Murphy's Law teaches us that just because you're paranoid doesn't mean everyone isn't out to get out.
Sometimes I get paranoid. It's relatively easy in today's world as Jew hatred seems to increase and appear on every corner. The danger is to let the fear that the world's most irrational hatred is growing turn into a fear of Jew hatred even when it isn't present. Hence the kneejerk reaction to Bnai Brith announcing yet another act of anti-Semitism since most of the time it's a trumped up charge.
Such was my feeling regarding Medecins san Fronteires (Doctors Without Borders). For years I've known about what they do but not about their politics. I knew they didn't have much direct involvement with Israel because, B"H, the Israelis can look after their own and don't need their help. But whenever I'd see a table of theirs at a conference I'd shy away from going to close. Something told me that there was a problem even though I had no evidence of it. Maybe it was the UNICEF experience but something in my head equated "internaional do-gooders" with Jew hatred.
And it turns out I was right:
When it comes to Israel, MSF seems to have fallen on its head.
For despite its virtuous profile, and its professed impartiality free of a political agenda, the group has a decidedly dubious track-record vis-à-vis the Jewish state.
The latest example of this was on display in recent weeks in a remote part of Africa, when a team of five Israeli specialists flew to the Congolese city of Uvira to treat 50 villagers who had been severely burned in a devastating fire that claimed more than 230 lives. Working around the clock, they treated the wounded, trained Congolese doctors in performing skin grafts and donated a ton of medical equipment to local medical facilities.
And yet, incredibly enough, these angels of compassion received a distinctly cold reception from MSF volunteers working in the area, who seemed to go out of their way to demonstrate their displeasure at having to work in the vicinity of Israelis.
As Haaretz reported (July 18), the Israeli medical staff “got the distinct impression that the volunteers did not wish to be around them.”
The treatment meted out to the Israelis was such that it left Dr. Eyal Winkler, deputy director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Sheba Medical Center, in a state of disbelief. “This is the reality today,” he said. “Doctors from international aid organizations treat a delegation of volunteer Israeli doctors to Congo as though we were occupiers.”
I work in a multicultural medical setting. I routinely interact with people from all over the world including hijab-wearing women and people from Israel who don't consider themselves Israelis. I have never, to my knowledge or recollection, had a difficulty with any of them. After all, we share a common goal - the optimal treatment of our patients. Our politics might differ but that doesn't matter when we're working.
I think it's a betrayal of one's medical training and ethics to allow personal feelings to interfere with cooperation in a professional setting. It's a selfish act that could compromise a patient's life which is clearly unacceptable. What a shame that an organization as noble as MSF cannot rise above such pettiness.