Veteran news publication TIME Magazine used the word "plantation" Tuesday to describe Jewish-owned farms in Judea and Samaria, doubtlessly evoking the image of slave plantations in the pre-Civil War American South for many readers.
The article by Karl Vick focused on the latest report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), which called on companies to make sure their goods have not come from about 1,000 firms doing business in Judea and Samaria. These firms operate in "Israeli-owned industrial zones, on plantation-style farms and quarries on Palestinian land," he wrote.
How and why Israeli farms – which are generally considered to be among the most advanced in the world – are like "plantations" was never explained.
The new report stops short of calling for a general boycott of Israeli firms.
Sari Bashi, a HRW researcher in Jerusalem, told the magazine that the group is advocating the legal norm of "corporate social responsibility.” Vicks explained that HRW was adopting a "more surgical approach" of targeting firms in Judea and Samaria, and not all of Israel, as the BDS boycott does.
In this, the writer said, it was joining Norway’s pension fund, the United Methodist Church and the European Union, which in November prohibited goods made by Jewish firms in Judea from being labeled “Made in Israel.”
The HRW paper "largely" stops short of identifying "offending" companies by name, although it does name a few. In addition, TIME said, it was not asking individual customers not to buy these firms' goods, but calling upon other companies to avoid them.
In 2012, NGO Monitor, which studies the treatment of Israel by supposedly non-affiliated and apolitical volunteer and civic groups, accused HRW of leveling false charges against Israel. HRW had accused Israel of conducting "unlawful" attacks and hitting “journalists” in Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defense, but it presented "no proof whatsoever that the targets involved were not being used for military operations or that the 'journalists' were not Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters," according to NGO Monitor.
The ease with which some media outlets continue to quote HRW's long discredited allegations, without any independent analysis or due diligence, is also disturbing, the organization added.