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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Don't Support MDA 'Court Jews'

I have written in the past about my deep displeasure with the International Red Cross' insistence that the Israeli chapter (MDA; Magen David Adom; Red Star of David) jump through hoops and debase itself in order to maintain its conditional membership.

The most glaring example of this is the requirement, to which Israeli Magen David Adom acquiesced, that its teams operating abroad abandon the Red Star of David in favor of a non-sectarian 'Red Crystal' that would, presumably, be less offensive to the sensibilities of Muslims and Christians in the countries where Israeli MDA crews might be called upon to render assistance.


Because, you know, the Red Cross and Red Crescent are non-sectarian too, right?

Anyway... several months ago, residents of Judea and Samaria began noticing a disturbing trend.  Whenever one of the Magen David Adom ambulances stationed in a community over the green line went in for routine maintenance, it came back with the MDA logo removed, and in its place a generic red star.

When reports of this trend hit the news, MDA rushed to send out press releases and emails assuring the public (and their financial supporters) that there was no change in MDA policy regarding serving Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.  They explained that it was simply a natural trend towards making the various communities more autonomous in terms of providing emergency medical services.

Hmmm.  Yeah, I wasn't convinced either. 

Not to worry, an agreement between MDA Israel and the International Red Cross soon came to light that formally "abrogated the right to serve any areas not recognized internationally as within Israel's borders.  [excluding] large population centers such as  Kiryat Arba, Efrat, Maaleh Adumim, Ariel, Kedumim and parts of Jerusalem as well as all the smaller Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria".

Today Israeli MDA finally offically admitted that they had, in fact, changed their policy regarding serving the communities in Judea and Samaria. 

But according to the report, they justified their action by explaining that the new agreement was made "because it raises the status of [MDA] as an official member of the International Red Cross".  And that "[MDA's] membership allows it to participate in worldwide rescue efforts and to receive funds from the organization, according to the MDA".

At first blush this sounds reasonable.  Until, that is, one stops to consider who actually benefits; Israel or MDA?. 

Once you ask that question MDA comes off sounding a lot like the classic definition of a 'Court Jew'. 

For those who aren't familiar with the concept, historically a 'Court Jew' was someone who, in return for serving the agenda of a wealthy patron, gained social privileges—sometimes even titles—and was allowed to live outside the Jewish ghettoes and mingle with non-Jewish society.

How is that different from what we're seeing here?  In return for the privilege of being able to go out and rub shoulders with the rest of the world, MDA is being asked to show its willingness to serve the agenda of a wealthy patron; the International Red Cross.

Isn't it in the interest of the International Red Cross to have Israeli MDA teams respond to international emergencies? 

Is it such an honor for us to be able to participate in such efforts that MDA should turn its back on its domestic responsibilities? 

And it also begs the questions of just how much of MDA's funding comes from the International Red Cross, as opposed to private funding?

Well, I propose that we help MDA weigh these important questions. 

I encourage those who support MDA financially to give directly to Israeli hospitals and to community medical clinics, instead of continuing to help the Court Jews at MDA maintain their status with those who have shunned us at every turn, and who wish to gain an unhealthy influence in our internal affairs.

Posted by David Bogner on January 4, 2012 | Permalink


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Excellent Blog! I am going to repost it on my Facebook page.

Posted by: Miriam | Jan 4, 2012 1:50:22 PM

I propose that everybody henceforth simply use a red circle on a white field.

Oh, that's already taken?

How about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:War_flag_of_the_Imperial_Japanese_Army.svg
It's certainly eye-catching, no?

FYI. I stopped donating money to the red cross in any shape once I became aware of the mogen dovid adom shtuss. Even after they finally allowed the Jews in, I did not donate. And now, I will continue to not donate.

There are plenty of other worthwhile causes.

Posted by: At The Back of the Hill | Jan 5, 2012 12:02:03 AM

Stupid Red Cross. My mother used to support the Salvation Army instead of the Red Cross because she discovered that the Salvation Army in our state gave free coffee and hot chocolate to firemen working in the cold winter weather. The Red Cross, on the other hand, SOLD coffee and doughnuts to the fireman (generally, they didn't both offer services in the same city -- in some cities the RC sold coffee and in other cities, the SA donated it to the firemen).

Why don't the Israelis simply start another ambulance service (called something other than MDA) to serve that area (I refuse to call it the "occupied territories" as is the fashion in the press)? How about calling it JSAS for Judea and Samaria Ambulance Service? They don't need to take $$$ from the IRC and when the world *finally* comes to its senses and recognizes Israel's right to the lands, the JSAS can be brought under control of the MDA proper. That way, MDA can still take the money from IRC and the people of Judea & Samaria can still have medical support. I agree it shouldn't be this way, and wouldn't be in any other country, but it's just a thought.. Heck, maybe the JSAS could apply for a UN grant and get funds for aiding the Arabs in that region!

Glad to see you back again, Trepp!

Posted by: ProphetJoe | Jan 5, 2012 5:06:03 AM

@At the Back...

I thought you were going to suggest a different sort of red circle...
like this

Posted by: ProphetJoe | Jan 5, 2012 5:17:45 AM

In a previous life, I worked in aviation, and had cause to rub shoulders with the IRCRC on more than one occasion during emergencies. I'm afraid the corruption was rife and it made me quite furious to see how funds were used / misused.
Having said that, our local Red Cross in NZ has done some amazing work in Christchurch during the over 8000 earthquakes in the last 15 months.
I'm with Prophet Joe. There must be plenty of philanthropists who would be more than willing to divert funds to a "local" Ambulance service, instead of giving to the political morass that is the Red Cross.
Oh yes, and welcome back - I'm fed up of drinking my early morning coffee without your blog!

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Jan 5, 2012 5:37:36 AM

This has bothered me for a long time. The Muslim nations objected to the Red Cross, so they were allowed to use a Red Crescent. The Jews want to use the Magen David Adom, and the world has objections to that?!

It's bad enough for the Magen David Adom to be replaced by the red crystal. But to remove the logo entirely because the world objects to the MDA operating in the "occupied territories"?! I think we all know what is going on here, and I don't have to spell this out.

I think the MDA should tell the International Red Cross that the price they are asking it to pay ia too high. The MDA should go anywhere with the Magen David Adom proudly displayed, and if they remain outside the International Red Cross, so be it. This is blackmail to be a part of the International Red Cross, and it should not be tolerated.

Posted by: sheldan | Jan 5, 2012 6:59:30 PM

If you don't mind I will forward this to some of my friends who don't surf or follow links.

Posted by: henry | Jan 6, 2012 7:41:46 AM

Wonder who came up with this symbol and what it`s supposed to represent. What is the situation in the Jerusalem area?

Posted by: ED | Jan 6, 2012 7:15:01 PM

One of the odd things about all this is that the founder of the International Red Cross, Henri Dunant, was an active Christian pro-Zionist even before Herzl got involved. Herzl even invited him to appear at the first Zionist conference. How things have changed!

Posted by: mg | Jan 8, 2012 7:40:32 PM

Red crystal. G-d save us all.

Vive la difference!

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jan 9, 2012 5:22:34 AM

When I discovered years ago how much the director of the Red Cross makes in salary, and then found out what percentage of donations goes towards administration costs vs. how much actually goes towards helping people, I stopped donating to them. I don't remember the figures now, but I do remember that the percentage was hugely disproportional towards admin costs.

I'm hugely disappointed in our brown-nosing MDA.

Posted by: Alissa | Jan 10, 2012 6:51:16 PM

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