Wednesday, 21 October 2009

When I Called It "Human Rights Watch," I Meant "Watch The Baddies, Not The Goodies"

Guest post by Robert Bernstein, founding chairman emeritus of Human Rights Watch, cross-posted from the New York Times.

As the founder of Human Rights Watch, its active chairman for 20 years and now founding chairman emeritus, I must do something that I never anticipated: I must publicly join a militant wingnut circle-jerk with a mealy-mouthed and disingenuous hissy fit of epic proportions.

HRW had as its original mission to pry open closed societies, but recently it has been issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that suggest the Israelis have been acting like a bunch of belligerent, bullet-happy lunatics with a huge, throbbing collective hard-on for politically-motivated war.

At HRW, we have always recognised that open, democratic societies have faults and commit abuses. But we saw that they have the ability to correct them - through vigorous public debate, an adversarial press and many other mechanisms that encourage reform.

Of course, some open, democratic societies' faults and abuses can sometimes continue for more than forty years with total impunity, despite showing every sign of being tacit state policy. Such societies may vigorously debate whether state violence should go all the way up to eleven or merely to ten, with the small minority of dissenters being disregarded as traitors and fifth columnists. The press may be adversarial only over the voltage by which neighbouring cities should be zapped, and reform may restrict itself to the quadrennial election of increasingly insane gaggles of paranoid, gung-ho fucknut headbangers, but I think the lesson here is clear.

A democratic nation should be able conduct morally dubious, politically convenient bombing campaigns in heavily-populated areas, then orchestrate its own sham investigation and whitewash exoneration, without having to answer a lot of impertinent questions.

Israel is highly democratic, while the Arab and Iranian regimes are brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting no dissent at all. Ergo, organisations like HRW should so totally, like, cut the Israelis some slack every time they rev up their war machines to drop some seriously righteous whizzbang somewhere in the general vicinity of some terrorists.

At this point, I'd like readers to pretend that they are unaware that HRW prepares a very large number of reports about Iraq, Iran, Egypt etcetera, and to act as if it is in some way suspicious that a human rights organisation would report on massive aerial and artillery bombardments of an essentially incarcerated population.

Dodgy, isn't it?

Anyway, Hamas and Hezbollah are both racist, genocidal organisations, and as such HRW should be aware that this somehow exempts the Israelis from obeying international law in some vague manner that I won't deign to explain in this particular bout of waffling, diversionary boo-hoo.

HRW hasn't been able to verify its reports with the Israeli leadership, largely because the entire state apparatus spent the assault and its aftermath bluntly ordering every concerned organisation, neutral monitoring body and government to fuck off, and take their Geneva Conventions with them. Clearly, if the Israeli military had been committing war crimes, they would have said so by now.

More alarmingly, HRW have had to rely on untrustworthy eyewitness accounts, because the Israelis deliberately closed the battlefield to reporters and international observers. Never mind the fact that eyewitness reports can be biased and unreliable - reporting on a conflict without having been invited to do so is bad manners, and gatecrashing the party with a load of bothersome allegations is just plain rude.

And while we're on the subject of unreliable eyewitness reports, did I mention the fact that a British general was good enough to provide a glowing statement about how the Israelis take great care not to harm civilians while they're dropping several tons of high explosives on them?

This neat juxtaposition between hundreds of eyewitness reports, backed by supporting evidence and analysis, and a British general's offhand one-liner, should tell you everything you need to know about my concerns about HRW's reporting. That's unless you feel that the implication that the former is worthless and the latter obviously truthful is basically dishonest.

So, in conclusion, Human Rights Watch needs to return to its roots by directing all of its attention at the atrocities committed by unaccountable middle eastern tyrants, and essentially grant the Israelis carte blanche to use whatever weapons they like, wherever they like, whenever they like, without raising a whisper of complaint. If not, HRW leaves itself open to accusations of relativism.

That would devalue all of the good work this wonderful organisation does by giving the impression that it's only interested in certain rights violations by a very specific group of people, and we certainly couldn't have that.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Updated - The Guardian

Reprehenisble Media Organ

The Garr-Day-Yan

1. Islamist daily newspaper published and purchased by Useful Idiots, The Guardian (See also Al-Grauniad) is the primary source of Suspicious Propaganda, disseminating Racist and Anti-American materials, deliberately and with malice aforethought deletes the names of Israeli Prime Ministers from lists of Nobel Peace Prize Winners, causing Fascists to Laugh In Celebration.

Beloved of Effete Elitists and Bruschetta-munching Hampstead Liberals, The Guardian dribbles its hate-filled bile and Moral Equivalence into the public conciousness like a leaky pisser thrust into the ear of the nation seeks to destroy Israel by intentionally pretending that no Israeli Prime Minsters have ever won the Nobel Peace Prize, thus betraying their deeply ingrained Racist hatred for Israeli Prime Ministers who have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

2. Islamist daily newspaper published and purchased by Useful Idiots that likes to pretend that their horrific, Genocidal omissions from lists of Nobel Prize Winners are data entry mistakes, causing Decents to bang their desks, insist they know lots and lots about data entry and to declare that they know Racist deletions when they see them, and by God, these are Racist deletions.

"I see that the Guardian are trying to pretend that they have merely made a data entry error in an attempt to disguise their naked and blatant malice, their hideous cruelty and their remorseless, ever-throbbing black-hearted yearning for the destruction of Israel".

"Yes, I saw that, and I for one would rather get down on my knees and fellate a bull elephant on national television than allow the Guardian to wriggle away from our entirely non-partisan, semi-psychotic circle-jerk of a Gotcha!".

"I'm sorry, did you just say you'd fellate -"

"A bull elephant, yes".


Why, This Seems Like An Entirely Sensible Issue Upon Which To Wager a Significant Amount Of Our Website's Credibility, by "Lucy Lips", Harry's Place

We Agree 100% With That Assessment And Are For Some Reason Determined To Stake Large Amounts Of Our Own Credibility Upon This Vital And In-No-Way Hilariously Insane Non-Story, by Jessica Elgot,

I Don't Know What The Decent Left Is, So I Don't Know Any Better, by Tim Collard,

I'm A Well-Respected And Well-Remunerated Commentator For One Of The World's Foremost Newspapers, Yet I Too Am Keen To Piss a Good Bit Of My Credibility Down The Drain Over This Giant Pile Of Obviously Ridiculous Internet Shite, by Daniel Finkelstein.

I Gather We're All Wagering Our Credibility On Some Idiotic Post At Harry's Place - Count Me In, by Stephen Pollard.

As a Paranoid Lunatic With No Credibility To Lose, I Wholeheartedly Endorse This Ludicrous Propaganda Wheeze, by Melanie Phillips.

This Kind Of Risible Nonsense Is Our Bread And Butter, Jerusalem Post

We Have Wingnut Morons In Canada Too, You Know, by Tom Gross

More reports to follow as this story develops...

See also - Decent Dole.