After first assuring us that he is “not one of the people who believes that Human Rights Watch is reflexively anti-Israel,” Goldberg sets out to discover whether Sarah Leah Whitson, director of HRW’s Middle East and North Africa Division, attempted to raise money from potential Saudi donors by highlighting the HRW’s “battles with ‘pro-Israel pressure groups.’” Goldberg exchanged emails with Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, who wrote:
We report on Israel. Its supporters fight back with lies and deception. It wasn’t a pitch against the Israel lobby per se. Our standard spiel is to describe our work in the region. Telling the Israel story–part of that pitch–is in part telling about the lies and obfuscation that are inevitably thrown our way.
In other words, yes, the director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division is attempting to raise funds from Saudis… in part by highlighting her organization’s investigations of Israel, and its war with Israel’s “supporters,” who are liars and deceivers. It appears as if Human Rights Watch, in the pursuit of dollars, has compromised its integrity.
This doesn’t even pass the laugh test. Basically, Goldberg’s view is that even discussing Human Rights Watch’s work on Israel, and the criticism that it receives from right-wing pro-Israel groups, in the presence of Arabs is tantamount to trafficking in hate speech.
Yes, it’s reprehensible, but it’s also typical of Goldberg’s general method on the issue of Israel, which involves presenting himself as a moderate and reasonable judge of various claims and criticisms — he doesn’t really like the settlements, don’t you know! — before invariably delivering bog-standard neoconservative verdicts. He’s usually less clumsy about it, though.