38 thoughts on “Israeli Defense Minister Refuses U.S. Request for Field Hospital to Aid Ebola Fight – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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    1. @ Fred: No, Fred. Israel is bad if it has ulterior political motives for its supposed humanitarian efforts. This government doesn’t do anything for purely altruistic reasons. That’s why it’s hated so strongly by so many.

      1. While Israel’s non-participation in the Ebola project is regrettable, I would remind you and your readers that in international relations most countries base their decisions on “realism” which consists of a cost benefit analysis of national interests. I am not being cynical, but no country does anything purely for “altruism” . I think you would be hard pressed to find examples of such. Any act that any country does, one can always find self-serving reasons. Therefore I would challenge the correlation you assert between how much a country is “hated” and its level of so-called altruism.
        Also, as you know, using Israelis as sources for your information does no more to guarantee its voracity, than, say, using an American to verify facts about the United States. It’s hit or miss like anything else, since everybody has a political agenda.

        1. @ Jeff Shames: Many countries engage in acts which are purely, or almost purely altruistic. Did the King of Denmark & all his subjects risk their lives to save Jews out of “realist” motivation? I could run down a long list of other national initiatives that were altruistic. In short, give it up.

  1. Israel is “racist” because she won’t send a team to combat Ebola in Africa? Correct me if I’m wrong, when she sent a medical field hospital to Haiti, (whose population is also black), you not only claimed it was done for purposes of hasbara, but also that the help it provided wasn’t really the kind of help that was needed – despite the wide praise she garnered from the Haitians about it being EXACTLY what was needed. Whatever Israel does, you find something to cavil about. No doubt if Israel had sent a medical team, you would, as usual, have found something spiteful to say about that too.

    1. @ Nicki: You seem to forget that my Haiti post was actually based on the criticism of the Israeli operation by a Hadassah doctor who was a former member of the Israeli medical teams who perfomred these services. So if you have a problem stop focusing on me. I always offer Israelis when I can as sources for my posts since they are much less impeachable. So go argue with him instead of taking out your vitriol on me.

  2. Very easy for Richard to criticize Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon for his decision not to send aid workers to Africa after considering the health risks to Israeli aid workers and their military escorts.
    Yaalon’s job as Defense Minister is to order young men to fight and die for their country. Isn’t that enough? Doesn’t he have enough on his conscience?

    So easy to sit in Seattle and criticize. It’s not as if Richard was in Africa trying to help the Ebola victims himself.

  3. Now those Jews who think that nobody cares about us can take heart….When there is a highly infectious disease outbreak in failed states, the UN calls the Jewish State right away! Okay, they demand we not defend ourselves from homicidal maniacs, but they do know our phone number when there is a job that they are afraid to tackle themselves!

    1. [comment deleted–the comment threads are not a cheering section. This isn’t a soccer match. Make comments substantive & on topic.]

    2. silene: “When there is a highly infectious disease outbreak in failed states, the UN calls the Jewish State right away! ”

      Ahem. The very first sentence of this article points out that this was suggested to Israel by the AMERICAN ambassador to the United Nations, not by any UN official.

      While I have no doubt that the UN would welcome any help from anybody – no matter how cynical their motive – in the fight against Ebola it still remains true that your claim is incorrect.

      The AMERICANS – ever cynical – asked the Israeli, and the Israelis – ever venal – said “no, thanks”.

      No UN involvement at all, apparently, just a side deal between two wheeler-dealers.

      1. @Or

        The UN made the request as well, according to YNET.news.

        “The request was lodged by the UN and US, and was passed onto Israel though US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and Ron Prosor, Israel’s envoy.”

        1. @ Fred: Not exactly. The U.S. ambassador was the person who directly contacted Israel’s ambassador. If the UN was involved it wasn’t represented at this meeting. It was only the U.S. & Israel. And Israel didn’t turn down the UN. It turned down the U.S.

  4. To be fair, Israel has sent some medical supplies.
    The reason for not wanting to send a field hospital ?
    Maybe they didn’t want to steal the spotlight the help Cuba
    has been sending ? Maybe more should be said in the MSM about
    Cuba’s efforts ?
    Cuba to Send 300 More Medical Staff to Combat Ebola | News …
    http://www.telesurtv.net/…/Cuba-to-Send-300-More-Medical-Staff-to-Combat- Ebola-…
    6 days ago … With a staff of over 460 Ebola specialists, Cuba will by far have the largest foreign medical team combating the disease in West Africa.

