Israel's efforts to assist Haitians at their time of need have, for the most part, been praised. At a time when virtually all Haitians were deprived of health care, Israel was the first to set up a fully operational field hospital, before the U.S., France, the U.N., Red Cross, etc.. They also sent rescue teams to find and extract people trapped in collapsed buildings -- an effort which saved many lives. Predictably, those who are predisposed to do so have found grounds for condemnation in what most observers would call noble efforts and achievements. Here's a sampling:
Richard Silverstein, a Seattle resident who blogs at Tikkun Olam (rough translation: "repair the world"), has found Israel's Haitian relief to be the sort of world-repairing the world could do without. In a strongly worded column he calls "The Zionization of Disaster Relief" (read here), Silverstein writes that sending portable toilets, rather than doctors, medical equipment and rescue teams, would have been more useful to the Haitians. Silverstein condemns Israel's decision to send doctors instead of toilets as being based on public relations considerations. He also claims without providing a source that a Haitian woman who gave birth in the Israeli field hospital was pressured by the Israelis to name her child "Israel". He captions a photo of the mother and child posted on his blog "A baby named Israel...who, if he reaches adulthood, would never be welcome in Israel". (On the contrary, that child would be very welcome there, but if he does visit, Silverstein will condemn it as Zionist PR.)
Here's video with an interview of the physician who delivered the child along with some other footage both before and after the birth. You can watch it and judge for yourself as to the relative merits of portable toilets and field hospitals. Maybe you will agree with Richard Silverstein who singled out this birth as problematic.
Silverstein's column has traversed the left-right wormhole and has been published by the neo-Nazi blogger (and David Irving associate) Michael Santomauro at his Reporters Notebook website (read here). Alan Dershowitz read this reposted version of Silverstein's column and blasted it in a column of his own in the Jerusalem Post called "Double Standard Watch: For Bigots, Israel can do no right" (read here). Santomauro, in turn, replied in a barely coherent post alleging that many other nations had set up comparable facilities in Haiti, but that that information was suppressed by CNN because the Jews control the media. Proof? The reporter covering the story was Jewish (read here). Silverstein's column has also been reposted on Russia's Pravda English language forum and the Arab website Uruknet. As has been reported elsewhere (here for example), a Seattle video blogger named T. West has charged Israel with setting up their Haitian field hospital as a means to illegally harvest human organs for transplantation (picking up on last summer's organ theft libel which alleged that the Israeli military hunts and kills Palestinians in order to harvest their organs). This video, although amateurish, has been viewed by 57,000 people on YouTube, and untold thousands elsewhere. A copy of the video is viewable below. Starting at 1:14, West presents some of the CNN reporting showing Israel's contribution to the relief effort. At about 3:09, he takes a different tack:
"People have to be aware of personalities (sic) who are out for money. The IDF has participated in the past in stealing organ transplants (sic) of Palestinians and others. There is little monitoring in such a tragedy as this, so the Haitian people must watch out for their citizens as these international groups come in... Be aware and be cautious of certain groups and certain individuals within those groups who are out for money, and to earn money off of your tragedy."In his comments posted to the YouTube video, T. West reiterates that the IDF organ theft libel is true and further contends that the ADL and news media are involved in a cover-up. The comments made by his supporters must be read to be believed. (Read here.) As regular readers of this blog know, one of the main promoters of the IDF organ theft libel in the U.S. has been Alison Weir, who wrote a widely re-posted column (originally published in Counterpunch) alleging that the Israeli military hunted Palestinians in order to harvest organs for transplantation. Weir literally claimed that Jews historically sacrificed gentile children to use their blood in secret ceremonies -- a charge known as the "blood libel" -- and that the purported organ theft campaign is rooted in this religious sanctioning of ritual murder. (Read more about that here and here.) It appears that T. West's baseless allegations derive at least in part from Weir's column. Now, in a blog post, Alison Weir writes the following concerning the T. West video (read here):
"A number of people have been emailing me to ask my opinion about a youtube video and articles raising the question of Israeli organ harvesting in Haiti, given that I had researched Israeli organ trafficking and theft and had discovered how extremely significant it has been. Regarding Haiti, however, at this point my feeling is that the Israeli team is most likely there largely for humanitarian reasons. At the same time, of course, I suspect that the IDF and Israeli government are fully aware of their use in pro-Israel publicity, as well... However, I think it's good that T.West raised the issue of possible exploitation. Whenever there is chaos, desperation, and money to be made, it is not rare for nefarious activities to take place. It's good for people in such conditions to be vigilant, and for the international community to be alert to the possibility of victims of a tragic natural disaster being victimized still further by human agency."Iran's English language television station, PressTV, is now also promoting the charges and insinuations of Weir and West to their viewers. (Read here.) Their website now features a page bearing a banner headline reading "Israel harvesting organs in Haiti?" illustrated with a photograph of an unconscious patient on a gurney. UPDATE: Chicago blogger Stephen Lendman, who works with the Centre for Research on Globalisation (he's frequently published on their website globalresearch.ca and cohosts their radio program here), has taken the ball from Weir and West and run with it. In an article grossly illustrated with photographs of autopsied corpses and people with bleeding wounds, Lendman writes (here) that
"(Israel's)medical teams apparently are doing it (i.e. stealing organs) in Haiti, exploiting fresh corpses and the living. The Manar TV cited You Tube said (sic) "there are people operating in Haiti who do not have a conscience and are members of the search and rescue teams, including the Israeli occupation forces," far from home harvesting Haitian organs, and the pickings are plentiful. "Apparently, the publicity about providing humanitarian aid is cover for this illicit operation, another crime against humanity among Israel's growing list, matched and exceeded by its Washington benefactor with generations more practice."The Turkish Islamist website İslâmi Davet tells that same tale in a story with the headline "Zionist forces steal organs in Haiti". That story is illustrated with the following: Hezbollah's al-Manar TV has their version of the story here: "After Stealing Palestinian Organs, Now It’s Haiti’s Turn". UPDATE 2 (Jan. 31, 2001): Blogger Richard Silverstein has issued a response to this post. Read about that here.