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When good deeds are worse than doing nothing


This is a guest post by Oliver Worth. This op-ed was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on January 24, 2010.

When sending two jumbo-jets of aid, and setting up a field hospital with hundreds of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel is met with scorn, you know something isn’t right.

While most of the mainstream American and British news networks reported extensively on Israel’s reaction to Haiti’s devastating earthquake, unfortunately we were also reminded just how entrenched some of the world’s hatred for the Jewish state really is.

While the fact that most of the Arab world donated mere pennies, or nothing at all, has escaped mention, Israel’s attempt to save lives has been labeled by many as nothing but a PR exercise. The sad truth is that the the anti-Israel hard left has done such a great job of dehumanizing Israelis, that the idea they could be doing good deeds is totally incomprehensible. It’s true -Israel’s actions in Haiti are creating good press, but that’s what happens when you do good things.

The assertion that Israel should somehow have to apologize for coming across positively is absurd, and grounded in anti-Semitism. As Kevin Myers writes for the Belfast Telegraph, “They are perhaps the only people in the world for whom extenuating circumstances are routinely cited in explanation of their charitable deeds”.

WHILE IT’S no surprise that the Islamist, anti-semitic Iranian mouth-piece Press TV accuses Israeli doctors of using the Haiti emergency to harvest organs, one should not expect to read the headline “Israel’s double standards over Haiti,” in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, except, of course, in the comparison between Israel’s efforts in Haiti and the efforts of any of Israel’s neighbours. Unfortunately it comes as no surprise to those regularly inflicted with the Guardian‘s bias that the piece is, of course, in reference to Israel’s treatment of Haitans and those it is at war with.

Israel’s commitment to saving lives in disaster zones has nothing to do with Gaza. Israel has shown its amazing commitment to the preservation of life in India, Indonesia, Kenya and many other nations, Gaza war or no Gaza war. There is simply no comparison between the response shown to a people at the mercy of horrific natural events, and a people who have effectively been at war with Israel since its birth.

It’s truly astonishing that part of the mainstream British press has found itself unable to differentiate between a helpless Haitian people in desperate need of aid, and the Palestinian people who elected a terrorist organization into power.

While no one in their right mind would deny the widespread suffering of the Gazan people, drawing any moral equivalence between Israel’s relationship with them and those trapped under rubble in Haiti is truly perverse. When the attitude toward Israel is so widely based on anti-Semitism and hate, what evidence is there to believe things would change with an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement? For peace to be possible, Israel rightly has to believe that its concessions and sacrifices would be met by more than continued hatred, that peace with the Palestinians is also peace with the world.

As things stand, Israel is the only country in the world – bar none – that has to justify giving aid and saving lives. As long as Israelis (or perhaps simply Jews) are viewed as incapable of doing anything good, in a sentiment propagated by so much of the world media, then Israel will be in no position to make concessions for peace.

No one is asking for the world to kiss Israel’s feet for acts which are in line with its own moral code, but when Israel provides more per capita than any other nation in the world and is met with scorn, and the world’s worst and wealthiest human rights abusers give nothing and are met with silence, well, something isn’t right.

The writer has been a frequent observer of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, and is now based in the United Kingdom.

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61 replies »

  1. “VSUCK: CHE??]”

    No, you’re not making yourself clear, Johnny Roo.

    Ernesto “Che” Guevara (pronounced /tʃɛɪ gəˈværə/; Spanish pronunciation: [tʃe geˈβaɾa]; June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as El Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat, military theorist, and major figure of the Cuban Revolution — and I am obviously not that person.

    So, what is it that you are trying to say to me?

  2. “Im sorry I hate sarcasm ”

    It was hopeless old Berchy – about four entries up

    You couldn’t make it up!

  3. Johnny Roo

    “Didn’t get why you didn’t respond ..at all.”

    I see — so by “CHE??” you meant “QUE??” — eh?

    Sorry pal, I have a very busy work schedule right now, and no time for buggering about with long-winded intellectual fencing matches a la you and exiledlondoner — read my post (@ January 26, 2010 at 5:37 pm) AGAIN.

    Instead of responding to your all-around-the-houses attempt to address it with two sentences, I should merely have snapped, “QUE??!”

