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(Jeff Haynes / Agence France Presse)

Israel named "world humanitarian leader" in EU propaganda exercise

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Deddi Simchi, a colonel in the Israeli military, gives a briefing on “humanitarian aid” in Port-au-Prince, Haiti during January 2010. 

(Israel Defense Forces)

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or scream when tipped off about the latest propaganda blitz planned by European Friends of Israel, a key lobby group in Brussels.

Its calendar for the next few weeks — not yet posted on the EFI website — features a number of events designed to present Israel as a caring and liberal country, which has managed to inoculate itself from financial crises.

Later this month (23 January) the EFI will host a mini-conference titled Humanitarian aid - Israel as a world leader. According to the EFI’s blurb, Israel has “aid teams poised to respond in the wake of natural or man-made disasters anywhere in the world.” One of these teams, apparently, was “first on the scene in January 2010 after the earthquake hit Haiti.”

Have those few words broken all previous records for chutzpah? At the time Israel was rushing to help Haiti (or so we are told), it was enforcing a medieval siege on more than 1.5 million people in Gaza. Israel was in no hurry to address the “man-made disaster” its own policies had caused. Rather, it was only after Israeli troops murdered nine activists trying to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza on a flotilla in May 2010 that it moved to ease, but not lift, the blockade.

“Self-congratulation”

Nor, it should be added, is there anything heroic about having the first aid workers in Haiti. As a short new book — L’échec humanitaire: le cas haïtien (The humanitarian failure: the Haitian case — by Frédéric Thomas illustrates, that Caribbean nation has been betrayed and misled by the Western aid industry. Of $10 billion pledged to Haiti at an international donors’ conference in New York during March 2010, less than $2.5 billion had been released by July 2012.

Thomas is especially scathing of how aid pledges are made for purposes of “self-congratulation,” in which the “first recipient of the message is not the Haitian people but voters in the donor country, who are invited to agree with their governments, so generous and effective.” While he does not mention Israel, the criticism can be applied to it.

Israel sent over 250 soldiers to Haiti after the earthquake, and posted videos in their honor on Facebook. Not only was this a clear case of hasbara — as propaganda is called in Hebrew — it violated a principle which genuine humanitarians regard as fundamental: that emergency assistance should be of a civilian nature and be seen as impartial.

Sandy solidarity?

The EFI is a cross-party alliance of members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Its conference — to be hold in the Parliament’s headquarters — will be addressed by Navonel Glick from the Israeli Forum for International Humanitarian Aid (IsraAid). Glick has been in New York lately in an apparent gesture of solidarity with victims of Hurricane Sandy.

IsraAid took advantage of that catastrophe by claiming that having a strong military enables Israel to undertake emergency missions. Of course, the less humane side of the same army was displayed when Israel rained its bombs down on Gaza for eight consecutive days in November, again making a mockery of its claim to be a “world leader” in humanitarianism.

Soon after mythologizing about Israel’s aid operations, the EFI will turn the spotlight on Israel’s economic prowess. A promotional note for a 29 January meeting says that though Israel is small “a host of reforms aimed at liberalizing the economy have allowed it to stand out as one of the world’s most competitive economies.” The main speaker will be Chaim Hurvitz from Israel’s top pharmaceutical firm Teva.

In a March 2012 study, Who Profits? — a project set up by Palestinian and Israeli women — documented how Teva benefits from the occupation. The construction of Israel’s apartheid wall has meant that pharmacies and hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem have been prevented from dispensing medicines manufactured in the West Bank. As a result, healthcare services on which all Palestinians in East Jerusalem and many others from across the West Bank rely have been forced to buy Israeli and foreign drugs.

Ironic twist

In an ironic twist, EFI will switch from applauding “competitiveness” — a doctrine which holds that social protections should be dismantled — to embracing young Israelis who demand that the welfare state be preserved. On 20 February, its special guest will be Daphne Leef, who the EFI has appointed “leader” of last year’s Tel Aviv protests against the right-wing policies of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

Leef has a skewed sense of justice. In a much-circulated speech delivered during September 2011, she grew emotional over how “one million Israelis were living under the threat of missiles” fired from Gaza, without saying anything about how four million Palestinians live under a brutal occupation.

It is not hard to see why the EFI is happy to court her. Leef is a useful pawn for lobbyists determined to perpetuate the lie that Israel is a vibrant democracy.

