Diaa Hadid in the New York Times has written some surprisingly good articles in recent weeks. Earlier this week she wrote one about how Israeli doctors, through the Save a Child's Heart program, saved the life of an Afghan boy in Pakistan with a heart defect.
I've written about SACH in the past and even visited them. It is a great organization that is happy to help whenever it can. It is not political and does only good.
For the most part, Hadid's article is positive, describing how the child, Yehia, managed to get to Israel and be helped. She give background on the organization:
Yehia — whose father spoke on the condition that the family name not be published for fear of a backlash if it became known he had taken the boy to Israel for treatment — is the first Afghan treated by Save a Child’s Heart in its 20 years of operations. About half the charity’s 4,000 patients have been Palestinian; 200 others were children from Iraq and Syria, and the roster includes patients from Tanzania, Ethiopia and Moldova.
But she cannot resist finding someone to accuse the dedicated doctors of SACH of "med-washing:"
Tony Laurance, head of a group called Medical Aid for Palestine, said that while providing children “world-class surgery” was “an unequivocal good,” it should not obscure the broader impact of Israeli policies on medical care for Palestinians. Gaza hospitals are perennially short of medicine, equipment and well-trained staff because of Israeli restrictions on travel and trade, and many Gaza residents struggle to get exit permits for care outside the territory.Israeli doctors saving Muslim lives "gets up his nose" because it "betrays reality"? Laurance is saying that positive articles about Israel must not be published because they blunt the impact of the unrelenting anti-Israel propaganda that he and his organization pushes.
“What gets up my nose,” Mr. Laurance said, “is that it presents an image of Israel that betrays the reality.”
Laurance's idea of "reality" is that Gaza suffers shortages of medicine and equipment because of Israeli policies, a statement that Hadid does not check. It is unequivocally false. While a tiny percentage of medical equipment going into Gaza may be delayed because it could be considered dual-use, if it is legitimate it gets through. And there are no restrictions on medicines altogether. Teh medicine restrictions are because of infighting between Hamas and Fatah, plus Hamas stealing aid. It has nothing to do with Israel.
Laurance lied, and Hadid allowed the lie to be published unchallenged in the New York Times.
Even his statement about "many Gaza residents struggle to get exit permits " is skewed. I have no doubt that there is paperwork to complete and approvals involved, but they are traveling to another country - the restrictions are not any worse than with most international travel. Beyond that, Mr. Laurance conveniently decides not to say a word about that other country that borders Gaza, an Arab country, that refuses virtually all patients from entering. Which calls into question the true interest he has in Medical Aid for Palestinians (the actual name of the organization) - how much of it is altruistic and how much is political?
There was no reason to include his mini-diatribe in the article, and in fact it is a jarring departure from the tone of the rest of the article. But what is worse is that the casual reader would think that the NYT agrees that Israel restricts medical aid to Gaza.
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