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Lots o’ Haiti hasbara. O, where to begin?

–"Very interesting piece on ABC News the other night. Diane Sawyer and their medical correspondent did an extended and unflattering comparison between the activities of the Israeli medical team in Haiti and the lack of same by the U.S. military," writes Mike Desch. "Of course, it is great that the IDF responded to this disaster but the piece had a real feel of p.r. to it as well. Israel’s Hasbara crew understands that they have a huge p.r. problem post-Gaza and so they are always on the lookout for opportunities to present Israel in a more favorable light."

–Cynical? Here’s an Israeli doctor making the same analysis:

"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."

"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."

Richard Silverstein has a translation of Dr Donchin’s op-ed on this theme in Yediot here.     

–And today I received the following email: "HOW MANY NEWS REPORTS HAVE YOU SEEN ABOUT THIS??????? Watch this news video from Haiti. It’ll make you proud to be an Israeli and a Jew." Well I’m not an Israeli, but the link is to a CNN report by medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen about an Israeli field hospital in Haiti that is doing work other harum-scarum clinics are not. "I’m just amazed, I’m amazed by what is here… It’s just amazing," says Cohen (and yes I wonder if she’s pro-Israel).

–The other night on Hardball, Andrea Mitchell twice referred to Israel as providing important aid to Haiti, in her list of countries helping out. (I found it disturbing. I thought, She’s Jewish and powerful, why is she thumping the hasbara).

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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