65 YEARS AGO Cheap shot at HRW

The Jerusalem Post - - Comment & Features - RICHARD J. GOLD­STONE

On Septem­ber 7, 1941, The Pales­tine Post re­ported that the Amer­i­can press de­scribed the Ger­man sub­ma­rine at­tempt to tor­pedo the US de­stroyer Greer which was on its way to Ice­land as an open act of war. The Ger­man Nazi press ac­cused the de­stroyer’s crew of drop­ping depth bombs and mines first, in an at­tempt to sink the sub­ma­rine, a charge termed ridicu­lous by the Amer­i­can crew.

Soviet and Bri­tish troops met in Iran at Kazvin and as­sured each other of the clos­est pos­si­ble fu­ture co­op­er­a­tion. Bri­tain and the US promised to rush help to the Soviet Union through Iran.

It was feared that Bul­garia, hard­pressed by the Nazis, might join Ger­many in the war against Rus­sia.

A large con­tin­gent of Aus­tralian troops reached Egypt just in time to as­sist the Bri­tish in con­fronting the new Ger­man of­fen­sive in the West­ern Desert.De­spite the hard wartime con­di­tions Amer­i­can

Sir, – I am con­cerned and dis­ap­pointed by Ger­ald Stein­berg’s in­vo­ca­tion of the an­cient slur of “blood li­bel” to de­scribe his dis­agree­ment with Hu­man Rights Watch’s as­sess­ment dur­ing the re­cent hos­til­i­ties that Is­rael in its at­tacks re­peat­edly failed to dis­tin­guish be­tween civil­ians and com­bat­ants (“Ken Roth’s blood li­bel,” Au­gust 27). I do not be­lieve that a blind de­fense of the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment war­rants cheap­en­ing the me­mory of those myr­iad Jews against whom geno­cide was in­cited by grotesque de­mo­niza­tion – that Jews killed Chris­tian chil­dren as a rit­ual act.

As a mem­ber of its board of direc­tors, I know that HRW has decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in doc­u­ment­ing and ver­i­fy­ing bat­tle­field abuses, not only in the Mideast, but also in the Balkans, Chech­nya, Dar­fur, Rwanda, Congo, Cen­tral Amer­ica and else­where, and that it has a well-de­served rep­u­ta­tion for ac­cu­racy and scrupu­lous fair­ness.

Stein­berg did not re­fer to any ac­tual facts to im­pugn the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s de­tailed find­ings that, al­though Hizbul­lah some­times op­er­ated in civil­ian ar­eas, there was no ev­i­dence of a Hizbul­lah Jewry do­nated over $250,000 to the Jewish Na­tional Fund. mil­i­tary pres­ence in some two dozen cases of civil­ian deaths in­ves­ti­gated.

So great is his an­i­mus that Stein­berg ap­pears re­luc­tant to ad­mit that HRW also con­demned Hizbul­lah abuses, not just in pass­ing, as he says, but re­peat­edly, as even a quick look at the HRW Web site (www.hrw.org) would re­veal.

Rat­tling the anti-Semitism saber and name-call­ing will nei­ther el­e­vate Is­rael’s rep­u­ta­tion nor help it re­spond con­struc­tively to avoid a rep­e­ti­tion of past mis­takes. Rather than ac­cuse Hu­man Rights Watch of bias, un­pro­fes­sion­al­ism and emo­tion­al­ism, some in­tro­spec­tion would be in or­der.

New York

The writer was chief pros­e­cu­tor for the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Tri­bunals for the for­mer Yu­goslavia and Rwanda, and a judge on the South African Con­sti­tu­tional Court.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Israel

© PressReader. All rights reserved.