In the annals of Israeli self-promotion this may not be the worst, but perhaps the least of the worst: it’s BAD. In fact nauseating. One of my hasbarist commenters noted I should be ashamed because I focus on the triviality of settler violence when the people of Haiti are in peril. He certainly didn’t expect me to publicize Israel’s sterling response to Haitian suffering, which he did in his comment. No, not at all.
Now comes this from Ynetnews (h/t Rupa Shah):
…The prime minister said that “the moment the dimensions of the disaster became known, I instructed the immediate deployment of an aid delegation on behalf of the State of Israel, which has already reached the place.
“This includes supplies, medication, doctors, a field hospital, an x-ray machine and many other vital things. This is the true heritage of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. This act joins similar action we have taken in the past in Mexico, Kenya, and Turkey. We may be a small country, but we are a country with a big heart. This is the expression of Jewish ethics and heritage – to help others.
He means, Israel helps others (cf. black people) when they are several thousand miles away and in danger of extinction. When they’re Ethiopian children refused a place in kindergarten in Petah Tikva…not so much. Or Darfuris desperate to flee civil war in their homeland–not so much (they’re expelled). Or foreign workers abused by Israeli employers–not so much.
Anyone who observes the Israeli political elite in action knows they are tone deaf. But this sure takes the cake for self-aggrandizement and moral puffery.
Akiva Eldar has it precisely right:
…The remarkable identification with the victims of the terrible tragedy in distant Haiti only underscores the indifference to the ongoing suffering of the people of Gaza. Only a little more than an hour’s drive from the offices of Israel’s major newspapers, 1.5 million people have been besieged on a desert island for two and a half years. Who cares that 80 percent of the men, women and children living in such proximity to us have fallen under the poverty line? How many Israelis know that half of all Gazans are dependent on charity, that Operation Cast Lead created hundreds of amputees, that raw sewage flows from the streets into the sea?
The Israeli newspaper reader knows about the baby pulled from the wreckage in Port-au-Prince. Few have heard about the infants who sleep in the ruins of their families’ homes in Gaza.
…A few days before Israeli physicians rushed to save the lives of injured Haitians, the authorities at the Erez checkpoint prevented 17 people from passing through in order to get to a Ramallah hospital for urgent corneal transplant surgery. Perhaps they voted for Hamas. At the same time that Israeli psychologists are treating Haiti’s orphans with devotion, Israeli inspectors are making sure no one is attempting to plant a doll, a notebook or a bar of chocolate in a container bringing essential goods into Gaza.
…Even the images of our excellent doctors in Haiti cannot blur our ugly face in the Strip.
I urge you to contribute to the American Jewish World Service Haiti Relief Fund (or any charity of your choice). Unlike Bibi, AJWS does good work day in and day out in Haiti and elsewhere, and doesn’t do so for ulterior motives.