Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • Wednesday, December 11, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
From AFP:
The refusal of Israel's equivalent of the Red Cross to accept blood from an Ethiopian Jewish lawmaker sparked demands on Wednesday for a review of guidelines seen as deeply discriminatory.

The rejection of the blood from Pnina Tamano-Shata by an official of Magen David Adom came at a donor drive outside parliament and was caught on video footage which was widely aired by Israeli television channels.

"Under health ministry directives, we are unable to accept blood from donors of Ethiopian Jewish origin," the health official is heard to say as he spurns the donation.

Ministry guidelines do not in fact bar donations from all of Israel's more than 120,000 Ethiopian Jews, only to those 80,000 among them who were born in Africa and migrated to Israel, most of them in two massive airlifts in 1984 and 1991.

The pretext long given is that it is a measure to prevent the AIDS virus getting into the blood bank and being spread through transfusions.

But critics say the blanket ban has no medical basis and masks persistent racism among other Israeli Jews towards the black Ethiopian minority.

Tamano-Shata is a member of parliament for the centrist Yesh Atid party, part of Israel's governing coalition.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rang her to express his "admiration" for her offer to give blood and to promise a review of the ministry guidelines.
The haters are out in force, loving this excuse to label Israel racist, even though most Israelis are viscerally upset at this news story. Message boards are filled with people trashing Israel over the MDA's supposed racism.

There is no doubt that the MDA's policies need to be revisited.  The behavior of the MDA reps in this case was not acceptable. However, anyone calling Israel racist based on a policy of not accepting blood from some African countries may want to read the American Red Cross guidelines for people they don't want to donate blood for fear of AIDS:
You should not donate if you are at risk for contracting HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). The following activities would cause you to be at risk:
...If you were born or have lived in, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Niger, Nigeria, since 1977.

The US Food and Drug Administration likewise recommends that all people donating blood answer these questions (they added some countries more recently):
  • Were you born in or have you lived in any of the following countries since 1977: Cameroon, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Gabon, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, or Zambia? If so, when?
  • If you have traveled to any of those countries since 1977, did you receive a blood transfusion or any medical treatment with a product made from blood? If so, when?
  • Have you had sexual contact with anyone who was born in or lived in these countries since 1977? If so, when?

We recommend that you defer indefinitely a potential donor who gives an affirmative answer to any of these questions.
If you say that Israel is racist for limiting blood donors from countries in Africa, as well as Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, then the US must be racist as well.

Canada must also be racist, because they ask an even more general question from all potential donors: "Were you born in or have you lived in Africa since 1977?" Wow - those racist Canadians have damned an entire continent, but I'm not hearing anyone self-righteously complaining about them!

According to WHO, 1.4%. of adults in Ethiopia in 2011 have AIDS. In 2001 that number was over 3%.  Niger, on the US list, has only a 0.8% prevalence of AIDS among adults.

Are either of those numbers acceptable risk for you when you need a blood transfusion?

The reality is that every modern country's health systems must be vigilant about its blood supply, just as they must be vigilant about what risk is acceptable and to apply consistent criteria for all. They must also be sensitive to the feelings of their citizens - but that doesn't trump health concerns.

Such facts don't concern the haters coming out of the woodwork today. These people yelling "racism"
don't give a damn about real racism. They are just grabbing a new excuse to slam Israel, and only Israel.

Which, when you think about it, shows that they are far more bigoted  and hateful than the people they are calling "racist."


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