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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Filthy Jewish Blood

Here's a purely hypothetical scenario:

You are a soldier on a battlefield, and find yourself locked in hand-to-hand combat with an enemy soldier.  During the struggle you manage to wound him badly, rendering him unconscious and in critical condition.  Now that he is no longer a threat to you, his status changes such that you are now obligated to try to treat his wounds as you would any wounded soldier. 

You and your comrades manage to stabilize him and carry him on a stretcher to a mobile surgical unit (think M.A.S.H.) where the triage team quickly determines that he needs emergency surgery if he is going to survive. But he has already lost a lot of blood and the surgery will require several units of his blood type. A glance at his dog tag reveals that he has AB negative blood; the rarest blood type in the world, and the surgical unit doesn't have any on hand. 

A quick poll of the personnel in the area turns up an ironic surprise; you are the only person with the enemy soldier's blood type.  So you do as you're told; even though less than an hour ago this man was trying to kill you (in fairness, you were trying to kill him too!), you sit down, roll up your sleeve and allow the nurse to start taking your blood to be used during the surgery. 

Just as the nurse is is starting to fill the first bag of blood, the enemy soldier (who has been stretched out unconscious in the bed next to yours) wakes up, sees you hooked up to the blood transfusion equipment and begins screaming that he won't accept your blood.  He calls your blood 'filthy' and 'unclean' and swears that he would "rather die than accept the blood of apes and pigs".

At this point you:

A)  Stop the nurse from taking your blood and tell her that you want to grant the enemy's wish and let him die.

B)  Yell back at the enemy soldier that he doesn't have a choice and that once he's under general anesthesia the doctors are going to replace all his blood with 'filthy' blood from you and your comrades!

C)  Ignore the raving enemy soldier and let the medical staff knock him out and take your blood for the operation.

D) Ask the medical staff to try to stabilize him with fluids (if possible) long enough to make a request to the enemy troops to send over typed blood from one of his countrymen.

E) Offer another suggestion of your own.

I'm interested to know how you would act in this hypothetical situation... but I want to make it clear that this is far from hypothetical.

There have been many natural disasters in the Muslim world over the past few decades where Israel has offered to provide medical supplies, emergency personnel and... blood.  This last bit has always been a sticking point.  You see, Jewish blood is considered unacceptable by the people we are supposed to be trying to make peace with.  It is, according to them, 'filthy'.

The New York times almost - but not quite - made reference to this seldom discussed fact in the 19th paragraph of an article.  Here, read the following and tell me if you spot it:

"Israel sent in [to Gaza] some 40 trucks of humanitarian relief, including blood from Jordan and medicine. Egypt opened its border with Gaza to some similar aid and to allow some of the wounded through"

Did you catch it? Why would Israel need to send blood from Jordan?  We never have a huge surplus of blood, but we always have some on hand!  Is Jordan's medical establishment better prepared than Israel's???  And why would Egypt need to send 'similar aid'?  If Israel is controlling everything going in and out of Gaza right now, why are we suddenly talking about sending trucks of our own humanitarian aid... but blood from Jordan and Egypt?

The truth is, just as Israel has had to come to terms with a Red Diamond as its medical symbol abroad (since the International Red Cross made it clear that the Red Star of David is offensive to too much of the world), we have also somehow had to make peace with the fact that even our blood is considered sub-human and filthy by the very people with whom we are supposed to be making peace!

So I'm asking you... what would you do if you were that hypothetical soldier in the scenario above?  And what would you do if you were Israel today, being told that yes, we'll accept medical supplies and humanitarian aid from you... but not your filthy blood. 

Would you really go to the Arab Red Crescent Society of Jordan and ask them to lend you some blood?

Seriously, how do you make peace with people who don't even consider you human?

Posted by David Bogner on December 30, 2008 | Permalink


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I'd choose A

and we should be publicizing this stuff 24x7
countering their propaganda and lies with the truth - so that people will be educated about what really goes on

Posted by: mata hari | Dec 30, 2008 6:14:48 PM

Would you really go to the Arab Red Crescent Society of Jordan and ask them to lend you some blood?

