A departing senior editor at Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused the organization of politicizing its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, asserting that its bias against Israel reached its peak following the Hamas attacks on October 7, during which 1,200 people were killed in southern Israel.
Who is Danielle Haas?
In an internal email sent on her last day at HRW to over 500 employees, Danielle Haas claimed that after the October 7 attacks, years of organizational changes culminated in responses that compromised professionalism, abandoned principles of accuracy and fairness, and neglected the duty to advocate for the human rights of all. The email was leaked to The Times of Israel.
HRW responded to Haas’s email with a statement, asserting that her departure was unrelated to the organization’s work on Israel-Palestine and was decided weeks before October 7. Haas confirmed that HRW had decided to eliminate her position in September.
HRW defended its reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stating that it applies the same standards to this issue as it does to others. However, Haas, who worked at HRW for 13 years and previously covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a journalist for the Associated Press and Reuters, criticized HRW for going beyond valid criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
Haas — who is a Jewish, dual Israeli national — claimed, “Some types of Israeli-Palestine expertise were valued more than others.
She highlighted the length of HRW’s annual global review chapter on Israel, claiming it is longer than those on rights-abusing countries like Iran and North Korea. Haas also criticized HRW’s 2021 report accusing Israel of apartheid, expressing concern that the organization’s careful legal arguments might not be fully read and could be misused by those, including Hamas supporters, who casually use the term.
Furthermore, Haas raised concerns about antisemitism contributing to her mistreatment at HRW, stating that she brought this up with a senior manager who acknowledged her concerns but took no action. She also criticized HRW’s initial statement after the October 7 attacks, arguing that it inadequately addressed the situation compared to the organization’s extensive history of condemning human rights abuses.