The Corner

Who Watches the Human Rights Watchmen?

Over at The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg has a fascinating investigation into a recent controversy involving Human Rights Watch fundraising in Saudi Arabia:

An on-line Wall Street Journal op-ed posted two days ago alleged that Human Rights Watch officials went trolling for dollars in Saudi Arabia, and that the organization’s senior Middle East official, Sarah Leah Whitson, attempted to extract money from potential Saudi donors by bragging about the group’s “battles” with the “pro-Israel pressure groups.”

I suggest you read Goldberg’s post in full, as Goldberg tries to extract some answers about what really happened via back and forth e-mails with Human Rights Watch. But Goldberg’s conclusion about what happened is this:

In other words, yes, the director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division is attempting to raise funds from Saudis, including a member of the Shura Council (which oversees, on behalf of the Saudi monarchy, the imposition in the Kingdom of the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic law) in part by highlighting her organization’s investigations of Israel, and its war with Israel’s “supporters,” who are liars and deceivers. It appears as if Human Rights Watch, in the pursuit of dollars, has compromised its integrity.

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