At 87, Robert Bernstein, founder of Human Rights Watch, began his second life. Thirty-three years after he founded Helsinki Watch in 1976, which evolved into HRW – one of the most influential human rights organizations in the world – he disowned his creation. In an explosive 2009 column published in The New York Times, Bernstein denounced HRW and its leaders for distorting and exploiting human rights to attack democracies, and for playing a central role in making Israel a “pariah state.”

Now, Bernstein has gone further. Delivering the Goldstein Lecture on Human Rights at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he contrasted Israel’s democratic values with their notable absence in the Arab regimes and Iran. But most of HRW’s human-rights accusations are directed at Israel.

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