    Oque?

  4. Vacuous: for someone with “no time”…

    You’re a coward and a bullshitter..How does that translate?

    Exile at least is respectful and engages in heartfelt debate. You’re just a wankerooney..and you see so bitter. What’s your problem? not enough oxygen?

  5. Vacuous: YOU WROTE:

    An open message to Oliver Worth
    The indisputably noble work (my sentiments on this issue) done by the Israeli medical and rescue teams in Haiti are, according to you — acts which are in line with Israel’s “own moral code”. I see where you’re coming from, but Israel’s moral code seems a little haphazardly applied, does it not?
    We have this long-running, brutal occupation of the indigenous Palestinian population — and we have periods of totally unacceptable inhumanity (I’ll leave it to others to pronounce upon war crimes and crimes against humanity) perpetrated against that indigenous population on a sickeningly regular basis.
    The question (and a highly relevant one it is too) on the lips of so many around the world, is this:
    Does Medinat Yisra’el actually have a properly functioning moral code..?

    My response:

    Vcs: “Does Medinat Yisra’el actually have a properly functioning moral code..?”
    is their any state that does “have a properly functioning moral code”, in the light of its foreign policy history (or domestic) in your book, that you would care to mention i.e to which state behavior are we comparing Israel? Or are the vast majority of states immoral but not to the same degree as Israel? If so, does that exonerate them, but not Israel, or should all be condemned equally? If all should be condemned equally, why single out Israel at all?
    I am not suggesting that state behavior should not be evaluated against some moral yardstick but it is a morally ambiguous, to say the least, not to be even-handed in the apportioning of criticism. To blame Israel for Gaza can only make sense if measured against other state and non state actor behavior that never contravenes the principles you accuse Israel of contravening.
    In addition, does it make sense to condemn a state for its action, even if those actions are patently good, merely because it may have committed acts that are bad? if so, would it not mean that few states, if any, should ever be recognised as doing good?

    WHAT HAVE I MISUNDERSTOOD RE YOUR FIRST AND LAST LINES?
    YOU SEEM TO THINK THAT ISREL’S ACTIONS TOWARDS THE PALESTINIANS IMPLY IT HAS NO MORAL CODE WHATSOEVER. THE IMPLICATION BEING THAT THE “INDISUTABLY NOBLE WORK” IT IS DOING IN HAITI IS SOME KIND OF ABERRATION – TOTALLY UNREALTED TO A MORAL CODE.

    ALL WANKEROONY STUFF – FOR A REAL INTELLECTUAL LIKE YOU, VACUOUS. NO??

  6. WHAT HAVE I MISUNDERSTOOD RE YOUR FIRST AND LAST LINES?
    YOU SEEM TO THINK THAT ISREL’S ACTIONS TOWARDS THE PALESTINIANS IMPLY IT HAS NO MORAL CODE WHATSOEVER. THE IMPLICATION BEING THAT THE “INDISUTABLY NOBLE WORK” IT IS DOING IN HAITI IS SOME KIND OF ABERRATION – TOTALLY UNREALTED TO A MORAL CODE.

    ALL WANKEROONY STUFF – FOR A REAL INTELLECTUAL LIKE YOU, VACUOUS. NO??

    Get a grip now, Johnny Roo — and try to cool off a little. I implied no such thing. In fact, dear boy — you’re making it up as you go along.

    You’re far from stupid, so — read my post (@ January 26, 2010 at 5:37 pm) again — and this time try to apply yourself to the comment itself.

    Back to work now — on a muddy, dusty, shit-hole of a building site. You’ve got 6 hours to compose yourself and return with a proper comment based on what I actually wrote.

    Toda — Boker Tov.

  7. Vacuous: I did. Jusdt don’t get it. Have a bit of compassion and explain yourself…

    What’s your obsession with Hebrew? You Israeli? Jewish?..or you just like talking in tongues?

  8. Just popped into the office for lunch and I see you have cooled off a little.

    Good. Now before I finish work, perhaps you can apply yourself properly to my comment of January 26, 2010 at 5:37 pm?

    You don’t like me using the occasional Hebrew phrase? Okay — suit yourself, you miserable old git.

    Buenas tardes.

