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Nazi scandal hits human rights group

Garlasco has also written a book about Nazi-era medals


 

Nazi scandal hits human rights groupA Sept. 8 post on the pro-Israel blog Mere Rhetoric outed Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch (HRW), as an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia. The report, published by blogger Omri Ceren, accused Garlasco of being “Nazi-obsessed” and of holding “anti-Israeli biases.” HRW initially dismissed Ceren’s claims and threw its full support behind Garlasco, who has written articles critical of the Israel Defense Forces for the organization. But last Monday HRW suspended Garlasco without pay “pending an investigation.”

Garlasco is an avid collector of Third Reich articles. Mere Rhetoric quoted his zealous postings on collector sites, including, “The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!” According to Ceren, Garlasco operated online under the handle “Flak 88”—a reference to the 88mm German anti-aircraft gun, or perhaps the Nazi rallying cry “Heil Hitler” (H is the eighth letter of the alphabet). Garlasco has also written a 400-plus-page book about Nazi-era medals, titled The Flak Badges of the Luftwaffe and Heer.

Garlasco insists he is being pilloried by the pro-Israel lobby, and that his interest in the far right is simply a product of his passion for wartime history. In a response on the Huffington Post, he explained that his fascination with war souvenirs was inspired by his German grandfather, who was conscripted to fight in the war. “I’m a military geek,” he wrote. “I’ve never hidden my hobby . . . precisely because it’s so obvious that the Nazis were evil.”

For HRW, the timing of the exposé could not be worse. The group has thrown its weight behind the UN-sponsored Goldstone report, which accuses both Israel and the Palestinians of committing war crimes in the Gaza strip earlier this year. Garlasco’s actions will surely lead many to question the group’s credibility: according to HRW Middle East advisory committee member Helena Cobban, “[HRW’s critics] have been given this deus ex machina gift about the discovery of Garlasco and his out-of-hours hobby.”


 

Nazi scandal hits human rights group

  1. If he gets fired I hope he sues them from here to Tuesday for wrongful dismissal. Collecting war-time paraphenalia is perfectly legitimate. To argue by analogy: one would have to argue that collecting gear from the War of 1812 (common for re-enactors) constitutes a desire to see Canada invaded successfully by the United States of America. If this is the best that "Mere Rhetoric" can do perhaps the writer ought to turn his or her talents to a different field.

  2. I thought discrimination based on political beliefs was against human rights laws? Weird eh?

    Much as I detest the Nazis, I have an interest in WW2 history including the Germans. In my view, the most fascinating period in the 20th century. Politically I would be described as an anti-socialist (both Marx and Hitler come under this heading) and any interest in nazism is coincidental.

  3. “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” ~ Sun Tzu

  4. One of my uncles was a collector of Nazi memorabilia. He began his collection when he and tens of thousands of canadians fought their way accross northern europe in 1944 and 1945. We never asked him how he got the first few pieces of his collection. I am sure that he would probably have a lot to discuss with Mr. Garlasco and nothing but contempt for the later day Nazis at MereRhetoric.

  5. How about the person who thumbs-downed the posts supporting Garlasco to post something rather than just quietly criticize those brave enough to say some; add to the discussion!
    IF he was just collecting the memorabilia, he is no worse than a a museum curator.

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