Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Justified Paranoia

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.


Izgad said...

"Murphy's Law teaches us that just because you're paranoid doesn't mean everyone isn't out to get out."

get you

Y. Ben-David said...

The problem is not just with non-Jewish groups like MSF. During the Haiti earthquake rescue operation, many radical Jewish bloggers were cursing out Israel for sending the team claiming it was a "useless publicity stunt". They maintained this even in the face of the numerous lives of Haitians saved. There is no reasoning with this mentality. This hatred of Israel has gone way beyond politics and has turned into a ideological and even psychological phenomenon. It is at least partly explained by
Ernest Sternberg in what he calls "Purificationist" ideology...that is, the world is in serious danger of being destroyed unless Capitalism, and it bastard son, Zionism are eradicated (don't bother trying to figure out the connection).

On the other hand, we just have to realize that the world is returning to its "normal", antisemitic state. For 4 decades after the Shoah, antisemitism was more-or-less "politically incorrect", and now that era has ended. We just had better get used to it. Thank G-d we have a state and army which we didn't have before.

BTW-I love your header quote from
Star Trek's "The Cage"!

Garrnel Ironheart said...

Thank you and welcome.

Your points are all great. However, there is one optimistic facet to all this. Every person who meets an Israeli doctor and has a positive experience is one less potential anti-Semite. We often forget that, behind the headlines, there are lots of Arabs, for example, that know that Jews are decent human beings because of their experience. That's what makes leaving politics at the door so important.

Y. Ben-David said...

I agree with you. Even though there is a big increase in antisemitism worldwide, we have a lot of friends around the world, in all countries. Actually, I am quite optimistic about the future....time is working in Israel's favor (I know this is the opposite of what the "progressive" Left thinks). Israel is pulling ahead of the Arab countries in all areas....economy, technology, socially (i.e. creating greater social cohesion by letting formerly marginalized elements rise up in socity) and of course, there is an increasing interest in Judaism among the public at large. We as religious Jews find this last factor to be as important as the others. So while we must remain on the alert we must also encourage Israelis, Jews and other friends not to let stories like the one you posted here dishearten us unduly.

BTW-Is that old guy in the picture you have on the side Patrick Stewart? I recall you had an earlier picture from ST-The Next Generation. I treasure him most as Lenin in "Fall of Eagles" (he really looked and acted like him!) and the really evil Lucius Aelius Sejanus in "I, Claudius".

Garnel Ironheart said...

Actually, I run the pictures through cycles - currently we're on the Doctor Who cycle and that's Patrick Troughton, the second actor to play the part (1966-69). You saw Stewart back during the Enterprise Captain cycle.

Doctors Without Borders said...

Doctors Without Borders Statement of Clarification Regarding Collaboration with Israeli Doctors in Eastern Congo and Its Intervention in the Palestinian Territories

Posted July 29, 2010