  9. Vacuum: I’ve read all your fine words. Can’t make head nor tail of ’em. Your too smart for me…

    …and you talk in tongues, to boot.

    I love the Hebrew but just wondered wondered how come the persistence with it? You’re just very fond of it? You think it’s being polite?

    “miserable old git”. Now, now! I’m sure I’m young enough to be your son. Certainly you confuse me with your turn of phrase and cleverness…sophistication..

  10. ExiledfromLondon:

    I couldn’t post a reply(for some reason)to your last on our usual article The ugliest bitch etc), so hope you get this:

    Exiled: I appreciate your response.

    Let me start by clarifying my position hitherto:

    I have not suggested that one ignores any Arab or Moslem narrative. It is a nonsense – in trying to find a away of making both sides find a path to peace – NOT to try and understand BOTH side’s view of the conflict.

    I have not suggested one side or the other is right or wrong either, actually. Nationalism, like so many “isms”, is not always easy to adhere to lock stock and very smoking barrel, especially for good, secular middle class liberal guys like me…

    Point I was trying to make was simply that in order to find a way forward, there is no substitute for genuinely understanding what makes the position of each side mutually exclusive..and see what, therefore, has to change or be modified, to prize open the door that is – right now – so firmly shut.

    I took issue with your position re the Law primarilly because I think it tends to push down the priorities on the list of factors to grapple with (to find a way forward) and the cries to obey the Law dont seem to take cognizance of why the Law may have been, and continues to be, disobeyed in the first place (if indeed it is or has been..etc…etc..).

    One final thing: I think you are, if you pardon the expression, fundamentally wrong about the the history of of fundamentalism. The Mufti made the Palestinian Arab nationalism into a religious crusade…and he made killing of Jews per se acceptable in the name of this crusade. The roots of this marriage of Islamism and anti-Jewishness, therefore, runs deep…and makes the finding of any way forward, therefore, that much more intractable.

    I think this notion that fundamentalism is the exclusive result of recent Western and Israeli actions is false. Islamism has become more fanatical, as the secularist West has reasserted its influence in Moslem regions…particularly since the 19th century. Jews enjoyed the possibilities to assimilate that this rise in influence afforded them and fucked the moslems off accordingly. It was not just anger at Jews, of course, but anyone who threatened their position of supremacy.

    In any event, the fact is that Israel exists. It is likely a nuclear power. It will not shuttle off this mortal coil without a fight. It will also not allow Jews to be persecuted as long as it continues to exist. This is not a threat. It is a promise that I have no doubt any Jew – Zionist, self hating or even transgender..would likely recognise as real – not to mention any keen observer of politics of any religious persuasion. This, of course, means that it wont give up land without serious assurances; and it will protect its citizenry robustly (to put it mildly).

    So, though there are one hell of a lot of sympathisers – deliberate or by default – with Islamic fundamentalism – much of whose sympathy is grounded in either anti Americanism , archaic and transmogrified Leftism, snivelling, wet, Liberalism..mere abject, milk-livered, fear of the nutters; perfidious albion-like political opportunism; or romantic, out-erotic fantasists who love the flowing white robes/ guns and little dark boys in the sand dune images the Levant (Vcs, perhaps?) – Israel, for one, knows its enemy and won’t shirk what it takes to defend itself.

    So, my advice to the world – for the pathetic little it matters – is to take note: Islam will not be allowed to spin everyone, all of the time, to help push the case for allowing it to have its way – according to its nutter, Islamic strictures. The propaganda will fall on deaf ears when it comes to this state. And it is with this state that the Moslems will have to negotiate.

    If the Moslems are smart they will genuinely start to accept that they have seriously to compromise and take very substantive steps to placate Israel. Not the other way around, I’m afraid. Without Israel being convinced the nutters will be held at bay, I repeat: NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE. The more the West avoids this realisation..and indulges all the various reasons for screaming blue murder at Israel and..yes..the Jews…;the more cries there are for the US to abandon Israel; and the more talk there is re FORCING Israel into a corner to meet Molsem demands…..the closer the cataclysm, that most of us want to avoid, becomes. Love it or hate it, this is simply how it is.

    Let us make both sides WANT to bey a Law that is not thoroughly politicised and that can inspire every one of us.