Comments

Israel moves ever more to the right with the near neo Nazi Home Party expected to hold the balance of power in a continuation of Netanyahu's government, while the propaganda machine churns out the 'we are really lovely liberals message'. Fortunately many Jews see the reality of the apartheid policies being practised by the current Israeli government as is set out by this message from Jews in South Africa;

"As Jews, with our own painful history of oppression, we are compelled to speak out against human rights violations being committed by the State of Israel – in our name – against the Palestinian people.

The Jewish community is neither homogeneous nor monolithic. There is a growing number of Jews, in South Africa and around the world, who are organising to form alternative spaces and who unconditionally oppose Israeli policies and practices that shamefully privilege Jews over the indigenous Palestinian people. In this vein, we support the non-violent campaign of applying Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it abides by international law and respects basic human rights.

We are encouraged that our South African government is joining those countries that are taking a clear stance against Israel’s violations of international law and its acts of violence against the Palestinian people. We hope that the ANC and the SA Government goes further and completely bans Israeli settlement products. Israeli settlements are in clear violation of international law and seriously undermine any chance of negotiations and a just peace.

Our individual consciences, our Jewish tradition and our painful history compel us to declare...to the Israeli government that we will continue to speak out and take a stand for justice and human rights.... For when we proclaim “Never Again”, we should mean “Never Again”, unconditionally, and to any human being."

http://goo.gl/Qv1Uk

very well put alec. keep up your good work to spread the truth.

Thank you for your honest comments. You have proved my beliefs to be true, do not throw out the whole tub of apples because some are bad!.

of aid to Haiti after the earthquake was, as so often, Cuba. Not soldiers but medical personnnel were sent, quickly setting up a hospital. And after cholera broke out, reportedly imported by UN occupiers from Nepal, patients at the Cuban hospital did much better than patients elsewhere.

For an early report, http://www.aljazeera.com/focus...

Also: http://www.lawg.org/action-cen...
http://www.projectcensored.org...

Now, who funds the EFI?
America, the EU or Israel (which receives US and EU funding)?
If so, couldn't the money be delegated elsewhere?

I’ve asked the European Friends of Israel to give me details of how they are funded on a few occasions. The only thing they would say was that they were funded by private donors. They are very secretive, though clearly they have a lot of money - for example, they organize all-expenses-paid trips to the Middle East for members of the European Parliament. 

Israel being the world humanitarian leader, is completely consistent with, fighting for peace, killing for Jesus and copulating for chastity. Thank God, I had that frontal lobotomy.

We can see the enclaves of zionist self-deceivers where the"world humanitarian leader" propaganda may work as long as the cameras are turned on. But once these zionists get home, they know tis all another lie.

Yeah, Israel did a bang up job helping the victims of operation cast lead and after the attack on an unarmed aid ship in international waters. Waiting for Israel to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Please tell me there is a petition/protest organised?

Zionist hasbara aka propaganda was SO RIDICULOUS in this regard that even a Israeli doctor named Dr. Yoel Donchin said the following about it (back then); "'The extreme right wing in Israel is using the Haiti operation to reframe the fallout from the Goldstone report in the eyes of the world,' Dr Yoel Donchin, an Israeli anesthesiologist and a veteran of Israeli rescue operations told The Media Line. 'They know the Haitians are NOT part of the agenda and this is just for PROPAGANDA. But if it's good for Israel they don't care.'

'You can't save everyone, and anyone who has studied mass casualty situations knows that the first thing you have to do is not rush in but to send a small team to evaluate what is the best way to help in the long run,' he said. 'So the fact that Israel wants to race to be the first to be there means NOTHING in the big picture, because Israel is usually the first to arrive BUT ALSO THE FIRST TO LEAVE.' (My note: meaning after the disaster has left the public's eye and the Zionist's can get no more good hasbara aka propaganda value out of it, they are GONE in a flash! And not interested in "helping" anymore!)

'If, for example, Israel were to bring water purification systems and chemical toilets it would be much more helpful,' Dr Donchin said. 'But their logic is that then it wouldn't get on the news.'"

Another quote of Dr. Yoel Donchin notes that in past emergency response situations he's been involved with he literally had to fight with the Israeli government to try to put more medical equipment on the flight rather than weighing it down with camera crews who are going to do HASBARA videotaping and picture taking (for television, print media, etc. etc.)!