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.