This letter in the Times, from two top Human Rights Watch officials, is somewhat stunning:
As present chairwoman and past chairman of the board of Human Rights Watch, we were saddened to see Robert L. Bernstein argue that Israel should be judged by a different human rights standard than the rest of the world.
Mr. Bernstein, as a founder of Human Rights Watch, has had ample access over the years to make his argument that we should not be reporting on Israeli conduct because Israel is a democracy. As recently as April, the full board of directors heard -- and rejected -- Mr. Bernstein's proposal that Human Rights Watch should focus our research and reporting resources on closed societies.
I read the Bernstein op-ed, and I know his opinions on a range of subjects. I don't recall him ever saying that Israel should be judged by a different human rights standard than the rest of the world. What he has said is that democracies and open societies should be treated differently by Human Rights Watch than dictatorships. It's an argument worthy of debate, but Human Rights Watch will brook no debate, not a good example for societies struggling to be free, by the way. And it's particularly sad that Human Rights Watch would distort the record of its founder.