Sarah Leah Whitson
|Sarah Leah Whitson|
|Alma mater|| • University of California, Berkeley (Bachelor of Arts, 1988)
• Harvard Law School (Juris Doctor, 1991)
|Employer||Human Rights Watch|
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Career
- 3 Activism
- 4 Criticism by Abraham Bell
- 5 Membership
- 6 Personal life
- 7 Writings
- 8 See also
- 9 References
Early life and education
Whitson was reared by an Armenian American mother, Ashi Whitson, who was born in the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem's Old City and immigrated to the United States in 1960. Her father was an American from Texas. She was a student at Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School for 12 years in Los Angeles and spent childhood summers with family in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
In 1988, Whitson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, located in Berkeley, California, taking time to study abroad in Egypt. In 1991, she graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from the Harvard Law School, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Whitson is director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. She has published articles on the Middle East in international and regional publications and has led dozens of advocacy missions throughout the region and has overseen numerous research missions and reports on human rights conditions there. She was previously employed by Goldman Sachs, an American bulge bracket investment banking and securities firm, and the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. Whitson served two terms on the board of directors of the New York chapter American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, in 2001 and 2002. She served as general counsel to the Center for Economic and Social Rights, and travelled on human rights missions to Iraq for the organization, and also volunteered for the Lawyer’s Committee for Human Rights and the Armenian Bar Association, of which she remains a member. Whitson also carried out human rights work for the Harvard Study Team and International Study Team missions examining the impact of war and sanctions on the Iraqi civilian population, the International Human Rights Law Group's election-monitoring mission in Kurdish-controlled Northern Iraq.
According to The New Republic, after completing law school, she became a corporate attorney "but pursued activism on the side, volunteering for, among other groups, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (where she was co-organizer of a delegation in 2002 that lobbied Kofi Annan to press ahead with a United Nations investigation of Israel's Jenin operation) and MADRE (a women’s rights group, with which she traveled to Lebanon on a solidarity mission in 1996 after an Israeli bombing campaign)."
Unmentioned in Whitson's HRW biography is the fact that before becoming head of the Middle East division at HRW, she was, according to former HRW head David Bernstein, “an active member of the New York chapter of the American-Arab Antidiscrimination Committee (ADC),” of which she served as a director.
In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, February 24, 2011, weeks after the rebellion against the Libyan regime had intensified, Whitson acknowledged the absence of human rights "reforms" in Libya. "With no progress on any institutional or legal reforms... For sure, most Libyans we spoke with never had much faith that Moammar Qaddafi would learn new tricks, or that the announced reforms were anything more than an endless loop of promises made and broken." Jeffrey Goldberg, writing in the Atlantic Monthly, claims that Whitson had "something of a soft spot" for Qaddafi and his son, Seif Islam, in an earlier article in which Whitson expressed hope that changes would continue to take place in Libya.
In May 2009, Whitson was mentioned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed when she led a HRW fund-raising trip to Saudi Arabia. Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic opined on his personal portion of the magazine's website that "the director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East division is attempting to raise funds from Saudis, including a member of the Shura Council (which oversees, on behalf of the Saudi monarchy, the imposition in the Kingdom of the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic law) in part by highlighting her organization's investigations of Israel, and its war with Israel's "supporters," who are liars and deceivers. It appears as if Human Rights Watch, in the pursuit of dollars, has compromised its integrity." Human Rights Watch says these allegations are false and unsubstantiated. According to Human Rights Watch, the organization has never tried to raise funds from any government or government official, including any member of the Saudi Shura Council, and Human Rights Watch never described a “war with Israel’s supporters” or used the words “liars and deceivers” at any point. HRW notes that staffers made two presentations in Saudi Arabia in May 2009 in private homes to people who were interested in Human Rights Watch. Among an estimated 50 guests at a reception in Riyadh, there were three with governmental affiliations, "the spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior; the deputy head of the Human Rights Commission, a governmental organization; and a member of the Shura Council, a government-appointed consultative body." According to HRW, none of those individuals were solicited for funds and HRW never accepts funds from government officials in any country. HRW stated that there is no reason why Saudi citizens cannot legitimately want to support human rights.
Criticism of Israel
Whitson has been accused frequently during her tenure at HRW of a bias against Israel. Not long after she began working at HRW in 2004, Whitson said that “The removal of settlers and most military forces will not end Israel’s control over Gaza.” She also stated that “Under international law, the test for determining whether an occupation exists is effective control by a hostile army, not the positioning of troops....Whether the Israeli army is inside Gaza or redeployed around its periphery and restricting entrance and exit, it remains in control.”
