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September 09, 2009

B'Tselem Jumps on the Bandwagon


B'Tselem, an advocacy group known for its harsh but unreliable criticism of Israel, has jumped on the bandwagon with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, issuing its own critique of Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza . B'Tselem -- not to be outdone by the other groups -- comes up with the same conclusion -- that most of those killed in Israel's military operation were Palestinian civilians. Unsurprising, given that all three groups rely on the same sources - Palestinian NGOs operating under the thumb of Hamas in Gaza.

Just how reliable is B'tselem? The organization's track record does not exactly inspire confidence in its methodology, rigor and accuracy. CAMERA has repeatedly found that B'tselem's casualty reporting is undermined by its strange definitions of combatants and civilians. For example, many of those characterized in B'tselem reports as civilians were killed while they attacked Israelis, like opening fire at a bat mitzah celebration in Hadera, setting off bombs, infiltrating Israeli communities and killing or wounding residents. (For more on this, see here and here).

The Israeli government has released its own casualty figures disputing the claim that most of the fatalities were civilians. Several private research organizations, like the International Institute for Counter Terrorism and CAMERA examined casualty figures provided by these same Palestinian NGOs and showed that the majority of Palestinian dead were males of ages typical for combatants and uncovered numerous examples where those identified by the NGOs as "civilians" were identified and commemorated by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups as fighters.

All this leads one to wonder...why do Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and now B'Tselem devote so much time and energy to producing report after report that repeats the same thing again and again?

Human Rights Watch's recent fundraising jaunt in Saudi Arabia might offer a clue as to the answer.

Posted by SS at September 9, 2009 01:18 PM


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