The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Samantha Powers, ever alert to opportunities to showcase Israel’s better qualities to the world (aka hasbara), suggested to the foreign ministry that it send a medical field hospital to Sierra Leone, to help that country combat the deadliest outbreak of Ebola the world has ever seen. Powers offered Israel a golden opportunity in the aftermath of the Gaza slaughter to show the world a kinder, gentler face.
This is precisely what Israel did in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake when it parachuted a team into the country where it stayed for two weeks, named a new baby “Israel” and promptly left–after videotaping the enterprise for suitable exploitation in hasbara efforts. I called that escapade, The Zionization of Disaster Relief.
But this time, it was not to be. Though the foreign ministry approved the project, it required the blessing of the defense ministry. Bogie Yaalon isn’t known for his humanitarian spirit and he showed it in spades this time. He refused to offer assistance to an African country absolutely bereft of resources to fight the epidemic saying:
Yaalon said it would risk infecting Israeli medical teams and the army troops that would secure them, according to Ynet. Israel’s assistance was sought in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
This further reinforces the notion of Israel and the IDF in particular being racist, favoring the lives of Israeli Jews over the lives of African epidemic victims. Of what use are Israel’s vaunted medical advances (trumpeted in hasbara campaigns the world over) if it doesn’t utilize them to help non-Israelis in need? Think about it: the IDF just murdered 2,100 Gazans, 500 children among them. Here it has a chance to mitigate some of that awful PR and it refuses. Scratch your head and wonder who’s runnin’ the ship…
Add to this that Israel has 60,000 African refugees which it treats like dirt and you don’t have a very pretty picture. The Israeli Supreme Court directed the government to close the refugee detention camp at Holot. So far it has refused. Remember all those pro-Israel advocates bragging about the rule of law and Israeli democracy? Not so much in this case.
H/t Massoud Derhally.