Whitson claimed that Israel intentionally killed civilians during the 2006 war in Lebanon.
In 2006, Whitson encouraged the US to cut aid to Israel in response to settlement expansion and accused Israel of attempting to exert power over Gaza through control of its borders, infrastructure, airspace, and movement of its residents: “Israel controls the airspace, Israel controls electricity, Israel controls water. In fact, just a few weeks ago, Israel decided and proclaimed that it was going to shut off the electricity supply to Gaza in order to punish the Gazans for the fact that militants in Gaza were continuing to launch Kassams directed towards Israel. Israel controls the borders and continues to decide who can come in and out of Gaza, even at the now so-called open Egypt-Gaza border. So in many ways, there are aspects of effective control that remain. And under international law, the key determinant is whether or not the other party retains effective control over the territory.”
In a 2007 report, NGO Monitor accused HRW of a “clear, identifiable political bias in both the quality and quantity” of its coverage of Israel, and Whitson replied by accusing NGO Monitor of having an inadequate “understanding of international law.” Israel, she said, “is the only country committing collective punishment by blockade because it is the only country that, directly and through its pressure on Egypt, is blocking all borders of a territory in order to squeeze its civilian population.”
At a panel discussion at The Century Foundation in July 2009, Whitson divided “the major human rights concerns in the Middle East” into two categories: one, “the general absence of basic human rights throughout the Arab world,” and two, Israel's “occupation of territories” and its wars. She said that “Israel’s wars in Lebanon and Gaza have...been a source of very serious violations of international humanitarian law, amounting in numerous incidents, to war crimes.” Former HRW head David Bernstein criticized Whitson's presentation as “tendentious in the extreme,” noting that Whitson “accuses Israel of apartheid” and “consistently refers to the wars in Lebanon and Gaza as 'Israel's wars,' even though, obviously, they were fought against foes that were launching cross-border attacks against Israel's civilian population and which declare themselves to be at war with Israel.” Bernstein added that after spending several minutes on “Israel's alleged sins,” Whitson spent “all of approximately twelve seconds on Hamas and Hezbollah.”
Former HRW head David Bernstein noted in a 2009 commentary that the ADC, of which Whitson was director before joining HRW, “support[s] the Arab and Palestinian cause against Israel, and during the Second Intifada, when Whitson was active in ACD-NY, the chapter “organized a silent vigil outside St. Patrick's Cathedral to draw attention to the fact that Palestinian Christians are also suffering under Israeli occupation.” In short, “when HRW hired Ms. Whitson...it was hiring someone that was in the middle of serving what amounted to a second term on the Board of Directors of an organization that was firmly and openly on the Arab side in the Arab-Israeli conflict. And she had personally engaged in pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activism while serving in that position.” Bernstein did not know “whether she resigned her position when she started working for Human Rights Watch; if she didn't, it was a clear conflict of interest.”
In another 2009 article, Bernstein suggested that if HRW wished to restore its credibility, it needed to fire certain staffers, Whitson among them, and replace them with “some sincere human rights advocates without anti-Israel ideological priors.” If HRW wishes to “continue to preach to the leftist, anti-Israel choir, Bernstein wrote, “it shouldn’t expect anyone else to pay attention.”
In an interview posted on YouTube in 2009, Whitson claimed Israel had illegally used white phosphorus against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. This charge was disputed by Peter Herby of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Whitson condemned Israel in a 2009 article for approving settlements in the Palestinian territories. Questioning “why such a system of racial inequality remains in place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” she accused the Israeli government of providing “Jewish settlements with water, electricity, housing, schools, hospitals and roads, while it severely restricts access to these necessities to Palestinian communities under its control.” She insisted that Israel's “security concerns do not warrant treating every last Palestinian man, woman and child as a threat” or “systematically separating Palestinians from Jews, with shanties and dirt roads provided for the one, and spacious villas with swimming pools and paved highways provided for the other.” And she criticized both the EU and the US for “support[ing] the system” through trade and aid.
In an April 2010 interview, Whitson said that “the most glaring violations of the laws of war continues to be Israel’s 43 year occupation of the Palestinian territories,” but also claimed that it was “very important” for HRW “not to take a position on who's right or who's wrong” in order to maintain its credibility as “non-partisan in any conflict.”