  5. RS says: “Here it has a chance to mitigate some of that awful PR and it refuses”. But you are too clever to be fooled, right? That would just be dismissed as Ebola washing

  6. Israel’s stance on not providing substantial assistance in the global fight against Ebola is of a piece with its general miserable performance as far as foreign aid is concerned:

    “Along with Mexico and Chile, Israel gives the least as a percentage of gross national income among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Israel gives one-tenth of the U.N.’s target rate, lagging behind Turkey, Poland, Slovakia and even Greece during its debt crisis, according to OECD data.
    On an individual basis, Israelis are also less likely to send donations abroad compared with citizens of most European countries and the U.S., according to a study by Hebrew University’s Center for the Study of Philanthropy in Israel. Over the last decade, 0.1% of individual charitable funds raised in Israel went to international relief, compared with 48% in Belgium, 13% in Italy and 5% in the U.S.”

    The UN target rate is o.7 % of Gross National Income

    Read more: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun/08/world/la-fg-israel-foreign-aid-20130609

    1. It is quite difficult to find out what Israel provides in foreign aid. As soon as you try to google on it you get endless entries about US aid to Israel (about 3 billion dollars a year). Also, the sum is so miserly that it doesn’t make the list of the 23 countries ranked by wikipedia in terms of their contribution to foreign aid. However, according to the Los Angeles Times article referred to above Israel gives 1/10 of the UN target of 0.7% of Gross National Income. Israel’s GNI is 254 billion (PPP) dollars. ) 0.7 % of that is about 1.8 billion dollar. One tenth of that is 180 million dollars. To put this into perspective: Denmark which has a comparable population figure and a comparable national income provides 2,720 million dollars in foreign aid.

      Gaza needs according to the Palestinian Authority about 4 billion dollars from the international community to rebuild what was smashed to smithereens in the wanton destruction recently inflicted on it by Israel. So seen in that light Israel’s contribution to foreign aid is heavily negative.

      1. Mexico need her pesos to fight narco-terrorism, corruption and poverty.
        Chile doesn’t have to prop up a huge army to defend herself against hostile neighbors.

        1. Fred
          Now Israel’s bad global citizenship in foreign aid matters is explained, and excused for, by referring to Israel’s bad global citizenship in matters of war and peace. If all that military hardware is necessary it is because its policies make it not only a strategic liability to the US but to itself. Even such a conservative fellow as Anthony Cordesman, inter alia a former director of intelligence assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defence, and now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, felt compelled to point this out:

”…the depth of America’s moral commitment does not justify or excuse actions by an Israeli government that unnecessarily make Israel a strategic liability when it should remain an asset. It does not mean that the United States should extend support to an Israeli government when that government fails to credibly pursue peace with its neighbors. It does not mean that the United States has the slightest interest in supporting Israeli settlements in the West Bank, or that the United States should take a hard-line position on Jerusalem that would effectively make it a Jewish rather than a mixed city. It does not mean that the United States should be passive when Israel makes a series of major strategic blunders–such as persisting in the strategic bombing of Lebanon during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, escalating its attack on Gaza long after it had achieved its key objectives, embarrassing the U.S. president by announcing the expansion of Israeli building programs in east Jerusalem at a critical moment in U.S. efforts to put Israeli-Palestinian peace talks back on track, or sending commandos to seize a Turkish ship in a horribly mismanaged effort to halt the “peace flotilla” going to Gaza.
It is time Israel realized that it has obligations to the United States, as well as the United States to Israel, and that it become far more careful about the extent to which it test the limits of U.S. patience and exploits the support of American Jews. This does not mean taking a single action that undercuts Israeli security, but it does mean realizing that Israel should show enough discretion to reflect the fact that it is a tertiary U.S. strategic interest in a complex and demanding world.
Israel’s government should act on the understanding that the long-term nature of the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship will depend on Israel clearly and actively seeking peace with the Palestinians—the kind of peace that is in Israel’s own strategic interests.”
          Read more:


  7. Israel sent a huge mission to the Philippines and even gave some supply to Pakistan in the past.
    Israel doesn’t have any special expertise for treating Ebola!!

    1. @ Ariel: That’s nonsense. Israel has 60,000 African refugees and it’s right next door to North Africa. If its medical profession hasn’t created a plan to deal with Ebola in Israel it should be criticized for negligence.