Pointless. If he needs a transfusion of whole blood that bad, there wouldn't be time to get it from anywhere but local stocks.

B) Yell back at the enemy soldier that he doesn't have a choice and that once he's under general anesthesia the doctors are going to replace all his blood with 'filthy' blood from you and your comrades!

Leo can speak to the medical ethics side of this better than any of us, but I imagine that 'C' is what the medical staff would do anyway, so you might as well go along.

Seriously, how do you make peace with people who don't even consider you human?

You can't.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Dec 30, 2008 6:28:49 PM

Oh, I would offer several suggestions of my own, but I don't think a family-oriented blog is the place to recount them. :)

Posted by: psachya | Dec 30, 2008 6:47:48 PM

I say "C" with my brain but "A" with my heart. I am so very tired of hearing CNN blast Israel for protecting herself, listing the number of "civilian" casualties, going into homes with children and showing how they have to try to protect themselves from the attacks. Very tiresome.
Best of luck and our support from here in PA.

Posted by: Terri in PA | Dec 30, 2008 6:49:16 PM

There was a Star Trek episode (TNG) that dealt with exactly this scenario. (Romulan doesn't want to take blood from a Klingon, who's not too thrilled to be giving it to him in the first place.)

Posted by: Nachum | Dec 30, 2008 6:57:07 PM

Maybe that's the answer to all of our problems. If we can just drain their blood and replace it with ours they might become human!

I would:
B) Yell back at the enemy soldier that he doesn't have a choice and that once he's under general anesthesia the doctors are going to replace all his blood with 'filthy' blood from you and your comrades! And that while he's under, we're going to have a few dogs piss on him for purification purposes.

Deep down I really prefer "A" because saving this guy's life with our blood is only going to cause more Jewish blood to be shed when he is released from an Israeli prison in a gesture of peace by a traitorous politician.

Posted by: Tehillah | Dec 30, 2008 7:54:46 PM

If we're giving the enemies our blood, why should we donate?

Posted by: Batya | Dec 30, 2008 8:20:54 PM

My wife was reading this to me and I was shouting "let him have his wish" before she read your choices. I know this isn’t the politically correct answer. If a hypothetical guy like that was saved and released he would most likely try to kill someone else, so saving him could cost someone else’s life. If he is like a rabid dog or like an ox that gores, then the safety of others has to be considered.
If this hypothetical bad guy was a real problem for the staff maybe one of the nurses could threaten to contaminate him with menstrual blood before he dies since there would likely not be any pork around to contaminate him with as he dies. The contamination threats may or may not turn him around but at this point I have better things to do like rejoin my unit in the field than trying to hypothetically rehabilitate him.

Posted by: Michael Hessler | Dec 30, 2008 8:32:06 PM

Hey Trep. I'd say A) too, although B) is really tempting since he'd have to live with that for the rest of his life. 2 pints of Kramer in him and all that.

Of course suggestion E) would be to let him lie there, bleed out and get on with the business of sending some more of his buddies to join him with Allah. This is not a people that's going to learn by the example of Israeli's treating them better than they would treat an Israeli. An Israeli there would be subject to a lynch mob and likely bodily desecration. There is a war on. War is ugly business. The only reason to keep someone like that alive is if he has intel that will put an end to this war faster by punching the tickets of as many Hamasniks as possible.

Heartless? Sure, but we aren't dealing with an enemy that would give a rats ass about you or me. They would want you or me dead, wounds and all. Send em to 'Paradise' or let them go there.

Posted by: Josh K | Dec 30, 2008 8:42:05 PM

I'd say A for sure. There are enough Jews in need of blood to whom I'd be more than happy to donate (if I could)... so if the enemy doesn't want my blood... let him resolve his own issues or DIE.

Honestly, I kind of like Josh K's suggestion E. It's one thing to take care of children/civilians who are injured, and totally different to drag your enemies into your country and spend scarce and valuable resources on them, that could do so much good elsewhere.

