Thursday, June 22, 2006

One cheer for the ICRC - AP shows bias again

It appears that the ICRC has finally approved Israel becoming a member (along with the Palestinian Red Crescent society, that famous humanitarian organization that lends ambulances to terrorists to kill Jews.)

Of course, Israel cannot use its "offensive" Star of David symbol, but has to place it in the new "red crystal."

What is unclear to me is whether Israel has the right to show the Star of David at all if they are working in another country, or if the other country can demand Israel only use the blank Red Crystal, or even if Israel is allowed to display the star outside of Israel. The AP report includes this paragraph that may not be accurate but implies that Israel cannot use the star under certain circumstances:
Israel's military will be able to use the crystal by itself on a white flag to protect medics and other humanitarian workers helping war casualties. But any society could combine the emblem with the cross or crescent - or both - for temporary use.
More explicitly, the Red Cross says:
The Protocol enables the Israeli Society to continue to use its red shield of David as its sole emblem inside Israel. When working outside Israel the Society would need to work according to the requirements of the host country. Normally this would mean that it could display the red shield of David incorporated within the red crystal, or use the red crystal alone.

The AP, as usual, spins this decades-old bias against the Jewish state as being Israel's fault. In the very first paragraph of their story:
The Red Cross admitted Israel to the worldwide humanitarian organization early Thursday, ending decades of exclusion linked to the Jewish state's refusal to accept the traditional cross symbol.

Ah, those intransigent Jews again.

Wouldn't it have been more accurate to say "linked to the organization's refusal to accept the Star of David as a humanitarian symbol"? Or "linked to the organization's refusal to accept Israel"? Notice how the author ignores in this paragraph any mention of Muslim countries' refusal to allow the Red Cross symbol as well.

Beyond that, the argument against the Star of David has always hinged on the idea that the Red Cross/Red Crescent only had two symbols and adding an additional symbol could confuse the matter. Well, guess what? It's not true!

At the Red Cross site we see that the first Geneva convention accepted not two, but three symbols for use by the organization - the Red Cross, Red Crescent and the Persian Red Lion and Sun:

Somehow, three symbols were not too many in 1949. Somehow, a symbol associated with only one country was fine in 1949 (Iran scrapped the symbol after the 1980 revolution, but otherwise it would stil be a valid symbol.) Israel, of course, has tried to get the MDA accepted by the ICRC since the 1930's, when the committee did allow three symbols (although they did put in a rule disallowing any additional symbols after 1929.)

In other words, it may be nice that Israel finally is allowed to join this organization, but the bias against Israel is still clear.