Ben Birnbaum, a journalist who profiled Whitson for the New Republic in 2010, noted that her office is decorated by “a poster for Paradise Now, a movie that attempts to humanize Palestinian suicide bombers,” and “two photos of bereaved Gazans.” On the Israeli-Palestine conflict, Birnbaum wrote, he “allegiances seem clear.” He quoted one insider as saying that Whitson “definitely has no sympathy for the Israeli side” but has “a lot of personal identification with the Palestinian cause.” She has expressed “tremendous respect and admiration” for Norman Finkelstein, and while lamenting that “his anger sometimes gets the better of him and his brilliant mind and generous spirit,” she has excused it by saying that “making Israeli abuses the focus of one’s life work is a thankless but courageous task that may well end up leaving all of us quite bitter.”
NGO Monitor repored in July 2010 that Whitson had visited Gaza in order to “reassure” Hamas that HRW was not treating it unfairly. “Whitson’s tête-à-tête with Hamas officials to emphasize HRW’s 'objectivity' and 'impartiality' as well as its future anti-Israel campaigning,” argued NGO Monitor, “is yet a further indication of HRW’s loss of 'critical perspective' as well as 'helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state,' as noted by founder Robert Bernstein. Her visit also begs the question: When was the last time Whitson made a special trip to Israel to reassure its leaders about the fairness of HRW’s reporting?”
NGO Monitor accused HRW in 2012 of having exhibited an “obsessive focus on Israel” during Whitson's tenure, complaining that “despite the extensive use of genocidal threats by the Iranian regime, HRW has not found the time or resources to condemn this and other forms of hate speech.” NGO Monitor noted that in 2010, “HRW issued 19 largely minor documents on Libya, compared with 51 on 'Israel and the Occupied Territories.'”
During the November 2012 conflict in Gaza, Whitson accused Israel of “violating the law of war” by targeting journalists and TV stations. In response to IDF insistence that it had acted “in accordance with the laws of armed conflict, despite the ongoing deliberate violations and abuse of these laws by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip,” Whitson maintained: “Just because Israel says a journalist was a fighter or a TV station was a command center does not make it so.” Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor criticised Whitson for what he called unsubstantiated allegations. “The organization presents no proof whatsoever that the targets involved were not being used for military operations or that the ‘journalists’ were not Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters,” said Anne Herzberg of NGO Monitor, adding: “Just because HRW claims something is a war crime does not make it so.” Whitson, in a separate statement on the same matter, said that “journalists who praise Hamas and TV stations that applaud attacks on Israel may be propagandists, but that does not make them legitimate targets under the laws of war.”
Criticism of Palestinians
In November 2012 Whitson accused Palestinian groups of committing war crimes for deliberately targeting civilians with rocket attacks. In April 2013 she criticized the Hamas government in Gaza for failing to “investigate and prosecute the men who tortured and executed suspected collaborators without due process,” saying that “the brazen murders of seven men makes a mockery of its claims that it’s upholding the rule of law in Gaza.”
Comments about other Middle Eastern and North African governments
Writing in February 2011 about the new regimes in the Arab world, Whitson said that “Western capitals have no choice but to live with the uncertainty of democratic outcomes in the region – after all, Arabs have had to live with adverse foreign policies of democratically elected leaders in the United States and Israel.”
Whitson criticized Egypt in November 2011 for having “become steadily more abusive, while finding excuse after excuse to delay handing over power to civilian authorities.” In May 2012 she upbraided Libya's interim government for “rejecting international human rights monitoring and the ICC's jurisdiction” as well as for passing “some shockingly bad laws, mimicking Qaddafi laws criminalizing political dissent and granting blanket immunity to any crimes committed in 'support' of the revolution.” In October 2012 she complained that the United Arab Emirates is “a country where people who attempt to exercise their right to free speech and peaceful dissent are likely to find themselves in arbitrary detention, where lawyers are harassed and even deported for their efforts to defend peaceful dissidents, and where migrant workers, who make up about 95 percent of the work force, face extraordinary exploitation.” And in March 2013 she took authorities in Bahrain to task for failing to provide “accountability at the highest levels of the country’s security forces for their abusive response to the 2011 uprisings, and freedom for the country’s unjustly imprisoned opposition and human rights leaders.”
In April 2012, Whitson argued that “elements within the transitional civilian government” of Yemen had “ambitious plans to reform the country's legal and security infrastructure,” but were unable “to rein in the security forces,” which were guilty of extensive human-rights abuses and needed to be restructured and rendered accountable. She called on the U.S., EU, and Gulf states to aid in this effort.