Posted by: Irina | Dec 30, 2008 9:06:18 PM

Oh and reciprocity isn't even an issue here, clearly, so still less reason to help out the people who WILL come back and try to kill you.

Posted by: Irina | Dec 30, 2008 9:07:31 PM

Ethically speaking, a patient who has his faculties intact can refuse any treatment. Any attempt at treatment against the wishes of the patient (even if it is for his own good) is considered assault.
The most obvious parallel is Jehovah's Witnesses who have a religious belief that prevents them from receiving any blood products. There are techniques to over come this but usually are not appropriate for a severe trauma setting.
My choice is this:
(Pardon my expletives)
I'd tell the pustule on the derriere of humanity that he's getting my blood whether he likes it or not. It just might make a mensch out of him. (the #@$%-er can sue me later).

Posted by: QuietusLeo | Dec 30, 2008 9:35:08 PM

No question at all. You let the doctors and nurses do their job. Ethically there is no other choice.

Posted by: David Bailey | Dec 30, 2008 9:38:38 PM

I choose A. Tell him that he will die without your blood, and let it be his choice.

If he'd rather die than have your blood, let him have his wish.

Posted by: triLcat | Dec 30, 2008 9:56:31 PM


Posted by: Mongrel | Dec 30, 2008 10:07:58 PM

i would defer to the medical team. it would be their decision.

(if i had to go with my gut i would tell him to take a hike, he didn't deserve my heilige jewish blood - but these things are always more complicated if you add emotion into it)

Posted by: Hadassah | Dec 30, 2008 10:24:42 PM

I'd also refer to the medical staff; the easy way out to avoid choosing even if the "knock him out" part in C is tempting.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Dec 30, 2008 10:46:21 PM

I had a discussion, not exactly like this but similar with my wife. I donate blood and platelets often. She questions this, saying that "bad" people may get my blood. I always point out, it's ultimately Hashem who figures out who gets my blood. It's not up to me to judge if they are a good or bad person, if they deserve it or not.

Sure, it your scenario it's not "double blind" as in most situations where neither the donor nor recipient know who the other is, but still, ultimately, it's Hashem, or Allah, or whoever one recognizes as the higher authority who decides who ultimately gives and who receives. Of course it may be hard to explain that to a confined and pissed off POW/enemy combatant. So I'd just sit quietly and let the medical team and Hashem work it out.

As for your other questions, that's way above my pay level. :-/

Thinking of and praying for all of you over there!

Posted by: JDMDad | Dec 30, 2008 11:07:12 PM

I feel that as a Jew I should be compelled to co-operate as far as possible towards the goal of saving another's life (therefore C)

Do I think we can make peace with those who refuse our blood? No

Posted by: Bryan | Dec 30, 2008 11:16:29 PM

>>> Seriously, how do you make peace with people who don't even consider you human?
>> You can't.

I agree - you can't. So perhaps we should concentrate on making them see us as human beings?

Posted by: Israeli Blogger | Dec 30, 2008 11:16:57 PM

While it would be tempting to request blood from Jordan, and to patiently wait for several days while it was en-route, I would be more tempted to bash him over the head with a tent-peg to shut him up, then continue the transfusion.

I would really like to make sure that all Arabic speakers in the Bay Area know that blood transfusions will give them the blood of Jews and pork-eaters.
It might impact severely on the taxi drivers - either they would drive much more carefully, or we'd end up with many more Sikhs. Both of which would be good results.

Posted by: At The Back of the Hill | Dec 30, 2008 11:48:54 PM

A A A A A A A A A A A and again: A

I am fed up with all that nonsense. If they love to be martyrs, please help them become one.

Posted by: John | Dec 31, 2008 12:30:21 AM

C: Let the medical staff make the medical decisions.

Of general interest, though, is the depth of feeling of the Arabs. Or is it all Muslims?

This needs to be documented. Some people see the Arab-Israeli dispute as racial. This should tell them who the racists are. But it needs to be documented first. Right now, it seems all too deniable.

