Monday, January 04, 2010

What Has Roth Wrought?

Human Rights Watch's executive director, Ken Roth, included this in a recent op-ed in Foreign Policy in Focus:

Israel is understandably frustrated by the difficulty of fighting Hamas, an urban-based armed group that indiscriminately attacks Israeli civilians. But the kind of asymmetric warfare that typifies combat with terrorist and other armed groups is nothing new. It was widespread at the time of the adoption of the Geneva Conventions in 1949, as illustrated by the militant Zionist group Irgun’s fight against the British colonial rule of what was then Palestine.

Of course, Roth could have mentioned Arab terrorists who operated for three years, in an urban and also countryside fashion, against unarmed Jews in the Palestine Mandate during 1936-1939 as well as against the British. The British reduced one-third of Jaffa to rubble in response.

Here's one testimony:

In 1936, at the height of the Rebellion, the old city was the hideout of armed rebels and its alleys were formidable. The British...moved in with a huge force and dynamited a Y shaped passage, linking the harbor to an opening towards Clock Square. Then they bulldozed the rubble to make a swift passage for armored cars. This surgical act of urban clearing was captured in its razor sharpness in three photographs shot from the air (you can see them in Sarah-Graham Brown's social history of Mandate Palestine).


The biggest single act of destruction occurred in Jaffa on June 16, 1936, when large gelignite charges were used to cut long pathways through the old city, destroying 220–240 buildings and rendering up to 6,000 Arabs homeless.

Roth wouldn't mention Arab 'militants'. They, almost exclusively, targeted - as they still do - civilians. From their first organized political attacks in Jerusalem in 1920, in Jaffa in 1921 and then throughout the country in 1929, and especially against the Jews of Hebron.

In fact, mentioning them would provide solid background for comprehending the Hamas and Fatah. Almost 90 years of anti-Jewish terror. But that would undermine the 'humanness' of the Arab terrorists. I do not think Roth is keen on doing that.

That terror of Arabs sought out the unarmed, the young, the old, the women, the undefended. And that is quite unlike those Irgunists and members of Lechi who exclusively targeted government officials, army officers and policemen. Yes, and quite unlike the current parellel Roth and friends seek to draw between Israel and "illegal international law" acts.


never seems to refer to himself as Jewish but rather writes of "his family's experience in Germany" or ignores his family completely.

I presume he is, perhaps, uncomfortable with his Jewish ancestry (unless, of course, he isn't Jewish).

Nevertheless, his targeting of Israel would seem to display some sort of behavior that is odd.


Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

but there's another important point. Roth shows whom he serves. Note that he praises Prez Obama for supposedly adhering rigidly to the Geneva conventions and trying to avoid harm to civilians at all costs. Roth doesn't mention how many civilians have been killed in US and allied warfare in Afghanistan since Obama became president.

In other words, Roth covers up for Obama and US military policy. Whether or not the US's Afghan war is right or wrong, civilians are inevitably going to get killed. As far as I can see, Israel has a much better combatant to non-combatant kill ratio than the US in Afghanistan or Iraq. Recall that one of the Pentagon experts identifying targets for the US air force was one Marc Garlasco. Plenty of civilians were killed in Iraq due to Garlasco's "mistakes." After he left, the Pentagon got a job with --- Roth's own human rights watch.

Anonymous said...

One of the "proof texts" on which Roth bases his claim that Israeli targetted civilians is in fact erroneous. Tsipi Livni didn't mean civilians versus fighters when she said "They (Hamas) don't make a distinction, and neither should we." She was referring to Jews versus Arabs in response to Ahmad Tibi's statement that he feels more pain when a fellow Arab is injured or killed because they are from the "same nation." The quote Roth offers doesn't make sense by itself, which is why I went to the original Yediot story.
Hamas referred to an Arab that had just killed with a rocket as a "Zionist," so Livni was telling Tibi that he shouldn't make a distinction between Jewish and Arab victims either.
I hope this isn't typical of the kind of research that Roth and Human Rights Watch base their conlsuons on.

Anonymous said...

Roth published this in an IPS website -- a fringe radical left platform, often featuring Helena Cobban's rants. This is another sign that Roth is getting desperate ....