(AP/Lee Jin-man)
HRW director Kenneth Roth

Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth refuses to recognize Israel as the “Jewish state,” comparing it to minority-abusing countries like Iran and Iraq.

By Terri Nir

In an interview with Kan News, asked if he supports Israel’s “self-determination as a Jewish state,” Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth dodged the question, saying that “nobody has ever questioned Israel’s right to exist.”

“Every state has a right to exist, but every state also has a duty to apply international human rights principles,” he continued.

“As a Jewish state,” the interviewer asked.

“As a democracy,” Roth replied.

“Israel can define itself any way it wants,” he added. “Lots of governments define themselves in nationalistic terms.”

Pushed to respond as to why he has “difficulty” defining Israel as the Jewish state, Roth said there are many Palestinians living there who deserve equal rights, implying that non-Jews are treated as second-class citizens.

He then gave the examples of Iraq and Iran as countries that abuse minorities, apparently putting Israel in the same category.

Roth met Saturday with senior Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat, who posted on Twitter: “Honored to have met today with Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. Serious discussion , in order to advance our joint work on the Palestinian people human rights , which are consistent being violated by Israeli occupiers.” Erekat has also compared the Israeli government to ISIS.

Is Roth ignorant about the many Arab citizens of Israel who hold prestigious positions at universities, in hospitals and other venues as well as those who serve in the IDF? Is he aware that the beaches, cafes, theaters and other public places are frequented by Israelis and tourists of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds? Or is he simply “anti-Israel?”

This was not the first time that Roth has supported outrageous lies about Israel. In August 2017, for example, he posted a tweet linking to an article written by a Palestinian writer that equates Zionism with White Supremacy, calling them “birds of a feather.”