Posted by: Fred | Dec 31, 2008 1:58:38 AM

Snopes offers some support but they're still a bit skeptical. Documentation is everything.

Posted by: Fred | Dec 31, 2008 2:03:04 AM

And there are some Jews who have similar feelings. But this is not Halacha for Jews. Is it a religious ruling for Muslims? Or widely believed?

Posted by: Fred | Dec 31, 2008 2:05:34 AM

We are commanded to remember what Amalek did to us and destroy him. I'd kill the SOB.

Posted by: Marsha in Englewood | Dec 31, 2008 4:17:31 AM

Screw him. Give him his wish and let him die.

And stop sending medical (or any other kind of) aid to the Pals.

Oh, and disconnect Gaza from the Israeli electrical grid.

They hate Israel and want to see all Jews dead or enslaved. Let them accept the consequences of their actions and beliefs.

Posted by: Ephraim | Dec 31, 2008 6:26:56 AM

It's certainly interesting to see the foam of hatred this blog has raised. If anyone referred to Jews the way you all are referring to Palestinians, you'd be shrieking "Antisemitism" in a microsecond.

By the way, if I get any hate mail as a result of this comment, there will be a lawsuit.

Posted by: Jimmy Havok | Dec 31, 2008 12:05:20 PM

Here comes the first one, Havok. The hatred for Palestinians is caused by the Pal's unceasing attempts to kill as many Jews as possible. The opposite has not been true, Israel has been very restrained considering the circumstances. Too restrained, IMO.

Big talker, ain't ya?

Posted by: Karl Newman | Dec 31, 2008 3:24:30 PM

I would love to know how some rabbis would answer this question.

We can live the way God has told us to live then He will make things happen. That's what I think.

Thank you for letting the world know how those idiots are thinking. It might start to sink in.

Posted by: Alice | Dec 31, 2008 4:17:36 PM

IRL, I'd probably let the medical team decide, but in my fantasy scenario, A.

Posted by: Chantal | Dec 31, 2008 4:22:26 PM

Sorry, Jimmy, but turning the other cheek is not a Jewish concept, it's a Christian one. And be that as it may, Israel finally ran out of cheeks.As Maria says at the end of West Side Story when Chino has killed Tony "Well, I can kill too now, because now I have hate". This hate has been brewing for a long time. We've tried peace many, many times. And have shown restraint far beyond what any civilized country would tolerate when being constantly attacked FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN EXISTING.So take your self righteous threats somewhere else.

Posted by: Marsha in Englewood | Dec 31, 2008 5:46:08 PM

I guess Jimmy would sue the Palestinians. That'll show em.

Posted by: Alice | Dec 31, 2008 8:26:44 PM

I would let the f****er die! This man is my enemy and tried to kill me. I have no obligation to save his life. I would rather give my blood to a comrade that needs it, than to an enemy who believes it filthy and refuses it. In war people die. Wasn't it Patton who said that the way to win a war is not to die for your country but to make the other poor sucker die for his?

As far as humanitarian aid? You're joking, right? Let them starve. These are the same people who elected Hamas and celebrate with candy every time an Israeli/Jew is killed in a terror attack. I have absolutely no compassion for them. Am I angry? You bet! I am fed up with Israelis and Jews being held to a hypocritical higher standard while our enemies are allowed to wholesale massacre us.

Conversely, I'm a Jew and as such my religion tells me that I must be compassionate. Even to my enemy. I find that hard to reconcile.

Posted by: Allan | Dec 31, 2008 8:34:40 PM

crap; I've been commenting on, and linking to, a blog written by a *subhuman* for two years?!

I guess it's true what they say about monkeys and typewriters.

As for me, I wish to be counted among the "filthy blood" types, then, if that's the way they're going to be about it. Although I must suggest that the Arab Muslims "get with it" and refer to Jews as "mudbloods," which is the more au courant term.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Dec 31, 2008 8:40:10 PM

Just out of curiosity, but aside from the words "from Jordan" in the NY Times article, upon which this post is based, has anyone found a more direct source saying that the Gazans would not accept blood that originated in Israel?

