Jerusalem, Sep.10 (ANI): Human Rights Watch's employment of a man who trades and collects Nazi memorabilia as its "senior military expert" is a "new low" for the organization that frequently criticizes Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's policy director Ron Dermer said Wednesday.
"I thought that nothing could top a human rights organization trying to raise money in Saudi Arabia, but I was apparently wrong," said Dermer.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Dermer was referring to reports, both in the blogosphere and the press, that Marc Garlasco, HRW's senior military expert, who has written numerous reports condemning Israel, is an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia.
Omri Ceren, on a blog called Mere Rhetoric, wrote that Garlasco was "obsessed with the color and pageantry of Nazism, has published a detailed 430-page book on Nazi war paraphernalia, and participates in forums for Nazi souvenir collectors."
Dermer said the revelations made it "easier to understand how an organization that was initially called Helsinki Watch, and was dedicated to helping brave Soviet dissidents fight against tyranny, has turned into an organization that facilitates the assault of some of the worst regimes and terror groups against the very democratic countries that uphold human rights.
HRW issued a statement saying that Garlasco's family experience on both sides of WWII - his grandfather was in the German army and his great-uncle was in the US air force - led him to collect military memorabilia from that period.
HRW emphatically denied that Garlasco was a Nazi sympathizer because he "collected German [as well as American] military memorabilia."
HRW said the "accusation is demonstrably false and fits into a campaign to deflect attention from Human Rights Watch's rigorous and detailed reporting on violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by the Israeli government." (ANI)