Haiti Gaza (II)

on 40 Comments

Phil is not the only one making the connection between the international outpouring of support for Haiti, and the general official indifference towards the suffering in Gaza. Akiva Eldar sees it as well:

The remarkable identification [among Israelis] with the victims of the terrible tragedy in distant Haiti only underscores the indifference to the ongoing suffering of the people of Gaza. Only a little more than an hour’s drive from the offices of Israel’s major newspapers, 1.5 million people have been besieged on a desert island for two and a half years. Who cares that 80 percent of the men, women and children living in such proximity to us have fallen under the poverty line? How many Israelis know that half of all Gazans are dependent on charity, that Operation Cast Lead created hundreds of amputees, that raw sewage flows from the streets into the sea?

The Israeli newspaper reader knows about the baby pulled from the wreckage in Port-au-Prince. Few have heard about the infants who sleep in the ruins of their families’ homes in Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces prohibition of reporters entering the Gaza Strip is an excellent excuse for burying our heads in the sand of Tel Aviv’s beaches; on a good day, the sobering reports compiled by human rights organizations such as B’Tselem, Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel on the situation in Gaza are pushed to the newspapers’ back pages. To get an idea of what life is like in the world’s largest prison, one must forgo "Big Brother" and switch to one of the foreign networks.

The disaster in Haiti is a natural one; the one in Gaza is the unproud handiwork of man. Our handiwork. The IDF does not send cargo planes stuffed with medicines and medical equipment to Gaza. The missiles that Israel Air Force combat aircraft fired there a year ago hit nearly 60,000 homes and factories, turning 3,500 of them into rubble. Since then, 10,000 people have been living without running water, 40,000 without electricity. Ninety-seven percent of Gaza’s factories are idle due to Israeli government restrictions on the import of raw materials for industry. Soon it will be one year since the international community pledged, at the emergency conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, to donate $4.5 billion for Gaza’s reconstruction. Israel’s ban on bringing in building materials is causing that money to lose its value.

Steve Nasatir, President of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, sees the connection too, or maybe at least a chance to change the subject:

“In supporting [the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee] and IsraAID, we are not only helping the Haitian people,” said Steve Nasatir, President of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. “We also are spotlighting the Jewish people and Israel in a part of the world that might not otherwise be positively exposed to the compassion of Jewish people and the Jewish State.”

40 Responses

  1. radii
    January 17, 2010, 11:53 pm

    for all the outpouring of sympathy for Haitians somehow they don’t have a problem with the new war coming against Lebanon:
    link to news.xinhuanet.com

    … or the new one against Gaza, and possibly one against the West Bank too

  2. MRW
    January 18, 2010, 1:52 am

    “We also are spotlighting the Jewish people and Israel in a part of the world that might not otherwise be positively exposed to the compassion of Jewish people and the Jewish State.”

    Co-opting another catastrophe. ME! ME! ME!

    Have any other donors yelped about their goodness in sending aid? Despicable.

    • Avi
      January 18, 2010, 4:42 am

      Can you imagine an individual donating to charity or to cancer research and then writing down the amount he donated on a huge sign that reads “I donated $450,000 for _____” (fill in the blank), in bold font and affixing it to a van and then driving around town bragging about it?

      That’s what Israel does over and over, shamelessly.

      If states were individuals, the ones that brag would be said to be compensating for some deficiency. If states were individuals, the ones that abuse a weaker person would be handed a restraining order or told “pick on someone your own size”.

      But, it seems that all standards of common decency and respect go out the window once political entities are involved. Or, perhaps there are two types of states in the world, gangs and boy scouts.

  3. Rehmat
    January 18, 2010, 4:40 am

    Both Haiti and Palestine are some of the many world tragedies created by the colonial powers. However, Haiti, like few other natural clamities provides the same powers to use sufferings of their own victims as a PR opportunity. The US owes Haitians billions of dollars for its its actions of the past 200 years to break-up the country for its own greed.

    Now while some western countries are shedding their tears over Haiti – they are busy in creating even greater tragedies in the other parts of the world.

    Hands Off Islamic Iran!
    link to rehmat1.wordpress.com

  4. MRW
    January 18, 2010, 5:36 am

    The last two paragraphs from WaPo’s “Haiti’s elite spared from much of the devastation”, which is really disheartening if you’ve donated, as I have: link to z.pe

    For better or worse, it will likely be the residents of Petionville who through their government connections, trading companies and interconnected family businesses will receive a large portion of U.S. and international aid and reconstruction money.

