ireland to criminalize business transactions with Jewish businesses in the West Bank.

Jabarin is not al-Haq’s only contribution to HRW. A former legal researcher with al-Haq, Anan Abu Shanab, is currently HRW’s West Bank researcher. There is also Charles Shamas, a co-founder of al-Haq, who has been an HRW adviser since at least 2002. . . . While HRW may do serious work on other issues, it is now an activist group aligned with a vitriolic movement.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Human Rights Watch, Israel & Zionism, PFLP

European Aid to the Middle East Is Shaped by a Political Agenda

Feb. 18 2019

The EU’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Unit dispenses millions of dollars in economic and humanitarian assistance to dozens of countries every year. Although it claims to operate on principles of strict neutrality, independent of any political motivation and giving priority to the neediest cases, a look at its activities in the Middle East suggests an entirely different approach, as Hillel Frisch writes:

[T]he Middle East is the overwhelming beneficiary of EU humanitarian aid—nearly 1 billion of just over 1.4 billion euros. . . . The bulk of the funds goes toward meeting the costs of assistance to Syrian refugees, followed by smaller sums to Iraq, Yemen, “Palestine,” and North Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa, by contrast, receives less than one-third of that amount. The problem with such allocations is that the overwhelming majority of people living in dire poverty reside in sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Bangladesh. . . . The Palestinians, who are richer on average than those living in the poorest states of the world, . . . receive over six euros per capita, while the populations of the poorest states receive less than one-eighth of that amount. . . .

Even less defensible is the EU’s claim to political neutrality. Its favoritism toward the Palestinians on this score is visible as soon as one enters terms into the general search function on the European Commission’s website. Enter “Palestine” and you get 20,737 results. Enter “Ethiopia” and you get almost the same figure, despite massive differences in population size (Ethiopia’s 100 million versus fewer than 5 million Palestinians), geographic expanse (Ethiopia is 50 times the size of “Palestine”), and degree of sheer suffering. The Syrian crisis, which is said to have led to the loss of a half-million lives, merits not many more site results than “Palestine.”

One of the foci of the website’s reports [on the Palestinians] is the plight of 35,000 Bedouin whom the EU assists, often in clear violation of the law, in Area C—the part of the West Bank under exclusive Israeli control. The hundreds of thousands of Bedouin in Sinai, however, the plight of whom is readily acknowledged even by Egyptian officials, gets no mention, even though Egypt is a recipient of EU aid. . . .

Clearly, the EU’s approach to aid allocation has nothing to do with impartiality, true social-welfare needs, or humanitarian considerations. [Instead], it favors allocations to Syrian refugees above Yemeni refugees because of the higher probability that Syrian refugees will find their way to Europe. . . . The recipients of European largesse who are next in line [to Syrians], in relative terms, are the Palestinians. [This particular policy] can be attributed primarily to the EU’s hostility toward Israel, its rightful historical claims, and its security needs.

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More about: Europe and Israel, European Union, Israel & Zionism, Palestinians