Saudi Arabia fundraiser
Citing a 2009 fundraising dinner held by Whitson in Saudi Arabia, NGO Monitor accused her of “exploiting the specter of 'pro-Israel pressure groups' to solicit funds from 'prominent members of Saudi society.'” David Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason University and former chairman of HRW, also criticized the Saudi Arabia fundraiser, accusing HRW of seeking “to raise money from wealthy Saudis by highlighting HRW's demonization of Israel.” Noting that Whitson had “found no time to criticize Saudi Arabia's abysmal human rights record,” Bernstein argued that “there is something wrong when a human rights organization goes to one of the worst countries in the world for human rights to raise money to wage lawfare against Israel, and says not a word during the trip about the status of human rights in that country.”
Apropos of Whitson's reported reference at her Saudi Arabian fundraiser to the “pro-Israel lobby,” Jeffrey Goldberg expressed alarm in the Atlantic that “Whitson, if the allegation against her is to be believed, trafficked in a toxic stereotype about Jews in a country that bans most Jews from even crossing its borders....The term pro-Israel lobby, of course, means something very different on the Arabian peninsula than it does here....In much of the Arab world, 'pro-Israel pressure group' suggests a global conspiracy by Jews to dominate the world politically, culturally and economically.”
NGO Monitor noted that “the major reason for holding this Saudi fundraiser” was that HRW was “facing a shortage of funds because of the global financial crisis and the work on Israel and Gaza, which depleted HRW’s budget for the region.”
In response to the criticism of her Saudi Arabia fundraiser, Whitson maintained that “Human Rights Watch in recent years has published more reports and press releases on a variety of rights problems in Saudi Arabia than any other human rights organization in the world.” She rejected the notion “that efforts to raise support among Saudis are unseemly because, well, if they live in a totalitarian country, they must be bad people too,” saying that “Human Rights Watch accepts funding from private individuals and foundations the world over, which we never allow to affect the independence of our work....Believe it or not, some Arabs believe in human rights too.” Whitson characterized Bernstein’s criticism of her Saudi Arabia fundraiser as “fundamentally...racist,” saying that donors' “ethnic background...is irrelevant....Should people be criticising us for the fact that much of our support base is made up of Jews?”
Daniel Levy, an Israeli political analyst, argued that “To accuse Whitson of being soft on the Saudis or somehow singling out Israel for criticism is quite astonishing....these attacks on HRW demonstrate no such objectivity or credibility -- they come from a narrow and misguided right-wing Israel advocacy agenda.” While Whitson did not criticize Saudi Arabia at her fundraiser there, argued Levy, she did criticize it at an event in the U.S. a few days earlier, saying for example that when it came to women's rights, “Saudi Arabia is the absolute worst.” Levy claimed that the attacks on Whitson were being made by people who do not want to see Israel criticized.
Libya and Seif Islam Gadafi
In a Los Angeles Times op-ed published in February 2011, Whitson stated that Muammar Gadafi's son Seif Islam Gadafi had been “primarily responsible for persuading officials” to let HRW hold a news conference in Libya. Whitson describing the younger Gadafi as having been a “semi-sanctioned internal voice for reform” whose foundation “had pushed publicly for changing the country's laws and freeing political prisoners” and “helped establish two private newspapers that sometimes criticized government policies.” She added that she and others at HRW had “had a sense that, with Seif Islam's support, some genuine political liberalization was possible and civil society might be able to breathe more freely” in Libya. Yet now, she lamented, “Seif Islam, who might have led Libyans to a peaceful transition, has become an advocate for policies leading to their deaths.”
Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic harshly criticized her op-ed, suggesting that perhaps she “should work for Vogue,” a reference to that magazine's recent publication of a flattering profile of the Syrian First Lady. He accused Whitson of having “something of a soft spot for the lunatic Libyan and his dangerous son” and quoted from what he described as an “intermittently starry-eyed portrayal of life in Libya” written by Whitson. NGO Monitor responded to the op-ed by calling for Whitson's “immediate resignation,” arguing that her statements about Seif Islam Gadafi had shown “that she consistently whitewashed the reality in Libya and further embarrassed her organization.” Anne Herzberg of NGO Monitor described Whitson as having “soft-peddled Qaddafi’s oppressive acts and offered no help to the Libyan people....Whitson was well aware of the atrocities committed by the Qaddafi regime, but she chose to present the façade that Qaddafi’s son was prepared to implement ‘reforms.’ The events in Libya over the past weeks reveal Whitson’s gross incompetence.”
