Friday, November 24, 2006

Getting quoted in the dispute between HRW and NGO Monitor

Someone has pointed out to me that I have been quoted from this blogpost by NGO Monitor in an exchange over Aryeh Neier's piece in the New York Review of Books (November 2, 2006) defending Human Rights Watch from attacks by NGO Monitor. The letter responding to Aryeh is here.

Well, I certainly have criticisms of HRW - I make some of them in the blog post - but I do find that the quotation in the letter is taken more than bit out of context. It does come, after all, in the middle of a paragraph defending HRW as nonetheless the most scrupulous of the human rights monitors. I can't address the specific factual issues in the Lebanon war that got this dispute underway. I criticize below HRW's tendency to present to the public and press what are essentially lawyers' briefs that shape the facts and law toward conclusions that HRW favors without really presenting the full range of factual and legal objections to its position. I think this is tendentious because these brief-reports are not addressed to a court that would receive briefs from both sides and so have access to the point of view of each side, but instead to a credulous press that has no real basis for understanding the debate on both sides. I think - and have repeatedly told people at HRW - that it has an obligation to present fairly the entire debate; I can say categorically that it has never paid the slightest attention and that its reporting continues to be as tendentious as ever. But that's something quite limited and does not take a position on the current argument between HRW and NGO monitor, which, truth be told, I had not been following until someone mentioned that my blog post had been quoted.

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