Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Hypocrisy Wins

Hypocrisy Wins

Author: Editorial
Publication: International Herald Tribune, UK
Date: November 8, 2001

"You don't belong to a country club that excludes blacks or Jews," Bernadine Healy, outgoing president of the American Red Cross, once said. Her departure is a blow to an organization that profited greatly from her leadership for two years. It is also a victory for certain members of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva - and apparently certain American Red Cross board members - who objected to Dr. Healy's strong and principled stance against the anti-Israeli feelings that have kept Magen David Adorn, Israel's equivalent of the Red Cross, excluded from full federation membership for 50 years.

The denial of unconditional recognition to MDA in the worldwide family of national Red Cross societies because it employs a Red Shield of David as its symbol rather than the Red Cross or Red Crescent is an abomination. Bernadine Healy thought so, too. At her request, and with strong bipartisan backing in Congress, the American Red Cross decided to delay payment of its dues to support the federation until bigotry gave way to tolerance. Dr. Healy's opposition to the federation's policies of exclusion and intolerance apparently ran afoul of some American Red Cross board members and led to pressures that caused her to conclude that she had no choice but to resign.

There may be other factors that helped contribute to her abrupt departure. But surely her decision to withhold American Red Cross dues from an international organization that will not admit Israel on a full and equal basis is one that the American Red Cross board should have steadfastly supported. Some members evidently were prepared to cut and run.

The extent of the federation's willingness to give in to the worst instincts of some of its member governments, especially Arab relief agencies, is clear in a letter from Denis McClean, a spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva. He writes with evident pride that the federation's member governments "are now preparing to adopt an additional emblem with no religious or national connotations to stand alongside the Red Cross and the Red Crescent as emblems universally recognized as providing protection in time of conflict." In other words, under the proposed deal the Red Cross and Red Crescent symbols are in, the Red Shield of David is out, and Israel's humanitarian aid society can join - as long as it hides its face.

The international outrage goes on. All the more reason, as Dr. Healy courageously maintained, that the American Red Cross should withhold its dues.


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