As most objective observers throughout the world marvel at Israel ’s efficiency and generosity in leading the medical aid efforts in Haiti, some bigots insist on using these efforts as an occasion to continue their attack on the Jewish state. . . . .
The neo-Nazi website ReportersNotebook.com features a blog entitled The Zionization of Disaster Relief. It accuses Israel of “exploiting the suffering of poor, defenseless Haitians on behalf of Israeli Triumphalism.” It complains that Israel is rendering medical aid to Haiti only to deflect attention from its crimes against the Palestinians.
The hard left, even in a Israel, complains that Israel should not be sending medical assistance to such a faraway place. Instead it should be sending it to nearby Gaza .
Even the New York Times, in an otherwise thoughtful analysis of the controversiality of the aid among some Israelis, failed to note the difference between Israel sending its limited resources to faraway Haiti and to nearby Gaza. Haiti is not at war with Israel . Haiti has not pledged itself to Israel ’s destruction. Haiti has not fired 8,000 rockets at Israeli civilians. Gaza, on the other hand, has a popularly elected government that has done and continues to do all of the above. Moreover, there is no comparison between the tens of thousands of Haitians who have died from a natural disaster, and the people of Gaza who suffer far less from what is, essentially, a self-inflicted wound.
Nor do the perennial enemies of Israel emphasize the comparison between tiny and resource-poor Israel, on the one hand, and the enormous and resource-rich Arab and Muslim nations, on the other hand. While Israel digs deeply into its treasury and manpower to send medical assistance a quarter of the way around the world, Arab and Muslim nations are generally missing in action when it comes to relief efforts. This is true not only in Haiti , which is a Catholic nation, but it was equally true when tsunamis and other natural disasters have devastated Muslim nations.
For those who argue that Israel is sending this aid to Haiti for its own selfish reasons, there are two answers. First the realpolitik answer: All nations have interests; and all act, at least in part, out of self interest. When the United States government is asked by Americans to justify its multibillion dollar foreign aid grants, it generally responds by arguing that these grants are serving the interests of the United States . When it comes to Israel , however, a double standard is always applied. Israel must act only out of altruistic motives, while all other countries are entitled to leven altruism with self interest. The second answer is that Israel is doing far more in Haiti than would be required to satisfy its self interests. It is sending more aid per capita than any country in the world. It is doing it with extraordinary efficiency and real impact.
A big part of intellectual honesty, as well as fairness and justice, is giving credit where it is due even if it does not suit your immediate preferences.
I've just read the transcript of the president's remarks aboutHaiti, the ones he made on January 15. He noted that, in addition to assistance from the United States, significant aid had also come from "Brazil, Mexico, Canada, France, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, among others." Am I missing another country that truly weighed in with truly consequential assistance? Ah, yes. There it is. Right there "among others." Yes, the country to which I refer is "among others," that one.
The fact is that, next to our country, Israel sent the largest contingent of trained rescue workers, doctors, and other medical personnel. The Israeli field hospital was the only one on the ground that could perform real surgery, which it did literally hundreds of times, while delivering--as of last week--at least 16 babies, including one premature infant and three caesarians. The first 250-odd Israelis were real professionals, and they were supplemented by others, also professionals. And to these can be added the many organized Jews from the Diaspora who, in solidarity with Israel, also went on a work pilgrimage, an aliyah, in solidarity with Haiti.
It's not that Israeli participation in the Haiti horror was being kept secret. I myself saw it reported several times on television—on ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN.
So didn't Obama notice? For God's sake, everybody noticed the deep Israeli involvement. I understand that Obama doesn't like Middle East narratives that do not contain "one side and the other side" equal valence. But he couldn't have that here. The Arabs don't care a fig, not for their impoverished and backward own, and certainly not for strangers.
Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne division arrived in at least four choppers to secure the executive mansion, a once elegant white building in the devastated city centre, now surrounded by a vast refugee camp.
From the palace, a 60-strong squad of soldiers headed on foot to the city's general hospital, swamped with injured left behind by last week's catastrophic earthquake, which the Haitian government says killed at least 70,000.
But not everyone is happy:
"I haven't seen the Americans in the streets giving out water and food, but now they come to the palace," said Wilson Guillaume, as some of the homeless living rough in the Champ de Mars square before the palace shouted abuse.
"It's an occupation. The palace is our power, our face, our pride," said Feodor Desanges.
"Not only that, but how am I going to loot the palace with U.S. troops there?"
OK, I added that last line. I have no evidence that Feodor Desganges is a looter.
I assume he's just the usual petty, peevish, whiney, ungrateful sort of person whom journalists seem to love to find and quote in every disaster.
It's a variation on the game called "blame the rescuers."
Anyone who doesn't realize that the U.S has no intention of taking over Haiti is severely out of touch with reality and should not be taken seriously, let alone quoted, by journalists.