The Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization, which has a long record of harshly condemning Israel, has been forced to suspend its senior military analyst following published revelations that he is an avid collector of Nazi military memorabilia.
The revelations several days ago that Marc Garlasco is fond of Nazi items were spread over the Internet, but HRW defended its analyst, stating that Garlasco “has never held or expressed Nazi or anti-Semitic views.” After newspapers in Britain and the United States picked up the story, “We have questions about whether we have learned everything we need to know,” said Carroll Bogert, associate director of HRW.
However, HRW knew for several days, if not longer, that published reports revealed that Garlasco, an American, wrote a book about Nazi-made medals and revealed that his grandfather was in Hitler’s army.
“That is so cool! The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!” Garlasco wrote under a pseudonym on a collectors' site.
However, Bogert rejected critics who linked Garlasco’s love for Nazi military items with his anti-Israel reports that accuses the Israeli army of using white phosphorous weapons in Gaza. The IDF has said any traces of the material were from smoke bombs and were easily within the limits of international law.
The revelation of his hobby came several weeks after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Ron Dermer referred to HRW when he stated, “We are going to dedicate time and manpower to combating these groups; we are not going to be sitting ducks in a pond for the human rights groups to shoot at us with impunity.”
Garlasco wrote on the Huffington Post website last Friday, “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. Precisely because it’s so obvious that the Nazis were evil, I never realized that other people, including friends and colleagues, might wonder why I care about these things.”
Pro-Israel bloggers have alleged that HRW used fake names on comments and articles that defended the organization.