|AP / Abdel Kareem Hana|
Fire and smoke light up the night sky over Gaza City during Israel’s military offensive in early 2009.
Human Rights Watch is accusing Israel and its backers of waging a campaign of misinformation in an effort to discredit the group. HRW has been a leading voice in condemning alleged Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip. —JCL
America’s leading human rights organisation has accused Israel and its supporters of an “organised campaign” of false allegations and misinformation, including “extremely personal attacks” on its staff, in an attempt to discredit the group over its reports of war crimes in Gaza.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) ties the campaign – which has included accusations that the group’s reports on the Jewish state are written by “anti-Israel ideologues” and that it has sought funds from Saudi Arabia – to a statement by a senior official in the Israeli prime minister’s office in June pledging to “dedicate time and manpower to combating” human rights organisations.
The criticism began with Israeli pressure groups and rightwing blogs, but in recent weeks it has drawn the support of influential individuals such as Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel peace prize winner, and HRW’s own founder, Robert Bernstein, who said the organisation’s reports were “helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state”. He called on HRW to focus more on abuses by Arab governments.
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