NEW YORK – Financier and philanthropist George Soros announced Tuesday a grant of $100 million over 10 years to Human Rights Watch, the largest grant he has ever made to a non-governmental organization.
“Human Rights Watch is one of the most effective organizations I support,” Soros said.
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“Human rights underpin our greatest aspirations: they’re at the heart of open societies.”
Soros, who celebrated his 80th birthday this year, has expressed a desire to give his money away during his lifetime.
“Originally I wanted to distribute all of the money during my lifetime, but I have abandoned that plan,” Soros told The New York Times. “My foundation should continue, but I still would like to do a lot of giving during my lifetime, and doing it this way, with such size, is a step in that direction.”
The $100 million grant is meant to facilitate internationalization of Human Rights Watch and to increase its physical presence in world capitals.
Currently, the organization has a staff of nearly 300 people and works in almost 90 countries.
At least 100 new staff members will be added as a result of this grant, and translation services will be improved as well.
Human Rights Watch has often come under attack from Israel supporters for being anti- Israel or anti-Semitic. The organization itself has, on occasion, acknowledged problems in its reporting.
Human Rights Watch acknowledged in a May 3, 2002 report that there was no evidence of a massacre of Palestinian civilians in Jenin earlier in 2002, contrary to its prior reports, and that Palestinian gunmen had contributed to endangering Palestinian civilians.
In September 2009, the group suspended a senior researcher who frequently criticized Israeli military actions when it became aware that the researcher collected Nazi memorabilia.
“Uber-Leftist philanthropist George Soros is donating $100 million to ‘Human Rights Watch’ so that they can stop embarrassing themselves trying to raise money in Saudi Arabia and get on with the business of undermining the existence of the Jewish State,” read the “Israel Matzav” blog.
Human Rights Watch, the American Thinker blog read, “is a notorious basher of Israel whose reports on Israeli ‘oppression’ in Gaza have received wide media play.
Expect their influence to grow considerably in the international community as a result of this massive gift by Soros.”