UPDATE 09/15/2009: Garlasco has been suspended by HRW.
Do I think Marc Garlasco is guilty of the things he is being accused of? Absolutely not, and his vociferous right-wing critics have a long history of attacking HRW for having the nerve to treat Israel as what Israel is — a state like any other, with a military beholden to international law.
HRW isn’t going to fire Garlasco, and it shouldn’t*, but that doesn’t mean Garlasco should stay on at the organization in his current capacity or any other. The unfair, obnoxious reality is that the Israeli right and its American allies have turned Garlasco’s private hobby into a publicity nightmare for one of the world’s leading human rights organizations –an organization that needs its reports on the conduct of the Israeli military to be taken seriously, most of all by the Israeli Government, which will use any excuse it can to ignore evidence that its soldiers harm Palestinian civilians.
If Garlasco stays, he will undermine all future HRW work on the Middle East. That work is bigger and more important than Marc Garlasco the military analyst, and Garlasco should do the honorable thing now —resign. He should do so not for the likes of David Bernstein and the people at NGO Monitor, but for the welfare of the grievously wronged civilians he has interviewed and advocated on behalf of over the years.