Call for Human Rights Watch head to resign after tweet blaming Israel for anti-Semitism

ADL calls Kenneth Roth's statement blaming rise in UK anti-Semitism on Israel "plainly false and offensive."

Dan Verbin ,

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of ADL
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of ADL
Yoni Kempinski

Kenneth Roth, the head of Human Rights Watch, was roundly condemned by Jewish groups after blaming the recent surge in anti-Semitic incidents in the UK on Israel.

On July 18, Roth tweeted, “Anti-Semitism is always wrong, and it long preceded the creation of Israel, but the surge in UK anti-Semitic incidents during the Gaza conflict gives the lie to those who pretend that Israeli government’s conduct doesn’t affect anti-Semitism.”

Roth, the executive director of the NGO – one of the world’s leading international human rights organizations that has long been criticized for it's anti-Israel statements – included with his post a link to a Haaretz article referring to anti-Semitism levels reaching record highs during the May conflict. The article detailed data studied by the Community Security Trust (CST), the main UK group mandated with community security.

The CST report stated that 628 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded between May 8 and June 7. The figure represented a 365 percent rise over April. It was “the highest number CST has ever recorded in any month-long period,” reported the Jewish Chronicle.

Dave Rich, head of policy for the CST, responded to Roth’s statement. “Actually it’s the conduct of people who treat Israel like it’s the most uniquely evil country on earth that affects anti-Semitism, but I don’t think Ken Roth is interested in that.”

Roth’s tweet was widely denounced on social media and by Jewish activists and groups, who called out the Human Rights Watch head for promulgating a double standard in singling out Israel and Jews. They noted he didn’t seek to blame other minority communities who faced an increase in discrimination or attacks.

“There should be no justification for anti-Semitism or those who perpetrate it,” tweeted ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “Blaming Israel for the recent rise in violent anti-Semitic incidents, instead of blaming the anti-Semitic actors themselves, is plainly false and offensive.”

NGO Monitor, a watchdog group that reports on anti-Israel bias at NGOs called for Roth to resign immediately.

“We’ve long documented @KenRoth’s abhorrent anti-Semitism and obsession with Israel,” they wrote. “Attacks on Jews cannot be excused by blaming the Israeli government. STOP BLAMING THE VICTIM.”

In a follow-up tweet, Roth responded to his critics, saying: “Interesting how many people pretend that this tweet justifies anti-Semitism (it doesn't and I don't under any circumstances) rather than address the correlation noted in the Haaretz article between recent Israeli government conduct in Gaza and the rise of UK anti-Semitic incidents.”