12:31 PM, Apr 23, 2015 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
In the past I've wondered about the obsession with Israel by Human Rights Watch. Now I wonder again, due to the organization's new 74-page report entitled, "Ripe for Abuse: Palestinian Child Labor in Israeli Agricultural Settlements in the West Bank." Check out the HRW web site to see what subjects merit such lengthy coverage, and one finds that the answer again and again is Israel. In a world sadly filled with oppression, aggression, human rights abuses, and tyranny, HRW focuses on Israel to a degree that cannot be explained or defended. Like the United Nations, HRW seems dedicated to condemning Israel--and occasionally other countries. If you think Israel is not responsible for the bulk of worldwide human rights abuses, well, they seem not to agree.
The substance of the report consists of interviews with Palestinian laborers at Israel settlements in the Jordan Valley. That's problem number one: where are the interviews with the Israelis, who are accused of various crimes and abuses--and who might wish to comment on, deny, or cast a different light on some of the allegations? HRW did not consider that necessary. In fact there was an unofficial or semi-official Israeli response, published in The Times of Israel:
David Elchaiiani, head of the Jordan Valley regional council, angrily rejected the findings, claiming the testimony in the report was fraudulent. He said the council employs 6,000 Palestinians every day, but no minors. “It is a horrific lie,” Elchaiiani told Army Radio. “There is no justification for employing children, not just morally and legally but financially as well.”
So, there are accusations, and there are denials--but HRW does not bother hearing the denials. It relies on the accusations, for which there is no documentary evidence. That does not disprove the charges, but neither does HRW prove them. It simply presents one side, and the report does not present evidence that HRW worked to prove or disprove accusations made against Israel. It accepted them. As NGO Monitor (on whose international advisory board I am happy to serve) and others have noted,
the original cover photo for HRW’s report, consisting of a child working on a date palm tree, was of a young Palestinian child working on a Palestinian farm. (Following criticism, HRW “removed the misleading image and published a new photo.” )
Some might call this an accident; others might call it another example of bias and one that had to be abandoned when HRW was caught. The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) in Melbourne has done a lengthy analysis of the HRW report, found here, pungently entitled "A labour of enmity: HRW's distorted Jordan Valley report." Here are some of the comments:
HRW's claims were based entirely on Palestinian allegations without any additional documentary or professional evidence provided and without giving the Israeli farms concerned a chance to defend themselves from the charges....HRW's politicised treatment of the subject matter minimised the central role of Palestinian contractors in this problem as well as their legal responsibilities when recruiting workers to carry out tasks on Israeli farms. The report also exaggerated the negative effects of Israeli settlements on the local Palestinian population....HRW left out of its report the context of the ingrained culture of child labour in Palestinian and greater Arab society, ignored the Palestinian Authority's glaring budgetary neglect of Palestinian agriculture in areas under their control over the past two decades and ignored the ways that Israel has tried to help Palestinian farmers in the Jordan Valley.
11:01 AM, Mar 22, 2015 • By NOAH POLLAK
The prime minister of Israel delivered a speech announcing positions on the peace process and Palestinian statehood that contradicted the views of the U.S. president and the international community.
12:05 PM, Nov 24, 2014 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
Today we learned that it has been impossible to reach an agreement with Iran over its nuclear weapons program. Even a short "framework" agreement or one-pager was beyond reach. And this, despite the extension of the talks from the original deadline last spring.
1:01 PM, Nov 18, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Secretary of State John Kerry called today's terror attack in Jerusalem the "pure result of incitement" and called on "Palestinian leadership at every single level to condemn this in the most powerful terms." Here's video:
12:23 PM, Nov 18, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, will soon release this statement responding to the terror attack in Jerusalem.
"Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families after this evil attack on a place of worship," the statement reads.
"An attack on a synagogue shows that there are no bounds for terrorists. These are people depraved of any humanity in their hearts, and they must not only be stopped, they must be exterminated.
12:03 PM, Nov 18, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
After a Palestinian terror attack that killed four in Israel, President Barack Obama is calling for both sides to be calm. "Too many Israelis have died; too many Palestinians have died. At this difficult time I think it's important for both Palestinians and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and reject violence," said President Obama, according to the White House pool report.
Here's the full report:
11:34 AM, Oct 23, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
After the latest terror attack in Israel, the State Department issued the following statement urging all sides -- which would include Israel, the victims here -- to remain calm:
4:04 PM, Oct 2, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
A new report from the Jewish Telegraph Agency details that the Argentine congress will be fundraising for the terror group Hamas.
"A fundraising campaign for Palestine by the Argentine National Congress is being seen by one Jewish group as an endorsement of Hamas," reports JTA.
9:25 AM, Sep 16, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Over the weekend in Iowa, President Bill Clinton got caught on a hot mic at the Harkin Steak Fry agreeing that Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu can't bring peace between the Israelis and Palestinians:
“If we don’t force him to make peace, we won’t have peace,” a spectator at the Steak Fry told Clinton.
5:31 PM, Sep 15, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
At an event today at Tufts University in Massachusetts, Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren said it was "fair" when an activist compared Israel’s actions in Gaza to the Holocaust.
“Eva Moseley, I’m not a student, I’m not an alumnae, but was in faculty life. I was also a Holocaust refugee and I’m extremely concerned that Jews don’t do to another people what was done to them,” said the activist.
4:40 PM, Aug 1, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Ninety minutes into the 72-hour unconditional ceasefire announced this morning, Hamas launched a suicide attack in which two IDF soldiers were killed and another was kidnapped. Word on the ground in Israel is that Palestinian Islamic Jihad, rather than Hamas, may be responsible for the operation. If those rumors prove accurate, some analysts speculate, it would mean that Iran, PIJ’s longtime patron, is behind the operation and is responsible for scuttling the ceasefire.
12:02 PM, Jul 30, 2014 • By JONATHAN MARKS
Recently National Journal’s Ron Fournier published this story, “Why Benjamin Netanyahu Should Be Very,
11:58 AM, Jul 25, 2014 • By JEFFREY GEDMIN
I've lived in Europe the past dozen years—in Berlin, Prague, and London. When it comes to Israel, Europe's ways seldom cease to amaze.