Tuesday, March 20, 2007

HRW announces Middle East vacancies

This from NGO-Monitor:

Human Rights Watch announces Middle East vacancies Human Rights Watch is advertising for a Legal Director to head its International Legal and Policy Office. The job description involves “advancing the development of international human rights and humanitarian law through progressive interpretation and standard-setting. ”

HRW is also seeking a researcher on Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. The advert stresses that candidates must be “able to dispassionately investigate and report on abuses by both Israeli and Palestinian forces without prejudice or favor and despite the intense pressure for partisanship or solidarity that suffuses work on Israeli-Palestinian issues.” The job description requires “excellent skills speaking and reading in both English and Arabic,” but “proficiency in Hebrew is [only] very desirable”.

Given HRW's history of selecting candidates with strong anti-Israel bias, NGO Monitor will closely scrutinize this selection process.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

NGO Monitor Eviscerates Human Rights Watch Ken Roth

Analysis of Ken Roths Defense of HRWs Policy on Israel

March 15, 2007

On December 10, 2006, Ken Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), spoke at a conference sponsored by the North American branch of Rabbis for Human Rights. <1> Roth's presentation consisted of a defense of HRW's credibility and agenda, particularly with respect to Israel, following criticism published by NGO Monitor and elsewhere. On March 3, 2007, Tikkun magazine printed an edited version of his comments.

The following is an analysis of Roth's claims, including numerous inconsistencies, distortions, and omissions:

1) On the criticism of HRW for failing to distinguish between aggressor (as in the case of Hezbollah in the 2006 war) and defender (Israel), Roth attempts to use international legal claims, acknowledging that "a source of frustration for some people is that the Geneva Conventions do not take sides. They are neutral about the purposes of a war, they do not identify who the defender is and who the aggressor is, they do not say who's right and who's wrong, they look simply at how the war is fought . . . We look at jus in bello, the way the war is fought, not jus ad bellum, whether it was right or just to go to war."

NGO Monitor's Analysis: This portrayal of international law is selective, incomplete, and self-serving. Under international law, the only legitimate uses of force are for purposes of self-defense or pursuant to Security Council authorization under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Article 51 of the UN Charter, for instance, states: "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security." Under Article 2(4) of the Charter, states are prohibited from engaging in illegitimate use of force: "All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations." As international law precedents make clear, militias like Hezbollah, given de facto authority by the government of Lebanon, are bound to follow the legal commitments of the state. Lebanon is a signatory of the UN Charter, and Hezbollah, whose officials are also members of the cabinet, is obligated to abide by Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. Therefore, Hezbollah?s attack on Israel was illegal under any interpretation of international law, and there is both a moral and legal basis for distinguishing between aggressor and defender under the laws of war. HRW and Roth selectively chose to ignore these aspects in promoting their political agenda.

2) Responding to the criticism of HRW's credibility ("fact finding), Roth stated that "after a researcher returns from an investigation and writes up a report it must go through a series of experts: legal experts, policy experts, and people who double-check the fact-finding."

NGO Monitor's Analysis: Roth's general response does not attempt to explain the numerous examples of HRW statements that were false or based on unverifiable sources. For example, on August 1, during the Israel-Hezbollah war, after an Israeli strike against Qana in southern Lebanon, HRW immediately issued a press release based entirely on unverifiable "eyewitness claims," labeling the bombing indiscriminate and a war crime before any such determination could be reasonably made, and declaring that at least 54 civilians have been killed. The number of Lebanese killed was reduced subsequently and there are conflicting reports on many of the details. HRW, while belatedly revising the casualty estimate to half, did not remove the original statement from its website and repeated the allegations of war crimes and the absence of Hezbollah elements (rockets, fighters, etc.), based on claims made by people possibly connected to Hezbollah. Indeed, on December 5, the Center for Special Studies in Israel (C.S.S.) issued a detailed report on "the extensive military infrastructure positioned and hidden by Hezbollah in populated areas." The report documented a significant Hezbollah presence in and around Qana: 3 rockets were fired from within civilian houses, 36 within a 200 meter radius, and 106 within a 500 meter radius of the village.<2> The report also showed an aerial photograph of a weapons storehouse located next to a mosque in Qana. <3> Roth ignores these facts, and enormous impact of such false reports. And as a study published by Harvard University notes, Most reporters used the higher of the two estimates, some describing the scene as a massacre. It made for more sensational copy. <4>

3) Roth claims that HRW interviews witnesses and victims of human rights abuses with "an enormous dose of skepticism" because of their tendency to lie.

