Anti-Israel Human Rights Watch Head to Step Down After 30 Years - The Jewish Voice
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Anti-Israel Human Rights Watch Head to Step Down After 30 Years

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By DEBORAH BRAND Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth announced he will step down this August after 30 years at the helm of the global non-profit organization.

Roth, who is dubbed the “Godfather” of human rights, is also known for his anti-Israel views and last year oversaw the publication of a report accusing Israel of apartheid which Israel said was full of “preposterous false claims.”

“I am privileged to have headed Human Rights Watch for three decades,” Roth tweeted on Tuesday.

“With my colleagues and our supporters, we have built a global organization and a powerful defender of people’s rights. But it is time to pass the baton. I will be leaving in August,” he wrote.

“I can assure you that while I am leaving HRW, I am not leaving our cause,” he said in a video message.

HRW’s Israel and Palestine director, Omar Shakir, was expelled by Israel in 2019 over his support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against it.

Roth, who is Jewish, accused Israel of working to “not only to shut down human rights activity, including by our Israeli partners, but also to deprive Israelis of information about what is happening around them.”

In July, Jewish groups condemned Roth after he blamed Israel for a surge in anti-Semitic incidents in the UK.

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, director of human rights watchdog NGO Monitor, a group that tracks anti-Israel non-profits, welcomed the news of Roth’s resignation.

“In his 30-year reign as head of HRW, Ken Roth has obsessively distorted and exploited human rights to demonize Israel,” Steinberg said.

“His language reflects a deeply personal hostility to Judaism and Jewish self-determination, regardless of policies, and he has hired many staffers who share this antipathy, amplifying the structural bias against Israel in the UN and other institutions,” he said.

“By abusing HRW’s power and $129 million annual budget (as of 2021) to systematically single out Israel and in applying double standards, instead of using these resources to address the worst human rights abuses, Roth has caused major damage to the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Steinberg said.

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