      1. The distinction between a plan to deal with Ebola if it ever reach Israel and the ability to send a meaningful support is very clear. You know it very well but play dumb so you blame Israel for racism.
        Of course you neglected Israel’s Support in the Philippines last year, when there was no need for “Hasbara Credit”.
        And obviously you have failed to mention Israel sent support – http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4573413,00.html

        1. Ariel: Israel has everything in place to provide “meaningful support” to Liberia & Sierra Leone. The defense ministry chooses not to do so. This refusal is in part of finger in the eye by Yaalon to the U.S., & UN; and secondarily a bit of racism telling the world that Israel wants nothing to do with Ebola (let Africans suffer or die, it’s none of our problem).

  8. Before condemning Israel why don’t you offer to go and treat the Ebola patients. Maybe you can organize some doctors from Seattle as well as the Doctors Without Borders to volunteer their services.

    1. @ gj: I’m neither a doctor nor a humanitarian aid worker. I’m a blogger. Israel, on the other hand, has a well-respected reputation for humanitarian relief in the Third World. Israel will be the place where I place blame for this failure. Not on myself. THough I’m sorry to disappoint you.

  9. Will you now update your post with the new information that the aid to the african will now come from the office of foreign foreign affairs?
    If as all, the issue here is not about altruism but about the money, which is not found in abundance in the defense ministry but there is enough in the office of foreign affairs.

    1. @ Nimrod Ron: Are you arguing seriously that the defense ministry hasn’t enough funds to send a medical team to Africa? You couldn’t possibly be serious could you? Are you aware of the military budget?

      As for the change of heart in the government, what you ignore is that it is precisely websites like this ridiculing Israel for its obtuseness that has made it change its mind. So rather than wax cynical about me, you should congratulate me for goading Israel into doing the right thing. It’s even possible that a few of the pro-Israel readers of this blog noted the black eye this refusal was giving Israel. If that’s the case, then there is a good reason to have such readers, even though that isn’t always so obvious.

    1. @ Ariel: When a country does something because it is getting bad press, that isn’t exactly altruism. It’s more like a cynical calculation that action will cost the country less than refusal to act.

      But let’s see how long the team stays in Africa and how much help it offers. If/when news comes of the first baby named “Israel” as a result of this, then I will shrey about the hasbara apparatus.

      Let’s also note that Ariel quotes Arutz 7, settler media. Tells you where his prejudices lie.

      1. Richard – You give yourself a lot of credit if you think your website is the reason for a change. If anyone in the government even get to read it, they most defiantly dismiss you as lunatic who will find the negativity in anything the Israeli government does.
        Regardless, you should update your blog to say a mission is being said, and if you think it will help the rating of your blog, you can claim credit for influencing Israel.

        1. @ Ariel: If any readers here were to read a website you published they’d no doubt dismiss you as a lunatic.

          In fact, the IDF censor and various Israeli officials have publicly acknowledged my blog & I know from reviewing my site stats that Israeli ministry officials read it regularly. And those are the visits that are public, and not done anonymously. If you think being negative about what the “Israeli government does” constitutes lunacy, then it’s you who’s the lunatic.

          you should update your blog to say a mission is being said

          ???? I try to give commenters for whom English is not their first language a break & interpret what I think they meant to mean. But even I can’t parse this one!

          1. “A mission is being sent”- will you update to tell readers it is being sent?

            And… Nice job putting words in my mouth. I didn’t say you might be a lunatic bc you write negativity about israel but bc you think someone will pay attention to a blogger that keep bringing up nonsense blames against Israel. (You might have a good point every blue moon but even broken clock shows the right time twice a day).

          2. @ Ariel: I’m touched that you think I should be a mouthpiece for Israel hasbara. At least three commenters including you have noted the aid mission sent by the MFA. There is absolutely not need for me to add to it. If readers don’t know about the change of plan it’s because they haven’t bothered to read your (collective hasbara) comments.

            OK, we’re done in this thread. No further comments for you.

            As for putting words in your mouth–I’ll put these words that came out of your mouth back where they belong. They show you said precisely what I claimed you said about me:

            they most defiantly dismiss you as lunatic who will find the negativity in anything the Israeli government does.

            If you actually knew what anyone in an official position in Israel thought about my blog I’d immediately go into shock. You know gornisht fun gornisht.

  10. [comment deleted: thanks for the hasbara reminders but you’re now the fourth commenter to pimp this project which constitutes boring repetition, a violation of the comment rules.]

    1. @ James Enterly: Many nations with advanced medical/humanitarian relief capabilities like the U.S. are sending teams. Israel has sent such teams in the past to similar disaster zones. The Czech Republic is a hasbara red herring.

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