    After a service at St. Louis Catholic Church in Port-au-Prince early Sunday, Yva Souriac was warning fellow parishioners what would come next with international assistance. “They only give the aid money to the same big families, over and over. So I ask, what is the point? They have given money to these families to help Haiti for 50 years, and look at Haiti. I say the Americans need to make up a new list.”

  5. Citizen
    January 18, 2010, 5:36 am

    Obama pledges 100m to Haiti, 30b to Israel and 10t to Bankers/Wallstreet. Just so we keep our priorities straight.

    • Citizen
      January 18, 2010, 5:48 am

      Here’s an American Iraq occupation veteran speaking out, quite the big picture you won’t see on American TV:
      link to palestinethinktank.com

      • MRW
        January 18, 2010, 6:04 am

        Prysner’s talk is a must-see. YouTube has one that shows him athe the the convention where he gave the talk.

    • MRW
      January 18, 2010, 6:02 am

      Excellent point, Citizen. That S.F.-based artist who adds Israeli facts to ads should use this.

    • Citizen
      January 18, 2010, 6:05 am

      Here’s the scoop on USA as Mister Generous Humanitarian:
      link to counterpunch.org

  6. AreaMan
    January 18, 2010, 6:32 am

    Haiti was not sending rockets into Israel, Hamas was. That’s one difference.
    Another is that the number of deaths in Haiti is 10 or 100 times the number from Cast Lead.
    If Haitians were as well fed as Gazans, there wouldn’t be such an emergency.
    There is nothing threatening to anybody in preventing further deaths in Haiti, which are ongoing. Haiti isn’t going to turn around and attack the helping nations. And they aren’t going to construct weapons out of the supplies provided.

    • MRW
      January 18, 2010, 7:44 am

      Oh puleeze: “If Haitians were as well fed as Gazans, there wouldn’t be such an emergency.”

      Do you comprehend how idiotic you sound, when the concern is potable water in that heat, the risk of disease because bodies are lying in the impassable streets, and equipment that can’t get in to move the rubble to find the living?

    • MRW
      January 18, 2010, 7:50 am

      Israel’s starving of the Gazans during the past year has become a humanitarian crisis.
      Oxfam issued a report about it less than four weeks ago.

    • Michael Weiz
      January 18, 2010, 8:18 am

      The problem in Haiti is very much a failed nation, so attacks on Aid Workers as they struggle to distribute supplies is exactly what is happening.

      Gaza is very different, it’s not exactly safe but Hamas exerts maximum effort to protect visitors and provide security to it’s own people, even as Israel mass-murders it’s policemen and flattens it’s prisons and police-stations with their F-15s.

      • MRW
        January 18, 2010, 8:43 am

        Michael, Prez Clinton said the other day that his work with the new Haitian President had produced a workable solution and solid plan going forward that was obliterated by the earthquake; further, that he was expecting to be in Haiti last week to kickstart all the new policies and economic reforms worked out with the Haitian Prez for whom he had a high regard.

        For another perspective on what’s going on in Haiti, check this out from a journalist who lives there:
        link to z.pe and link to z.pe
        Also, liked your post at January 18, 2010 at 8:02 am below.

    • Julian
      January 18, 2010, 5:04 pm

      You have to understand that hatred of Israel is their religion and they are fanatics.
      Haiti has zero to do with Gaza but that’s the big story right now and they are trying to piggy back their cause onto it. Of course , like always they will fail.

  7. Elliot
    January 18, 2010, 7:11 am

    I’ve seen three reports on TV about aid for Haiti. Each one showed the Israeli army amidst the Haitian rubble (even if they were not always identified in the report). I wonder what air time other delegations are getting.
    As one of the three highest paid not-for-profit fundraisers in Chicago, Nasatir gets right to the emotional heart of this drive. It’s all about Jewish identity – which is bound up in Israel’s image in the world.
    Some twenty years ago, when I was on the Israeli military’s PR team, I did a piece on the Israeli army’s rescue team following the earthquake in Yerevan, Armenia. This feels the same. A rightwing ffamily emmber picked up this one without missing a beat. “Israel gave all this; what have the Arabs done”. Now, as then, it’s about using Haiti to burnish Israel’s ‘brand.’