Posted by: Yaakov | Dec 31, 2008 10:18:18 PM

Ok - my first thought was A, though I understand each of the other options. Then I decided I'd do something else:

1. I'd tell him, ok - we have "special" non-Jewish, non-heathen, non-infidel blood that will save his life and we are just acting as messengers of Allah so that he'll get better and live to kill another day.

2. Then I'd do the transfusion and give him extra vitamin pills to make sure he gets better real quick.

3. Then - when he gets better - I'd arrest him and throw him in jail for attempted murder and whatever else I could...and, I'd tell him -oh, and by the way - remember that non-infidel blood I told you about...I lied.

If he wants to rid himself of all the blood I gave him...that's his choice!

Posted by: A Soldier's Mother | Dec 31, 2008 10:56:47 PM

By the way, if I get any hate mail as a result of this comment, there will be a lawsuit.

Posted by: Jimmy Havok

Jimmy, you're gonna have to do better than that. There's no clickable link directing us to your soap-box, and an internet search didn't yield anything useful. While I would dearly LOVE to send you all kinds of hate mail, I do not have a place to send it to. Please provide your internet address.

As far as a law-suit from you is concerned, I ain't too worried. You sound like a cowardly little fellow, and I doubt even an ambulance chaser would take your case on spec in any case.

Posted by: At The Back of the Hill | Dec 31, 2008 11:22:12 PM

I would choose D - follow Jewish law of the battlefield.

I am not at all sure, nor do I even know where to look it up, but I believe that the law would say (or should say?) that as long as the enemy is still engaging in hostilities, he should be killed on the battlefield (or at least left there to die). Once the enemy has ceased hostilities, his status may change to someone that needs care, protection, and medical care.

Posted by: Mark | Jan 1, 2009 3:50:34 AM

I would change this scenario a little so that the ending came out better.
The soldier fighting the enemy should fight him until he is dead. No rescue. He will only recuperate, and live to fight Israel another day. Why give him that chance? Killing him until he is dead is the best option for Israel and her soldiers.
Save the precious resources for the brave Israeli soldiers and civilians that need it. Shame on anyone who squanders a gift of blood from dedicated people to be used on someone that wants all of us dead.

Posted by: Sarah Phillips | Jan 1, 2009 3:57:46 AM

Leave him to die! No help.

I don't recall hearing about many Israeli soldiers that are treated for their injuries by the Arabs. Oh, wait, how could I be so stupid. Israeli soldiers are captured, tortured, and most likely never heard from again.

Posted by: vicki | Jan 1, 2009 4:25:07 AM

If I remember correctly from high school biology, AB blood types can accept any other blood type (A, B, or O). This guy's only problem from what you describe is the Rh factor--that he couldn't be given any Rh-positive blood. Not that it changes your basic question, of course.

I am not sure what I would answer. I'd be inclined to let him die his desired death, but that would be less fun for me, and he'd be thinking he would be headed for Paradise. I'd find it more amusing to have him stay awake but immobilized while I continued filling my pint bag for him, oinking and grinning all the while. I'll bet in the end he wouldn't even commit suicide when he woke up (the hypocrite).

Posted by: Shimshonit | Jan 1, 2009 10:24:20 AM

Your underlying fallacy is that Geneva-style "battlefield honor" still applies anywhere in the world.

Wounded soldiers are regularly tortured and executed - often after being made to serve the public relations goals of the captors.

This is certainly true in our neck of the woods, David.

So my answer is: this guy doesn't make it off the battlefield. I complete my mission as a soldier - which is to kill as many of their combatants as possible.

Posted by: Ben-David | Jan 1, 2009 1:36:22 PM

I would never get into such a situation because I would make sure to kill my enemy when I got the chance to do so.

But then again, I'm not a Jew.

