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Human Rights Watch, the Goldstone Report and a Nazi Fetish
A Human Rights Watch spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday night that its embattled senior military analyst Marc Garlasco resigned nearly three weeks ago, even though, according to NGO Monitor, he was still listed on HRW’s Web site as an employee earlier in the day.
Yet according to NGO Monitor, since Garlasco’s paid suspension, no word had been given regarding his employment status with the organization or any investigation into the allegations made against him. Additionally, Garlasco’s name remained on the organization’s online list of employees.
After HRW was queried regarding Garlasco’s status on Thursday evening, the group’s communications director, Emma Daly, responded in an e-mail stating, “Human Rights Watch regretfully accepted Marc Garlasco’s resignation on February 15th [and] he is no longer listed as a staff member on Human Rights Watch’s Web site.”
However, according to the NGO Monitor announcement, which had been sent to the Post on Thursday morning, “As of March 4, 2010, [Garlasco’s] name remains on the list of HRW employees, listed as a ‘senior military analyst.’”
While Garlasco’s name was visible on HRW’s online list of employees on Thursday afternoon, Daly insisted in a phone conversation on Thursday night that his name had been removed from the list. “You’re looking at an old Internet cache,” Daly told the Post.
A subsequent search revealed that Garlasco’s name had in fact been removed, leaving a blank space where it had appeared hours prior.
As for the “pending investigation,” Daly repeated that Garlasco had resigned and said, “We are not commenting on it any further.”
Garlasco’s collection was initially revealed by Omri Ceren on his blog “Mere Rhetoric” in September, when he wrote that Garlasco was “obsessed with the color and pageantry of Nazism, has published a detailed 430-page book on Nazi war paraphernalia, and participates in forums for Nazi souvenir collectors.”
The subsequent media coverage sparked controversy and condemnations from groups such as NGO Monitor, which released a statement saying that Garlasco’s background, “when combined with his central role in the condemnations of Israel under false banners of ‘human rights’ violations and ‘war crimes,’ show that he is entirely inappropriate as a human rights reporter.”
Garlasco issued an apology at the time, writing on the Huffington Post Web site, “I deeply regret causing pain and offense with a handful of juvenile and tasteless postings I made on two Web sites that study Second World War artifacts.”
The allegations of Nazi sympathies, Garlasco added, were “defamatory nonsense, spread maliciously by people with an interest in trying to undermineHuman Rights Watch’s reporting,” and, “I work to expose war crimes and the Nazis were the worst war criminals of all time.”
NGO Monitor’s president, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, said on Thursday that regardless of Garlasco’s status with the organization, “HRW’s problems go far deeper.”
“This human rights superpower needs an independent and systematic investigation, particularly of its Middle East and North Africa division,” Steinberg said.
“As James Hoge Jr. prepares to become chair of HRW’s board, this should be his first priority.
“The organization’s reliance on Garlasco’s claimed ‘military expertise’ raises alarming questions about the credibility and bias of its activities,” Steinberg continued.
“Since 2004, Garlasco co-authored many of the reports condemning Israel, each of which needs to be investigated or withdrawn. Garlasco’s reports on Gaza were also central to the UN’s Goldstone Report.”