While you deserve kudos for your
unceasing work documenting human rights violations around the world, your appearance on Fox news on August 5, gives serious
cause to doubt your methodology when applied to the Hezbollah-Israel conflict.
For example, you justified your accusation
that Israel is attacking civilian targets because no evidence was found of rocket launchers by the time HRW got around to
examining the sites. Just a little research reveals the futility of this argument. For example the neutral Global Security
Organization describes mobile rocket launchers as capable of firing missiles and returning in a few minutes to protected caves
or to alternate firing positions.
If indeed the reasoning behind your
reports about other conflicts is of the same standard, it prejudices the entire effectiveness of the Human Rights Watch organization.
An independent observer of this TV interview can only conclude that your opinion is not based on direct analytical observation,
but is largely influenced by the current media frenzy, which exaggerates Israeli retaliation and all but ignores the existential
threat causing it.
Many otherwise responsible media
seem blind to the fact that Israel has no choice but to react against those who have caused hundreds of thousands of Israelis
to live in bomb shelters for weeks and who have killed and maimed many. In an
appalling display of unbalanced reporting they play on emotions in a one-sided manner, emphasizing personal tragedies in Lebanon,
while ignoring the obvious equally poignant scenes in Israel. Mutilated babies and suffering old people are sadly to be found
on both sides and the human tragedy is equally distressing.
You seem strangely unaware of the
need to question the veracity of reports emanating from Hezbollah. Time magazine contributor Christopher Allbritton has admitted
he is loath to say too much about Hezbollah, "as the Party of God has a copy of every journalist's passport, and they've already
hassled a number of them and threatened one."
CBS's Elizabeth Palmer has also commented
that Hezbollah is determined that outsiders will only see what it wants them to see.
Surely truth-seeking Human Rights
observers cannot accept uncritically media reports skewed by Hezbollah propaganda. My deliberate use of the word "propaganda'
is justified by an admission by none other than CNN's senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson. Five days after placing
an anti-Israel report on July 18, he wrote, "When you hear their [Hezbollah's]
claims, they have to come with more than a grain of salt, that you have to put in some journalistic integrity. That you have
to point out to the audience and let them know that this was a guided tour by Hezbollah press officials along with their security,
that it was a very rushed affair." (http://newsbusters.org/node/6552).
It would be naive to believe that
HRW observers have any more freedom to observe objectively than internationally well-known journalists.
In a live interview on July 23, Robertson
said that although taking journalists into the bombed areas is a good way for Hezbollah to get their message out, there is
nevertheless no doubt that the bombs are hitting Hezbollah facilities.
One of Robertson's statements is
particularly relevant to your TV appearance. He said "we didn't have enough time to go in, root through those houses, see
if perhaps there was somebody there who was, you know, a taxi driver by day, and a Hezbollah fighter by night...."
When a Hezbollah fighter is indistinguishable
from a civilian taxi driver to an experienced internationally recognized journalist, one must ask how you can so confidently
assert that the casualties you've seen (or may have heard about), have been civilians.
With respect, Mr. Abrahams, I fear
your lack of critical analysis of the situation actually encourages the aggressor, thereby prolonging the conflict and aggravating
an already tragic situation, rather than helping to prevent human rights abuses
I suggest to you, as a recognized
personality interested in ameliorating human rights abuses, there is one awful abuse that can be rectified very easily. Please
call on Hezbollah and the Palestinians to show an ounce of humanity by allowing your organization or the Red Cross to visit
the kidnapped soldiers and allowing them to call their families in the presence of third parties to indicate that they are
alive; a privilege enjoyed by Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in Israel.
Furthermore, if HRW wishes to influence
the parties to end the carnage speedily, it should call on Hezbollah to allow Lebanon to implement SC resolution 1559 forthwith.
It is that simple. In all seriousness, one cannot help wondering what Sheik Nasrallah's objectives are and more importantly
whether he cynically considers them worth the continued suffering he continues to cause his people