Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Spain/France: Doctors Without Borders’ anti-Israel crusade

Analysis by 
The organization’s flirtation with Palestinian violence was also on display in September 2015, when MSF-Spain published a short video glorifying 14-year old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi. The video claims disingenuously that “every Friday the village [of Nabi Saleh] demonstrates peacefully” against Israeli policy. This represents a blatant omission of the numerous planned, directed and premeditated violent incidents instigated by the villagers, which include the use of slings and the throwing of rocks at Israeli security forces. Tamimi herself has posted pictures on Facebook of her stone throwing, and she was repeatedly documented while provoking IDF soldiers.

During the video interview, Tamimi is pictured under posters of family members whom she refers to as “martyrs.” One of them, Muataz Washaha, was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and was wanted for planning and carrying out terror attacks across the West Bank. The PFLP is recognized as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union, and its logo is clearly identifiable in the poster that appears in the video.

These examples highlight MSF’s complete political bias regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a willingness to excuse Palestinian violence against Israeli Jews. More outrageous, however, is the complete inappropriateness not just of the views themselves, but the fact that they are being espoused by a medical group. These statements are indicative of a worrying trend whereby NGOs use their humanitarian status as a bully pulpit to push a completely political agenda.

Is wasting money on such propaganda the proper use of funds for a humanitarian organization?

Questions of relevance should be directed not only at MSF, but at its funders as well. In 2014, the organization took in €115 million from institutional donors, mostly European governments, EU bodies, and UN institutions. This includes €40 million from European governments like the UK, France, Germany and others. It is doubtful that these governments sought to create a platform for pro-Palestinian incitement when they donated funds to a medical NGO. What do donors think when they see their money—given for vaccinations and hospital beds—used instead to excuse violence and demonize Israel?

This bastardization of humanitarian aid to spew hate is detrimental to all involved. The demonization of Israel exacerbates tensions and deepens mistrust between Israelis and foreign NGOs, as well as between them and their Palestinians neighbors. As such, these actions do not contribute to the advancing of a peaceful solution to the conflict.

By politicizing medical relief, MSF endangers the life-saving mission it was created to carry out. Universal treatment of patients and helping affected populations are MSF’s raison d’être, and there is much to be done in this field of work. This is also the reason it is generously funded by various countries and institutions. For the good of the organization, the people that it serves and the cause of peace, it should stick to medicine and leave the politics to others.
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