NGO Monitor declared in 2012 that Whitson had “no moral authority or credibility on Libya or the rest of the Middle East,” citing her claim in 2009 “to have discovered a 'Tripoli Spring'” and her praise for Seif Islam Gadafi “as a leading reformer.” Whitson, NGO Monitor charged, had “dangerously advanced a fiction of impending reform, when, in reality, Libya remained a closed totalitarian regime that kept its population under tight control.” NGO Monitor also cited the death of “Fathi Eljahmi, Libya’s most prominent dissident,” whose brother had criticized HRW for hesitating “to advocate publicly for Fathi’s case” out of fear of antagonizing Gadafi.
Criticism by Abraham Bell
Law professor Abraham Bell criticized Whitson in a March 2012 article for emphasizing HRW's clashes with “pro-Israel pressure groups in the US, the European Union, and the United Nations” when courting potential donors in Saudi Arabia. He also faulted her for having “solicited funding to help promote the Goldstone Report – a now-discredited document that falsely accused Israel of misconduct in military operations in Gaza in 2009, while downplaying or ignoring abuses by the Hamas terrorist organization.” Bell added that when he “criticized HRW for falsely accusing Israel of committing a massacre in the Lebanese village of Srifa in 2006,” Whitson had “called my analysis 'distorted' and 'deceptive' and insisted that her organization's 'field investigators' conducted an 'in depth' examination that rebutted my 'armchair obfuscations.' Six months later, buried in the middle of a 247-page report, HRW acknowledged that contrary to its initial allegations, Srifa had not been an Israeli strike on Lebanese civilians, and most of the casualties were Lebanese combatants whose presence HRW had denied.”
The thrust of Bell's argument was that “the mistakes by HRW's MENA division under Whitson's inept command are the rule rather than the exception. Whitson's division has consistently ignored human rights abuses, lent credibility to their perpetrators, and hijacked the rhetoric of rights to prosecute a political agenda against a democracy.”
Whitson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Whitson is married to Josh Zinner, co-director of Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project in New York City. They have two children, Lena and Toby.
Whitson has written articles for such publications as Foreign Policy and Huffington Post.
- "In Libya, Building the Rule of Law". The New York Times. December 29, 2011.
- "You're Next - And You Know Who You Are." Foreign Policy. February 15, 2011.
- "Tunisia's Antics Should Give the West Pause." Los Angeles Times. April 19, 2010.
- "Postcard From... Tripoli." Foreign Policy in Focus. February 11, 2010.
- "Iran: South Africa Must Speak Out." Times Live (South Africa). February 9, 2010.
- "Israel's Settlements Are on Shaky Ground." Los Angeles Times. June 28, 2009.
- "Tripoli Spring". Foreign Policy. May 27, 2009.
- "Hezbollah's Rockets and Civilian Casualties". CounterPunch. September 22, 2006.
- "It's Time to Tell Mubarak, 'Enough!'". Daily Star. May 20, 2006.
- "Minority Report Human Rights Watch Fights a Civil War over Israel". The New Republic. April 27, 2010.
- Birnbaum, Ben (Apr 27, 2010). "Minority Report". New Republic.
- . Harvard Arab Alumni Associastion.
- HRW website
- Bernstein, David (November 5, 2009). "Human Rights Watch Needs To Shake Up Its Staff". The San Francisco Examiner.
- "Kofi Annan Assures ADC Leaders About Jenin Mission". American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
- "Sarah Leah Whitson". Human Rights Watch.
- Bernstein, David (Aug 4, 2009). "More on Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson". The Volokh Conspiracy Blog.
- Whitson, Sarah Leah (essay; February 24, 2011). "Libya: To Oust a Tyrant". Los Angeles Times.
- "Giving Qaddafi the Benefit of the Doubt". The Atlantic.
- Bernstein, David (July 15, 2009). "Human Rights Watch Goes to Saudi Arabia; Seeking Saudi Money to Counterbalance "Pro-Israel Pressure Groups". The Wall Street Journal.
- Goldberg, Jeffrey (July 15, 2009). "Fundraising Corruption at Human Rights Watch". The Atlantic.
- Visit to Saudi Arabia and False Allegations of Human Rights Watch 'Bias' 
- "Human Rights Watch Visit to Saudi Arabia". Human Rights Watch.
