HRW Sez: Don't Teach Terrorists Tolerance

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Maybe it's just me, but it seems as if Human Rights Watch keeps losing sight of the bigger picture. I'm not a reflexive critic of the group -- I think its reporting out of the Middle East (including Israel) has been important and useful; its recent critique of Hamas seemed credible, though a bit tepid (and it was accompanied by virtually no publicity, but I suppose that's not entirely HRW's fault -- human rights violations against Jews aren't as interesting to the world as human rights violations committed by Jews). This time, though, the group is criticizing Saudi Arabia -- where it recently boasted about its problems with Israel in order to butter up Arab donors -- for teaching detained terror suspects that Al Qaeda's militant ideology is un-Islamic. HRW objects to this program, saying that "human rights law does not permit the detention of persons to undergo a reeducation program."

Yes, we wouldn't want mass murderers to be convinced that mass murder is wrong, would we?

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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