NGO Monitor's Analysis: In contrast to Roth's claim, HRW's statements demonstrate that the organization routinely uses such witnesses without any evidence of "skepticism". During the Israel-Hezbollah war, for example, HRW repeatedly relied on "eyewitnesses" from south Lebanon, where Hezbollah is politically and ideologically dominant. In a July 31 op-ed published in The Guardian (UK), Peter Bouckaert, HRW's Emergencies Director, dismissed Israel's statement that Hezbollah used human shields based on testimony from villagers, labeling the IDF's assertion a convenient excuse. In HRW's August 3 report entitled Fatal Strikes: Israel's Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon, Hashem Kazan, an HRW witness interviewed regarding a July 15 attack on Bint Jbeil, claimed that there was no fighting taking place in the village--there was no one but civilians. In contrast, the CSS report included an aerial photograph of 20 bases and 5 weapons storehouses in the village <5> , also documenting 87 rockets fired from within village houses, 109 from within a 200 meter radius, and 136 within a 500 meter radius. <6>

Furthermore, when credible evidence is available, HRW often ignores it if it does not support the dominant political position. On May 27, 2006 in a television interview, Hassan Nasaralah boasted ‘[Hezbollah fighters] live in their houses, in their schools, in their churches, in their fields, in their farms and in their factories...You can't destroy them in the same way you would destroy an army. <7>

4) Roth acknowledges HRW's close relationships with local organizations, and that since "some are more reliable than others," they need to be treated with skepticism.

NGO Monitor's Analysis: HRW often relies on highly politicized Palestinian NGOs, and the resulting reports show no evidence of skepticism. For example, on June 9, eight Palestinians were killed on a Gaza beach in disputed circumstances. Amnesty International and several Palestinian NGOs, including Miftah, Al Mezan and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights issued condemnations of Israel in the days following. On the basis of this concerted campaign, including clearly staged video, HRW dispatched Marc Garlasco, who claims to be a former Pentagon battle damage expert, to investigate. In a widely publicized press conference in Gaza. Garlasco repeated the claims that the evidence overwhelmingly supports the allegations that the civilians were killed by artillery shells fired by the IDF accepting the Palestinian position. He simply ignored the detailed evidence to the contrary, including shrapnel removed from the victims taken to Israel for treatment. (Garlasco was also among the authors of HRW's "Razing Rafah" report of 2004, which contained many unverifiable and disputed claims, and erased the context of terror.)

5) Roth stated that "while there were serious problems," HRW "put to rest" the international allegation of an Israeli "massacre" in Jenin.

NGO Monitor's Analysis: The record shows that HRW was disproportionately critical of Israel in its reporting on the events in Jenin, and its statements on the massacre myth were late and incomplete. In May 2002, HRW published a statement headlined "Jenin War Crimes Investigation Needed" followed by a detailed report entitled Jenin: IDF Military Operations, which alleged that "Israeli forces committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, some amounting prima facie to war crimes" adding that "particularly in the Hawashin district, the destruction extended well beyond any conceivable purpose of gaining access to fighters." The report was based on anecdotal and unsubstantiated testimony from what HRW described as "first-hand observers", and erased the context of mass terror attacks on Israelis. <8> Both documents remain on the HRW website. Furthermore, HRW's major report on Palestinian terror, Erased in a Moment: Suicide Bombing attacks against Israeli Civilians -- not published until October 2002, did not, as Roth claims, reveal "who at the top was responsible for ordering these murders." Instead, HRW's report vindicated Yasser Arafat, ignoring the documentary evidence of the PLO leader's direct involvement in terror.

6) Roth continues to claim that "most civilians died because, after Israel issued warnings for civilians to flee, the IDF falsely assumed that all civilians had in fact fled," adding that "Israel was firing at virtually anyone who moved."

NGO Monitor's Analysis: As noted, the CSS report showed that contrary to HRW's claim to have found "no cases" of human shields, Hezbollah used human shields throughout Lebanon, deliberately endangering civilians. On December 28, 2006, NGO Monitor published a detailed comparison of HRW's claims and the CSS report, revealing that in numerous instances, HRW relied on "eyewitness testimony" that was inconsistent with the available videographic and documentary evidence.

7) Roth chastises others for their "name-calling" adding that it "dishonored the Jewish Tradition".

