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Letters from Jewish Australia

MAGEN DAVID ADOM AND THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS (IRC)

by George Adamowicz

11th November 2001, 26 Heshvan 5762

Israel, as a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, is a member of the International Red Cross. Its status, however, has remained that of observer only, supposedly because of its insistence that it be allowed to use the Star of David as its symbol. The IRC - for political and possibly antisemitic reasons - only recognises the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Israel has been supported in its efforts to attain full membership in the IRC by the US Red Cross. This is not as widely known as it should be. Some good background can be found in an article in Tuesday's (October 30th) Washington Post by former US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger "A Tragedy - Red Cross Double Cross"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51791-2001Nov6.html

The Australian Red Cross should also take a stand on this issue. To help bring matters to a head, whenever I receive a letter from the Red Cross soliciting funds, I will send a note back in their reply-paid envelope stating that until Israel's Magen David Adom is recognized by the organization, I will withhold any contributions and will advise everyone I know to do the same.

If you agree please send this to everyone on your list. It may help get Magen David Adom back on the funded list of that organization and they sorely need the help.

I also suggest you read the "postcards" at http://www.ajc.org/aa/red_cross.asp and if you agree, "sign" and mail them (to the president of the IRC in Geneva, and H.R.H. Princess Margriet of the Netherlands who chairs the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Eagleburger writes about Dr. Bernadine Healy's resignation as president of the American Red Cross. She discovered that the American Red Cross had acquiesced for decades in the policy of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent to oppose accepting Magen David Adom....

She spoke against the federation's anti-Israeli stance in Geneva, the home of the federation, and stirred up a hornet's nest of denials of wrongdoing, complaints against her lack of diplomatic finesse and charges that her methods just "weren't done" in Geneva.

Eagleburger says that he "saw at firsthand the conspiracy of silence and obfuscation deployed against the American Red Cross's efforts to at least get the issue thoroughly aired before members of the federation and the public."

As a result, he "recommended that the American Red Cross withhold its dues from the Federation. We have no business supporting an immoral policy that looks and smells too much like the infamous policies of the 1930's and 1940's...."

He concludes that at "a time when the United States and the civilized world are at war with extremism, it would be an inexcusable mistake for a leading humanitarian organization like the American Red Cross to succumb to political pressure and drop its principled opposition to policies of exclusion and intolerance."

We can and should play our parts in this issue.

Regards
George Adamowicz


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