    • MRW
      January 18, 2010, 7:36 am

      And Israeli rescue workers are already being quoted in print. One proclaimed the search for the living over with because of dehydration. “Oh yay, we can all go home.” They only got there last Friday, in the middle of the fucking day, and their Haiti rescue experts?

      The Canadians were first on the scene the next day with huge military cargo planes filled with helicopters, medical supplies, rescue and medical teams, water, and food. They beat us to the punch. And they brought along $5 million in cash to help out. A Canadian under the rubble texted Ottawa as soon as the earthquake happened that she needed help, and they were out the door.

      Burnish Israel’s brand? No, it’s burning it.

      • potsherd
        January 18, 2010, 10:24 am

        And the Chabadniks, in the midst of the devastation, going door to door looking for Jews, to hand out challah and Shabbat wine.

    • Julian
      January 18, 2010, 5:06 pm

      How much money has the Arab league contributed to Haiti?

      • Cliff
        January 18, 2010, 5:17 pm

        Dunno, find out for us sugar-tits.

      • tree
        January 18, 2010, 6:11 pm

        Please shut up about this, Julian. It only makes you look petty. If you really want the answer you can look it up. Here’s a free start for you:

        link to irinnews.org

        Just for you, I’ve actually wasted a few moments of my time and so far have found out that Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and UAE, have all contributed to relief efforts. Aid has also come from Turkey, Iran and Morocco. I can’t vouch for any other country but I’m not foolish enough to think that just because I can’t google any news articles of confirmation it means that no such aid exists. Life does exist outside of google searches.

        And here’s another hint. Try looking up the info this way: “Insert Country Name Here” + aid to haiti

        If you try looking up “arab aid to haiti” chances are that most of the hits you will get will be from other petty people asking the same stupid question.

  8. Michael Weiz
    January 18, 2010, 8:02 am

    Look at Haiti and you see a failed state – look at Gaza and you see a nation that Israel and the US (and the EU) wants to make a failed state – but one where, so far at least, Hamas has successfully resisted all their efforts.

    Because make no mistake, aim of Operation Cast Lead was to make Gaza ungoverned and ungovernable. That’s why they murdered the policemen first and then targetted all government buildings. That’s what Sharon was trying to do in 2002 when he flattened all the prisons and police stations, make security impossible. The Palestinians even lost all record of the bad guys they had locked up, whereas in Haiti the paperwork is probably recoverable.

    This is the policy of Israel, and it goes right back to 1946 (blowing up the King David Hotel) and much earlier than that. Destroy every form of organisation they cannot control – and that’s why Israel threatens us all so much more than does, say, Darfur or China or even North Korea.

    • Richard Witty
      January 18, 2010, 8:11 am

      I think they wanted uprising, regime-change, not chaos perse.

      • Chaos4700
        January 18, 2010, 10:52 am

        Racists of a feather, flock together.

    • Citizen
      January 18, 2010, 8:51 am

      Caroline Glick has a different take; she thinks the recent international Free Gaza march by over a thousand people from 40 different countries was motivated by
      rabid “Pro-Palestine” nut jobs–here’s a response by one of those nut jobs:
      link to paltelegraph.com

      • Citizen
        January 18, 2010, 9:02 am

        Glick probably assumes Amnesty International is just another case of “Pro-Palestine”
        nut jobs:
        link to paltelegraph.com

    • Psychopathic god
      January 18, 2010, 10:59 am

      This is the policy of Israel, and it goes right back to 1946 (blowing up the King David Hotel) and much earlier than that. Destroy every form of organisation they cannot control – and that’s why Israel threatens us all so much more than does, say, Darfur or China or even North Korea.

      Michael Weiz: please add Iran to that list.

    • Julian
      January 18, 2010, 5:16 pm

      “Destroy every form of organisation they cannot control”

      Did they go after the IRS yet? How about the NFL. I forgot they control the NFL.

      • Cliff
        January 18, 2010, 5:18 pm

        Please go back to copy-pasting fascist right-wing sites. You’re more amusing at least.

  9. Richard Witty
    January 18, 2010, 9:00 am

    “The disaster in Haiti is a natural one; the one in Gaza is the unproud handiwork of man. Our handiwork. The IDF does not send cargo planes stuffed with medicines and medical equipment to Gaza.”