NGO Monitor's Analysis: In a July 31 letter published in The New York Sun, Roth used the term an eye for an eye, which he termed to be based on "the morality of some more primitive moment." The comment is a fundamental distortion of Jewish tradition, for which Roth has yet to apologize.

8 ) Omissions: Roth's defense omits reference to positions and political campaigns based on extremely bad judgment.

NGO Monitor's Analysis: For example, in 2006, Roth condemned the US and Israel for demanding more changes to the framework for the new UN Human Rights Council, which replaced the discredited UN Commission on Human Rights. He asserted that "The proposed Council has many new elements that will be useful in our work for the promotion and protection of human rights". <9> In fact, the Council is no better than the old Commission, and the objections were well founded.


1. On January 23, The Jerusalem Post reported that RHRI (Rabbis for Human Rights Israel) had criticized the highly politicized approach of the North American branch of this organization, particularly the decision to honor the Center for Constitutional Rights, which had sued two Israeli security officials for alleged war crimes.
2. Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Center for Special Studies, "Hezbollah's use of Lebanese civilians as human shields" Appendix 4, 5 December 2006, at 256 (http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/human_shields.htm)
3. Id., Part 1, at 44, Part 2, at 122.
4. Marvin Kalb and Carol Saivetz, "The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006: The Media As A Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict", Research Paper Series, Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, February 2007
5. Id., Part 2, at 76.
6. Id., Appendix 4, at 256.
7. Staff Editorial, Whose War Crimes? The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2006 http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/human_shields_efs.pdf
8. On July 30, 2002, the UN issued a report on the Israeli incursion into Jenin, concluding that no massacre had taken place. In HRW's August 2 criticism of the report, Hanny Magelly, HRW's Executive Director of Middle East and North Africa Division at the time, declared that the report "exposes the risk of compiling a report without first-hand information."
9. "U.S.: Accept Draft Resolution on Human Rights Council as It Is", February 24, 2006 http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/02/24/usint12718.htm


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Great Software

BBCode to HTML Converter

"This program will convert BBCode (Bulletin Board Code) to HTML. It's useful if you work on forums which support either BBCode or HTML and need to convert your "canned speeches" or if you have written something in bbcode that you would like to put on your website. You could also use it to preview your posts on boards that don't have that feature built in."

I have used it and it is simple and works. There is no spyware or anything bad associated with it. It is free. and can be found here.

Treatment of the Jews by the Arabs in the 10th Century

Little did he know that Hitler was coming, but I guess he might have predicted the situation in the middle east today. Here is more from the Netanyahu book I have finally got around to reading. It is so simple, so straightforward, such an honest book. Anyway, I had to add this quote from Moses Maimonides.

Later in the same century (the 10th), the philosopher Moses Maimonides declared that the return to Israel was the only hope of an end to Jewish suffering at the hands of the Arabs, of whom he writes that "Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase, and hate us as much as they." *

Benjamin Netanyahu, A Durable Peace , Israel and Its Place Among the Nations, pg 35

"*Maimonides' "Epistle to Yemen" in Isadore Twersky, A Maimonides Reader (New York: Berhman House, 1972), pp.456-57

Churchillian Quotes on Jews and Arabs

A couple of quotes from Churchill that did not hit the cutting room floor:

"The Jews are in Palestine by right, not by sufferance."

In 1921 he wrote:
    It is manifestly right that the scattered Jews should have a national centre, and a national home to be re-united, and where else but in Palestine, with which for three thousand years they have been intimately and profoundly associated? We think it will be good for the world, good for the Jews, good for the British Empire, but also good for the Arabs who dwell in Palestine...they shall share in the benefits and progress of Zionism.
    I am told the Arabs would have done it for themselves. Who is going to believe that? Left to themselves, the Arabs of Palestine would not in a thousand years have taken effective steps toward the irrigation and electrification of Palestine. They would have been quite content to dwell--a handful of philosophic people-- in the sun-scorched plains, letting the waters of the Jordan contine to flow unbridled and unharnessed into the Dead Sea.

