We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Robert Bernstein, former Chair and president of Random House, and founding Chair of Human Rights Watch, details the many failings of HRW. If you want it summed up in one piece, by someone both knowledgeable and devoted to human rights, this is the one to read.
I won't go into all the ways HRW has gone seriously astray. But, below, is Bernstein's appeal to college students with which he concludes:
In closing, let me make a statement to whichever students choose to listen: When I was in Israel, I talked to 18 year-olds, both boys and girls, who were not going to college but instead were going into the army for three years and then for one month a year until 45 or 50 years old. They’ve been doing this for 60 years. And most of them have faced some kind of danger during that period. They are not involved in the peace process. They are involved in the defense of their country and have to hope that their government will avoid war.I also think of the Palestinian 18 year-olds – particularly those in Gaza who can’t get jobs because their economy is not thriving. I believe it is not thriving specifically because their government is bringing in arms and Israel is trying to stop them. And their government is preaching genocide. Many of these students can’t afford college and that leaves jihad as their only opportunity. If college students can help bring the human rights movement back to trying to make the Universal Declaration of Human Rights truly universal in the Middle East, they will be making a valuable contribution.
If credible human rights watch is to have a future, and a worthwhile impact, it will depend upon the next generation of leaders. The current prominent NGOs, HRW, Amnesty, and most of the lesser known ones involved in the Middle East have surrendered their mission to terrorists and thugs.
Those who are suffering from terrorists and thugs are watching, and waiting, too long.
Does Human Rights Watch care? It just took $100-million from George Soros, "which should offset nicely the income lost from core donors who've walked away in the wake of a host of scandals." Read more
P.S.: As you'll read in Bernstein's speech, Natan Sharansky was one of the inspirations for Bernstein, and many others. Here is Sharansky recently at the San Diego Jewish Federation's event Celebrating Jewish Heroes (yes, that's Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul & Mary introducing him):