Posted by: Axel_Bavaria | Jan 1, 2009 6:08:14 PM

i'd go with B

Posted by: Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) | Jan 1, 2009 8:18:59 PM

Give him the blood, and while he's out cold, find a pigs head, hollow it out and let him wake up with that thing on, carve a Star of David on his chest with a knife, just deep enough to create a permanent scare, shove a salami up his ass, and when he wakes up, put him in front a mirror.

That should do the trick.

Posted by: Mo | Jan 1, 2009 9:41:59 PM

As a former military medic
1. Leave him on the field; if you feel humane, kill him; if not, let him die from blood loss.
2. O neg is a "universal" doner; in any event, the "blood" supplied to the field probably is plasma.
3. I do NOT believe anyone of any rank could force a solder to donate blood - period.
4. If the oy-yev MUST be gievn blood let if come from a red crescent country - we (sadly) need blood for IDF and civilian casualities.
5. I never could understand why we (in the US) provide medical care to prisoners on death row.
6. This situation is nothing new. The discoverer of the RH factor died in a US hospital because the hospital lacked "black" blood. Some "whites," even as late as the Korean police action, refused transfusions of "colored" blood. US medics at the time did NOT force a person to be transfused with blood of a different "race." (Now, there is no donor information.)

Posted by: Yohanon | Jan 1, 2009 10:23:18 PM

In '82, we invaded South Lebanon to drive the PLO away from Israel's borders. The enemy was comprised of two indentifiable groups of Arabs: fighters of the PLO, and Syrian troops. Early in the war, one leil Shabbat, some of us had the opportunity to speak with Rav Shaul Yisraeli, z'l. I was especially concerned with the obligations of a medic who finds enemy wounded in his hands. Is he obligated to work to save someone who just moments ago was trying to kill him and his comrades?

As I recall, we were told that there is a distinction to be made between terrorists and regular army soldiers. Rav Yisraeli said that the Syrians may be draftees for all we know, and under severe coercion to be facing us on the battlefield. The PLO terrorists, on the other hand, are volunteers who willingly step forward to kill us. We have no obligation to save the latter, but there is reason to consider being merciful to the conscriptees.

In addition, there is the pragmatic consideration that (then, at least) military intelligence likes to have a chance to interrogate these folks. Sometimes useful information comes out that will save Israeli lives.

I don't recall discussing to what lengths would we go to treat enemy wounded. Standard measures? Extensive, or 'heroic' measures? Also, it seems clear to me (I do not recall this from Rav Yisraeli z'l) that as a field medic with limited resources, withholding or reserving those resources for my comrades who rely on me is appropriate.

Myself, I would not give this person my blood.

Posted by: Mordechai Y. Scher | Jan 2, 2009 3:42:39 AM

I recall, for some reason, a recent ER episode where a black surgeon is preparing to operate on a white supremacist, who has asked that she be supervised by a white doctor to make sure she doesn't kill him while he's under.

Although her colleagues feel she would be well within her rights to ask that another surgeon take the case, she is determined to proceed. Great moment when she snarls at a colleague--"I'm rising above, I'm rising above, and I do not need any trouble from you when I'm rising above!"

What do _I_ do in the specific case? I do not know, and probably wouldn't until the moment arose. My strongest instinct is that I would probably tell him a few ugly home truths, but let the medical people take the blood. Maybe I'd tell them to shove it.

In the real-life situation--well, it's surreal, isn't it? What the hell CAN you do? On the one hand, I have to say that it's fine with me if Jordan and Egypt shoulder some of the burden--God knows they have done little enough to help out with this whole mess, they can dang well give blood. On the other hand, well, having spent an unpleasant recent evening on Montogmery Street, surrounded by pro-Hamas demonstrators calling ME a racist it is super-tempting to not comply with such insane and bigoted (and annoyingly entitled) BS.

Is there anything in English I could read about the background of all this? (It's new to me, though depressingly unsurprising.)

Posted by: balabusta in bluejeans | Jan 2, 2009 10:59:10 AM

Just want to add, this phenomenon goes back.

Posted by: Steven | Jan 4, 2009 2:12:08 AM

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