also from Netanyahu, A Durable Peace

Arab on Arab Violence

How about the slaughter in Hama, Syria, in 1982 when an estimated 10000-20000 civilians were murdered by their brethren? Or in 1933 when the Iraqis massacred the ancient Assyrian Christian population and incited the Arab population to murder and plunder the survivors? Thousands fled the country. Or Dec 15, 1945 when the Kurds of Iraq declared an independent country and in 1961 when tens of thousands of Kurds were killed and 200,000 left homeless? That was the work of your Arab brethren. in the 1970's Saddam drove another 200,000 out into Iran. Syria massacred its Christian population in the 1920's and drove out tens of thousands of Armenians after WWII. The Druse have suffered a similar fate in Syria. Egypt under Nassar expelled its Greek Christian community in the 1950's and encouraged violence against them for years after. Sudan's Arab government has waged campaign after campaign gainst the Christian blacks in the South. Nassar used gas in Yemen in the 1960's, Saddam repeatedly gassed both the Iranian army and the Kurdish civilians in his own country in which thousands of Kurds died. The Egyptian invasion of Yemen resulted in 250,000 dead, the Algerian civil war, 1,000,000 dead, the Lebanese civil war - 15,000, the Libyan incursion into Chad - 100,000, the Sudanese civil war (at least 500,000) and the Iran-Iraq war -over 1,000,000 dead.

Loosely quoted from Benjamin Netanyahu A Durable Peace

Friday, March 02, 2007

Qur'an Quotes from R Spencer's New Book

The Truth About Muhammad

My notes:

Mo is "an excellent model of conduct" Q 33:21, "an exalted standard of character 68:4
"he who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah 4:80
Obey Mo : 3:32,3:132,4:13,4:59,4:69,5:92,8:1,8:20, 8:46,9:71, 24:47,24:51, 24:52, 24:54, 24:56, 33:33, 47:33, 49:14, 58:13, 64:12

Death to Blasphemers:
Theo Van Gogh 2004
Iranian Lawyer Ahmad Kasravi 1947
Iranian PM Haji-Ali Razmara assassinated 1951
Egyptian writer Faraj Foda apostasy
1992Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz stabbed 1994 Salman Rusdie

hadith, qur'an and sira (bio)= sunnah

Against the Jews, 5:64 5:82 9:30
Muslims are superior 3:110
arabic is 'pure and clear' 16:103
4 witnesses: if they cannot produce witnesses they verily are liars in the sight of Allah: 24:11-20
women's testimony: 2:282
punishments for mo's enemies: 111:1-5,21:11-15
Jihad for Islam 2:193 "Fight them so there will be no more seduction and the religion is God's"
Satanic Verses 17:73-75

The pact with the Jews of Medina, the Jews of Banu Auf
The Hypocrites (munafiqin) of Medina were Muslims who had conveted out of fear and convenience.

Mo attacks the hypocrites 2:8-15 63:1-8
Use of 'martyrdom' as one who kills and is killed for God...9:111
killing during the Holy months 2:214
Pickthal's Quran Translation of 2:216.

Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not. Y S C 2:217.

They question thee (O Muhammad) with regard to warfare in the sacred month. Say: Warfare therein is a great (transgression), but to turn (men) from the way of Allah, and to disbelieve in Him and in the Inviolable Place of Worship, and to expel His people thence, is a greater with Allah; for persecution is worse than killing. And they will not cease from fighting against you till they have made you renegades from your religion, if they can. And whoso becometh a renegade and dieth in his disbelief: such are they whose works have fallen both in the world and the Hereafter. Such are rightful owners of the Fire: they will abide therein. Y S C

2:218. Lo! those who believe, and those who emigrate (to escape the persecution) and strive in the way of Allah, these have hope of Allah's mercy. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

No compulsion in Religion: 2:256
Curse of Allah on disbelievers: 2:89
changes the direction of prayer: 2:143-144 turn their backs on Jerusalem
fighting is good 47:20
Smite at their necks 47:4, 8:9,12-13,47: 4.

Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when ye have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the war lay down its burdens. That (is the ordinance). And if Allah willed He could have punished them (without you) but (thus it is ordained) that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He rendereth not their actions vain. Y S C

8:12. When thy Lord inspired the angels, (saying): I am with you. So make those who believe stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger. Y S C

8:13. That is because they opposed Allah and His messenger. Whoso opposeth Allah and His messenger, (for him) lo! Allah is severe in punishment. Y S 8:14. That (is the award), so taste it, and (know) that for disbelieve

8:12. Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them." S P C Yusuf Ali's Quran Translation

Unbelievers will be routed by Allah:

8:64. O Prophet! sufficient unto thee is Allah,- (unto thee) and unto those who follow thee among the Believers. S P C
8:65. O Prophet! rouse the Believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers: for these are a people without understanding. S P C

