Goldblog reader P.F. writes, in a hostile though respectful e-mail:
"Are you suggesting in your criticism of Human Rights Watch that its officials shouldn't talk to Arab audiences about Israel?"
No! Of course not. What I'm suggesting is that they shouldn't fund-raise in Arab countries, especially un-free Arab countries -- by bragging about their opposition to Israel, and by invoking the greatest bogeyman of all, the Jewish lobby. It's just so tacky it's hard to believe Ken Roth, the group's director, would ever endorse this practice. It's absolutely fine for Human Rights Watch to talk to Arab audiences about the universe of its work (it would have been nice, of course, if Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East director of Human Rights Watch, had seen fit to mention, you know, beheadings in front of her Saudi audience), but perhaps there should be a rule that Human Rights Watch not raise funds in its main target countries. I would argue that Human Rights Watch shouldn't raise funds in Israel, either. Imagine if one of the group's fund-raisers got up before an audience in Tel Aviv and bragged about how tough her group has been on Saudi Arabia. You can just imagine the outcry in the Arab world.