- "Israel: Disengagement Will Not End Gaza Occupation". Human rights Watch. Oct 24, 2004.
- "GRITtv Interview with Sarah Leah Whitson, Part Two". GRITtv. Jan 14, 200.
- "Human Rights Watch Calls on Bush to Cut Aid to Israel Over Expansion of Illegal Settlements". Democracy Now!. Jan 6, 2006.
- "Rights Group Shows Clear Anti-Israel Bias". Israel News. Jan 1, 2008.
- Whitson, Sarah Leah (Jul 9, 2009). "Finding Common Ground: Changing Rhetoric and Policy in the Middle East". Century Foundation.
- Bernstein, David (Jul 20, 2009). "David Levys Defense of Human Rights Watch". Volokh Archives.
- http://old.tcf.org/events/2009/ev258 (audio file of Ms. Whitsons presentation)
- "Human Rights Watch Needs to Shake Up its Staff". The San Francisco Examiner. Nov 5, 2009.
- Klapper, Bradley S. (Jan 13, 2009). "Israels Use of White Phosphorus Not Illegal: Red Cross". Huffington Post.
- Whitson, Sarah Leah (Apr 15, 2011). "A Matter of Civil Rights". Huffington Post.
- "Sarah Leah Whitson". Scholars Online: The Choice Program. Watson Institute for International Studies. Brown University. Apr 2010.
- "HRWs Sarah Leah Whitson Travels to Gaza to Reassure Hamas". NGO Monitor. jul 28, 2010.
- Steinberg, Gerald (Feb 26, 2012). "Human Rights Watch Lost Credibility". NGO Monitor.
- "Rights group hammers Israel for journalists deaths in Gaza". Times of Israel. Dec 20, 2012.
- "Israeli Attacks on Media Unlawful". Al Jazeera. Dec 20, 2012.
- "Palestinian Rockets Unlawfully Targeted Israeli Civilians". YouTube.
- Zion, Ilan Ben (Apr 11, 2013). "Rights group pans Hamas for not probing executions.". Times of Israel.
- Whitson, Sarah Leah (Feb 15, 2011). "oure Next And You Know Who You Are". Foreign Policy.
- Whitson, Sarah Leah (Nov 11, 2011). "Time for Tahrir 2.0.". Huffington Post.
- Whitson, Sarah Leah (May 15, 2012). "Libyas Human Rights Problem". Foreign Policy.
- Whitson, Sarah Leah (Oct 31, 2012). "A Gift With Lots of Baggage". Huffington Post.
- Whitson, Sarah Leah (Mar 15, 2013). "Is Bahrain Serious About Reform?". CNN.
- Whitson, Sarah Leah (Apr 20, 2012). "How to Help Yemen Come Unstuck". Foreign Policy.
- Steinberg, Gerald (Feb 26, 2012). "Human Rights Watch Lost Credibility". NGO Monitor.
- Bernstein, David (Jul 15, 2009). "Human Rights Watch Goes to Saudi Arabia". Wall Street Journal.
- Goldberg, Jeffrey (Jul 15, 2009). "Fundraising Corruption at Human Rights Watch". The Atlantic.
- "HRW Raises Funds in Saudi Arabia by Demonizing Israel". NGO Monitor.
- "Fundraising Corruption at Human Rights Watch". The Atlantic.
- Dische-Becker, Emily (Jul 22, 2009). "Anatomy of a Smear Campaign: Human Rights Watch Under Attack". Menassat.
- Levy, Daniel (Jul 20, 2009). "The Swiftboating of Human Rights Watch". Huffington Post.
- Whitson, Sarah Leah (Feb 24, 2011). "To Oust A Tyrant". Los Angeles Times.
- Goldberg, Jeffrey (Feb 28, 2011). "Giving Qaddafi The Benefit of the Doubt". The Atlantic.
- "HRWs Sarah Leah Whitson Must Resign Over Libya Cover Up". NGO Monitor. Feb 27, 2011.
- "Sarah Leah Whitson Conveniently Forgets Her Embrace of Gaddafi". NGO Monitor. Jan 3, 2012.
- Bell, Abraham (Mar 21, 2012). "Don't Celebrate Human Rights Hijacking". American Thinker.
- . The New York Times.
- . Foreign Policy.
- . Los Angeles Times.
- . Foreign Policy in Focus.
- . Foreign Policy in Focus.
- . Los Angeles Times.
- . Foreign Policy.
- . CounterPunch.
- . Daily Star.