Yusuf Ali's Quran Translation

strike terror in the heart of the enemy: 8:60

unbelievers bad treatment:

3:10. Those who reject Faith,- neither their possessions nor their (numerous) progeny will avail them aught against Allah: They are themselves but fuel for the Fire. S P
3:11. (Their plight will be) no better than that of the people of Pharaoh, and their predecessors: They denied our Signs, and Allah called them to account for their sins. For Allah is strict in punishment. S P C 3:12. Say to those who reject Faith: "Soon will ye be vanquished and gathered together to Hell,-an evil bed indeed (to lie on)! Yusuf Ali's Quran Translation

Take not Jews or Christians for friends: 5:51, 5:52

5:51. O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust. S P

Yusuf Ali's Quran Translation

2:26. Allah disdains not to use the similitude of things, lowest as well as highest. Those who believe know that it is truth from their Lord; but those who reject Faith say: "What means Allah by this similitude?" By it He causes many to stray, and many He leads into the right path; but He causes not to stray, except those who forsake (the path),- S

2:27. Those who break Allah's Covenant after it is ratified, and who sunder what Allah Has ordered to be joined, and do mischief on earth: These cause loss (only) to themselves.
Yusuf Ali's Quran Translation

reject friendship with others 3:149-151
send terror to Jews: 5911-17
divine terror to Jews (Banu Nadir) 59:2-3
christians and jews are idolartors 4:51-52
hypocrites plotting against Muslims 33:13-14
sabbath breaking Jews are pigs and monkeys: 2:62-65,559-60,7:166
imitate Mohammed: 33:21
Massacre of the Banu Qurayzah
prayers not helpful for the evil-doer: 9:809:84

Caliphate of Umar 634-644 the Jews who remained at Khaybar were banished to Syria and the rest of the land was seized.

hate until everyone believes in Islam: 60:1-4

60: 3. Your ties of kindred and your children will avail you naught upon the Day of Resurrection. He will part you. Allah is Seer of what ye do. Y S C
60: 4. There is a goodly pattern for you in Abraham and those with him, when they told their folk: Lo! we are guiltless of you and all that ye worship beside Allah. We have done with you. And there hath arisen between us and you hostility and hate for ever until ye believe in Allah only - save that which Abraham promised his father (when he said): I will ask forgiveness for thee, though I own nothing for thee from Allah - Our Lord! In Thee we put our trust, and unto Thee we turn repentant, and unto Thee is the journeying. YPickthal's Quran Translation

allah punishes the unbelievers 9:26
invite to Islam 3:64
jizya and subordinate dhimmi (guilty or protected) position 9:29, 9:33
allah first: 9:33
Jews and Christians cursed: 9:30 Christians, esp hellfire 9:31-2,33-5
Allah curses other Moslems who ignore Mo: 9:107
Those that refuse Jihad will face terrible punishment 9:107
Jihad the best thing you can do 9:41
Those who refuse Jihad aren't believers 9:44-45
Beduins are the worst 9:97
Hypocrits will get nasty punishment 9:73-4
Kill or be killed for Allah 9:111
Beat your wife: 4:34
Unbelievers get out of Arabia 9:1-3 or die 9:4-6
Only conversion to Islam will save you from death 9:6-11
terror in the hearts of unbelievers 3:151, 7:4-5,8:12,8:60 etc
marriage ok with non menstruating children 65:4
woman are a field for men to plow: 2:223
woman's testimony 2:282
marry 4 have sex with many 4:3
woman's inheritance half of a man's 4:11
a rebellious woman can be banished and beaten 4:34
an adulterous woman can be confined to their homes until death 4:15
amputation for theft 5:38
ibn ishaq reports that mo particapted in 27 battles
The religion before allah is Islam 3:19 The only true faith in God's sight is Islam
People of the book are wrongdoers: 3:110
Jews and Christians accursed 5:12-16
Don't take Christians as friends 5:51
Jews and Christians are intolerant 2:120; cf 2:135

imitation of mohamed
march 28, 2003 Pal Sheikh Muhammad Abu A- Hunud
sept 5 2003 Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris on the Battle of Tabuk

jews are liars: 3:17,4:46
Jews are cursed 2:61-58, 5:78-82
Jews are Pig and Apes 5:60,2:65,7:166

Pick up a free searchable Qur'an here. It does not seem to have any associated malware.