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.