In it he faults HRW for it's undue emphasis on Israel and it's lack of emphasis on regimes that deny human rights as a matter of policy.
I can see the argument that a disproportionate focus on Israel is appropriate, because Israel should be held to higher standards as a liberal democracy, and because liberal democracies are far more likely to be responsive to groups like Human Rights Watch than are countries like Saudi Arabia. Instead, Whitson claims that the disproportionate focus isn't disproportionate to begin with, and indeed it's incomprehensible that anyone might think otherwise, which is another nail in HRW's credibility coffin.
I read down the comments and found that defenders of HRW were not really interested in "human rights" in the abstract, but more generally in the idea that HRW could only effect human rights in nations that are democratic and are likely to react to complains of HRW.
Even David Bernstein concedes this point. I find that offensive.
What is interesting in this debate is that those, like Orin, excuse the lack of emphasis on the most egregious violators of human rights because such a focus would have no effect. In effect, organizations that follow these guidelines are not “human rights” organizations at all. They are self criticism forums for Democracies.
Similarly, I don't think any (rational) human being on the planet needs to be reminding that Kim Jong Il II is batshit insane and treats his entire country like peasants while forcing them to stay in 1955. I don't think any (rational) history book will ever omit or gloss that fact.
So what exactly is the point of interjecting North Korea into this?
Because we need to be reminded of these facts or we will forget them or ignore them to our peril. David Bernstein concedes the point when he says:
I can see the argument that a disproportionate focus on Israel is appropriate, because Israel should be held to higher standards as a liberal democracy, and because liberal democracies are far more likely to be responsive to groups like Human Rights Watch than are countries like Saudi Arabia.
It’s as if during World War 2, a human rights organization should have focused on racism in the United States because we are more likely to be responsive while giving a pass to the Nazi death camps because criticism of their existence would not deter the Nazis.
Today, seven years after the attack of 9/11, with the exception of a few sites on the internet, the images of that event are expunged from the media. To even mention that event leads the Left to accuse you of fear mongering. This leads people to question why we are trying to stop Islamofacism.
In 1941 it took the Japanese empire an entire battle fleet including all six first line aircraft carriers, submarines, battleships, cruisers and destroyers to bomb Pearl Harbor and kill about 2400 soldiers, sailors and civilians. In 2001 it took 19 men with box cutters to kill nearly 3000 people and bring the Twin Towers down. In some places in this country they are hailed as heroes. Without that background and the understanding that a few people now have the ability to cause mass casualties, we don’t understand what we are doing.
That is the point of focusing on the actual countries that destroy human rights and human dignity. The rest is intellectual onanism.