Taking — and Winning! — the Bernstein Challenge
As part of his latest attack on Human Rights Watch, David Bernstein insists — again — that HRW “absolutely refuses to apologize or retract” when it is “wrong about Israel.” He also claims that, “[t]hough challenged,” I have “yet to come up with another, legitimate example of HRW officially responded to legitimate criticisms from pro-Israel sources the way it responded to (somewhat dubious) criticism from extremist anti-Israel critics.” Bernstein obviously can’t be bothered to examine HRW’s website himself, because it took me all of five minutes to find the following:
This report corrects two major and several minor inaccuracies from Human Rights Watch’s earlier report issued during the 2006 war (Fatal Strikes):
Further Human Rights Watch investigations into a deadly strike at Srifa established that an Israeli attack there killed 17 combatants and five civilians on July 19, not the 26 civilians claimed in Fatal Strikes.
In a second case, involving an Israeli air strike on the village of `Aitaroun that killed nine members of the `Awada family, further Human Rights Watch research established that Hezbollah had fired rockets from near the home a few hours before the deadly air strike, although there is no doubt that all of those killed in the air strike were civilians unconnected to Hezbollah.
Human Rights Watch regrets these two major inaccuracies in its Fatal Strikes report. We have corrected several smaller errors relating to dates of strikes, ages and names of victims, and the previously unreported presence of an empty Hezbollah civilian office in a building targeted by an Israeli air strike in Bint Jbeil that killed two civilians. Wherever we have corrected errors from previous reports, the text or footnotes of this report clearly identify the information corrected.
To avoid any such mistakes in this report, we reexamined all of the cases included in Fatal Strikes and conducted additional interviews, site inspections, and visits to graveyards to establish whether victims were civilians or combatants. In addition, we investigated a further 71 cases in similar detail.
Note that these corrections are on HRW’s website, thus satisfying Bernstein’s (arbitrary) requirement. And look, there is even an apology!
I await Bernstein’s explanation of how HRW’s corrections and apology are not actually corrections and not actually an apology. Even Gerald Steinberg, the head of NGO Monitor — which exists, by its own admission, solely “to end the practice used by certain self-declared ‘humanitarian NGOs’ of exploiting the label ‘universal human rights values’ to promote politically and ideologically motivated anti-Israel agendas” — grudgingly acknowledged the correction.