La suite de l’affaire décrite ici. Où l’on apprend qu’après avoir défendu son analyste militaire anti-israëlien et collectionneur de souvenirs nazis, HRW a fini par le suspendre de ses fonctions.
Human Rights Watch suspends researcher who collected Nazi memorabilia
A leading international human rights group has suspended a senior researcher who frequently criticised Israel’s military conduct after it emerged that he was a collector of Nazi memorabilia.
By Adrian Blomfield in Jerusalem
Published: 4:06PM BST 15 Sep 2009
Human Rights Watch, a group whose global reputation rivals that of Amnesty International, said it had sent Marc Garlasco home on full pay pending an investigation into his hobby.
Last week, pro-Israeli websites disclosed that Mr Garlasco, a former Pentagon intelligence officer, was an avid collector of German wartime memorabilia who had written a book about Nazi-era medals.
One blog, Mere Rhetoric, revealed posts that Mr Garlasco had written on collector websites using the moniker « Flak88 », the designation of an anti-aircraft gun used by the Germans during the Second World War.
In one post he wrote: « That is so cool! The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL! » [C’est tellement cool! La veste en cuir SS me gèle le sang, tellement c’est COOL!] The Israeli government was quick to seize on the revelation as an example of the bias it alleges Human Rights Watch shows to the Jewish state.
« A war crimes investigator who is an avid collector and trader in Nazi memorabilia is perhaps a new low, » Ron Dermer, a senior aide to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, was quoted as saying by the Jerusalem Post.
The pro-Israel lobby has made numerous allegations against Human Rights Watch, claiming it has sought to raise funds in Saudi Arabia and has hired researchers who have supported a boycott on the Jewish state or shown sympathy for terrorism. The organisation denies all such accusations.
Mr Garlasco has particularly been in the sights of the Israeli government and its supporters for his heavy involvement in reports investigating Israel’s alleged use of cluster bombs in Lebanon in 2006 and white phosphorous during December’s Gaza offensive.
He has vigorously denied being a Nazi, insisting that his hobby was driven by his interests in military history and his family background. Mr Garlasco’s grandfather was a conscript in a German anti-aircraft unit.
« I’ve never hidden my hobby, because there’s nothing shameful in it, however weird it might seem to those who aren’t fascinated by military history, » he wrote in the Huffington Post, an American online newspaper.
« Precisely because it is so obvious that the Nazis were evil, I never realised that other people, including friends and colleagues, might wonder why I care about these things. »
Until yesterday, Human Rights Watch had stood behind Mr Garlasco. The organisation explained its shift by saying that not all its questions about the matter had been answered.
Pro-Israel groups accused Human Rights Watch of failing to take the matter seriously and called on the body to conduct a review of Mr Garlasco’s previous work for signs of anti-Israel bias.
« It’s too little, too late, » said Gerald Steinberg, head of NGO watch, a US project with conservative affiliations that monitors human rights organisations for signs of anti-Israel bias.
« Garlasco has been the primary author of major reports critical of Israel that have lacked credibility.
« Those reports, which have had a great deal of influence, need to be investigated by an independent body and corrected. »