To The Editor,
In his op-ed of Oct 20, "Rights Watchdog, Lost in the Mideast," Robert L. Bernstein faults Human Rights Watch and other similar organizations for citing Israel for committing human rights abuses in it's attack on Gaza in December 2008 and January, 2009.
Israel, Bernstein argues, is the only democracy in the Mideast, acted solely in self-defense and has the most moral army in the world. There are some problems with this argument.
First, being or not being a democracy has never restrained a country from committing indiscriminate slaughter against other peoples. The record of the United State's mass bombing and spraying of Agent Orange in the Vietnam war is only one case in point.
Second, all the facts of the Gaza attack are against Bernstein. The verified evidence from many reliable sources point to a policy of shoot first and don't ask questions later. Palestinian families were used as human shields, hospitals and schools were bombed and white phosphorous was used against the general population. Not only has this been verified on film, but how can Bernstein explain the children from Gaza with phosphorous burns showing up for treatment in U.S. and European hospitals?
Finally, the fanatical rightist and religious nationalism whipped up by the Netanyahu/Lieberman government has led to harassment and threats of arrests to members of human rights groups in Israel.