Israel in Haiti

I don’t agree with everything Bradley Burston says in his recent column about Israeli aid to Haiti, but I think he gets the main point right here:

For all the time that [the Israelis in Haiti] have been working, however, people far away, snug in the comfort of their laptops, have been furiously busy as well, people who are enraged to the boiling point by news reports of the Israeli rescue mission. People who see it as their mission to tell the world exactly what’s wrong with all of this.

Over the past week, the work of the Israeli medical team has become a kind of Rorschach for how people view Israel and Israelis. Most of the comment, it must be said, is supportive. Even on the part of those who cast the humanitarian misery in Gaza in contrast.

But for a shocking number of others, the bottom line is simple: Israel, and Israelis, can do no right.

I’ll admit that the Israelis are using their field hospital in Haiti to boost their image to the rest of the world. But let’s be honest: It’s sad, but PR is almost always a consideration in humanitarian situations.

But I think the important thing is that Haiti needs all the help it can get. Your opposition to the occupation or Israel’s other policies should get in the way of that.



Filed under Diplomacy, Israel-Palestine

2 responses to “Israel in Haiti

  1. Gogo

    Another really good article from Burston. I think I started telling you about my plans to bring Israeli activists to speak at AUC and some of the resistance I’ve been facing on the subject. It baffles me that people practically expect Israelis – no matter how progressive – to somehow, what, apologize for being Israeli?

    But setting aside my frustrations with these creative internal definitions of “normalization” that exist in the region (in the case of Israel and Haiti it’s more like the international community’s zealous impulse to scrutinize every move by Israel in view of the Palestine question)… I do think it’s fair to point out to people that yes, Israel is helping out in Haiti, but this should not normalize its situation. That is to say, just because it’s shown that it’s capable of behaving like any other “normal” state, should not deter any moral person from condemning its otherwise completely illegitimate and practices and drawing attention to its unsustainable foundations.

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