    Fixable by humans motivated to do good. Militancy confuses the effort.

    Its an important question for solidarity whether they want improvement in Palestinians’ lives or political agitation (knowing that it is more difficult to help a neighbor that is shooting or only yelling at you – that you are racist for self-governing).

    • Citizen
      January 18, 2010, 9:07 am

      I guess there’s never been a historical case where racism was not interlocked with
      self-governance. No one and/or no entity can ever be a racist one through self-governing?

  10. MRW
    January 18, 2010, 10:37 am

    Read this from a US doctor in Haiti:
    link to huffingtonpost.com

  11. Psychopathic god
    January 18, 2010, 10:56 am

    looked at another way:
    comparative statistics, Haiti and Israel:
    population: H: 9.03 million I: 7.23 million
    area, land: H: 27,56o sq km I: 21,642 sq km
    area, water: H: 190 sq km I: 430 sq km
    population density: H: 328/sq km I: 334/sq km
    per capita income: H: $1300 I: $20,000
    US Foreign aid, 2009: H: $0* I: (est) $3 billion**
    per cap foreign aid: H: $0 I: $415

    *US has been Haiti’s largest foreign aid donor since 1973. Between 1995 and 1999, US contributed approx. $884 m to Haiti. No aid was sent between 1999 and 2004 “because political instability made it unlikely that aid would be distributed properly.” [source: wiki] Same source: in 2004, US promised $260m in aid to Haiti thru 2006. Unknown if promise was fulfilled.

    **”Since the 1970s, Israel has been one of the top recipients of US foreign aid.” [source: wiki] Between 1949 and 1996, Israel received $68billion; in the period 1997-1999 (when Haiti received a max. of $884m), Israel received $9.2billion; from 2000 to 2007, Israel received just under $24billion in aid. This aid does not include some $7.9 billion in loans and another $31.4 b in loan guarantees, nor does it account for Israeli benefits from access to the Federal Reserve credit window.

    Number of Haitians who have spied on US: 0
    Number of Israelis who have spied on US: 5?
    Number of American sailors killed by Haitian attacks: 0
    Number of American sailors killed by Israeli attacks: 34
    Number of cross-border attacks waged by Haitians: 0
    Number of cross-border attacks waged by Israelis: 5

  12. potsherd
    January 18, 2010, 11:00 am

    Even Ynet chimes in: link to ynetnews.com

    Magen David Adom is already seeking donations in the US in order to fund its operations in Haiti. Hence, a truly powerful reason is required for stretching our resources all the way to Haiti, when many children in Gaza, a driving distance from central Israel, require urgent hospitalization. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate and just to provide them with an Israeli field hospital? In Haiti, one of the local gangs may take apart the Israeli hospital and sell the equipment on the black market. In Gaza it will be safeguarded, used, and possibly bring down the level of hostility a little.

    Israel does not bear much responsibility for Haiti, with the exception of the general responsibility every person bears for others. Yet it does bear indirect responsibility for Gaza.

    The Gaza Strip is ruled by a murderous terror organization, yet dozens of innocent children were killed there during Operation Cast Lead. Without taking anything away from the wonderful dedication and volunteer spirit shown by Israeli teams in Haiti, they should not be surprised to be challenged by the provocative question: Have you been to Gaza already?

    It’s hard to get rid of the feeling that the desire to “make an impression” played a key role in the Israeli government’s decision to dispatch hundreds of aid workers to Haiti. The impression which Israel’s assistance will make on the conscience of the world (it won’t be impressed much,) the impression to be made on Israel’s citizens by the quick deployment of the army to a remote site (as a display of our ability to face any trouble,) and of course the impression to be conveyed by Israeli journalists in Haiti. After all, the miserable Haiti is in our hands now, isn’t it?

    • Psychopathic god
      January 18, 2010, 11:21 am

      It’s hard to get rid of the feeling that the desire to “make an impression” played a key role in the Israeli government’s decision to dispatch hundreds of aid workers to Haiti.

      Yes, that and as a distraction from Israel’s incursions into and over Lebanon (hat tip to a Mondoweiss commenter who has been warning of this eventuality)

      nb. no mention of the Lebanon incursions were found in US MSM. surprise.

      link to daily.pk
      link to news.xinhuanet.com

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