BDS demonstration
BDS demonstration Hadas Porush, Flash 90

As part of its ongoing BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) campaign against Israel, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report and press release targeting Israel banks.

HRW is close to several Western governments and international institutions. Its publications reflect the absence of professional standards, research methodologies, and military and legal expertise, as well as a deep-seated ideological bias against Israel.deep-seated ideological bias against Israel. This represents HRW's third major BDS initiative in 2017 alone, notes NGO Monitor, based on a false evaluation of Israel's righ to build in Judea and Samaria.

"Economic warfare against the Israeli financial system has long been a goal of anti-Israel activists," said NGO Monitor Legal Adviser Anne Herzberg. "It is also clear that HRW has timed the release of this publication to coincide with the preparation of the discriminatory UN Human Rights Council blacklist, currently being prepared by UN functionaries in conjunction with BDS groups like HRW."

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley reportedly threatened that the US would leave the council altogether if the blacklist was published.

Under the leadership of Ken Roth, HRW was a major participant at the launch of BDS at the infamous Durban Conference in 2001, and Sarah Leah Whitson (Director of HRW's Middle East division) participated in the first BDS rally in the United States in 2004. In recent years, HRW has pursued BDS at the United Nations against FIFA, quarries and real estate brokers.

NGO Monitor notes that HRW's increased BDS activity follows the hiring of BDS activist Omar Shakir to head its Israel desk. In addition, HRW's "Israel/Palestine program" received a donation in June 2017 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, one of the main US funders of BDS.

"HRW's pseudo-legal arguments and sophistry do not stand up to scrutiny and cannot create legal obligations where none exists," Herzberg added. "BDS is not about human rights, and, this publication reflects HRW's long-standing pattern of singling out Israel."