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No Red Star of David:

Today's Wall Street Journal has an editorial (link for subscribers) on Israel's pending admission to the International Red Cross.

After almost six decades of rejection, Israel saw the road cleared yesterday for its emergency and disaster relief organization to join the International Red Cross. The price of admission was relinquishing its symbol, the Red Star of David.

Instead, the Red Cross approved a new "neutral" symbol -- a Red Crystal, which Israel must adopt to become a member, possibly next spring. The Star of David may still be used at home, and on foreign missions it can be put inside the Crystal, provided the host country agrees.

Some maintain that the red cross is not a religious symbol, so this accomodation should be okay. Yet that is not how it is viewed -- which is the reason that the cross was not adopted in Muslim countries, and a red crescent is used instead.

Abdul (mail):
Can agnostic nations use a red question mark?
12.9.2005 10:46am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Could someone please explain the benefits of joining the IRC? Israel can use whatever symbol it wants to mark its medical/humanitarian personnel... All that matters is that they are clearly marked as noncombatants. Is someone actually claiming that a truck marked with a red star of david doesn't qualify for noncombatant protection? What is this really about?
12.9.2005 10:53am
Gene Vilensky (mail) (www):
I'm with Dan Chapman on this one. This seems oddly anti-Semitic. Not just anti-Zionist, but rather anti-Semitic. I'm quite offended and will really reconsider whether I give money to the Red Cross in the future, unless there is a good explanation for this.
12.9.2005 11:00am
HLStudent:
Red cross, red crescent, red crystal. Which one of these things is not like the other?
12.9.2005 11:04am
John Thacker (mail):
I'm quite offended and will really reconsider whether I give money to the Red Cross in the future, unless there is a good explanation for this.

I will point out that the American Red Cross has loudly and repeatedly supported Magen David Adom's admission using their current red Star of David throughout these six decades. The International Committee of the Red Cross feels differently, of course, but please don't let it affect donations to the American Red Cross.
12.9.2005 11:10am
Michael B (mail):
Anti-Semitic? Of course it's anti-Semitic, it's also about other factors including EU styled power politics (both within EU nations and the fact the Intl. Red Cross is headquartered in Europe); raw numbers (presently 13 million Jews in the world, compare that to 15 million in 1933; and then also compare it to Eurabian financial/political interests as well as the number of Arab/Muslims in the region). Raw numbers combined with both active and passive (i.e., apathy) forms of anti-Semitism all sum up to two things: Israel given short shrift and a failure in the West to stand up for a fundamental principle. Prior to Oslo, certainly Oslo itself as well as since that time (e.g., Clinton's Camp David attempt) Israel has been subjected to the effects of pronounced apathy and blunt force power politics.

Another telling contrast given recent events: Gaza Poll: Hamas 45%, Fatah 36%.
12.9.2005 11:26am
AppSocRes (mail):
If a Red Crescent is acceptable, but not a Red Mogen Dovid it seems pretty clear evidence that anti-Judaism still festers in Europe.
12.9.2005 11:31am
Justin (mail):
I do agree that this is anti-semetic, but I think it is unfair to take the antisemetic views of the IRC leadership and attribute them to Europe generally. I remember seeing a poll of the issue in which Europeans felt that Israel should be able to use whatever symbol they wanted.
12.9.2005 11:36am
enthymeme (mail) (www):
The argument that the Red Cross is not an inherently religious symbol holds no water: for the Swiss flag from which it is derived itself has its origins in religious symbolism - that of the Christian faith. As Juan has noted, IRC itself has acknowledged this religiosity when it granted leave for the use of the Red Crescent to its Muslim members. Whyfore the denial of the use of the Star of David to the Magen David Adom? Including the third symbol of the oldest religion of the Book is hardly 'proliferation' is it.
12.9.2005 11:39am
Arthur (mail):
This isn't just about Israel. Kazakhstan, a nation with more than twice the population of Israel, also will now be able to join the international red cross and adopt the red crystal. It has about equal populations of Christians and Muslims, and refuses to favor one group over the other, so it also has been excluded from the International Red Cross until now.

I hope the United States will also adopt the red crystal, in recognition of the substantial Muslim, Jewish, and non-religious minorities here. Fat chance.
12.9.2005 11:54am
enthymeme (mail) (www):
So it appears that a lot of the opposition is due to the Arab and Muslim lobby stonewalling. What a surprise. If so obvious an effect of anti-Semitism can creep its way into the default position of an international organisation purportedly dedicated to 'neutrality', it is not hard to imagine how the same can recur in a body as dysfunctional as the UN.
12.9.2005 11:55am
enthymeme (mail) (www):
Kazakhstan's exclusion on the grounds that it uses BOTH approved symbols of the IRC is nonsensical. It is more likely a red herring insistence on consistency that has led it to is ludicrous position. 'See, we're not really anti-Semitic, we're just sticklers for rules.'

As if.
12.9.2005 12:00pm
JohnAnnArbor:
Iran used to use a red lion: see here

Kazakhstan uses both crescent and cross: see here
12.9.2005 12:34pm
Fern:

The argument that the Red Cross is not an inherently religious symbol holds no water: for the Swiss flag from which it is derived itself has its origins in religious symbolism - that of the Christian faith.

Actually, a cross with equal lenth arms is a symbol of harmony or balance in the univerise and predates the Christian cross by at least 1200 years.
12.9.2005 12:39pm
enthymeme (mail) (www):
Yeah but the Swiss flag on which the Red Cross is based was NOT derived from the cross which you're talking about. Be relevant plz.
12.9.2005 12:44pm
Luis (mail) (www):
1. I heard the NPR story on this and was utterly mystified, because at no point was any mention made of Magen David Adom. I sat in my car wondering, "Haven't these people heard of Magen David Adom? What the hell is this 'Red Crystal' nonsense?" Plus, an interviewee from the ICRC actually claimed that the Red Crescent had no religious significance. Well, if not, why is it used in the Muslim countries exclusively?

2. I don't think the U.S. has a "substantial" minority of either Jews or Muslims. The usual figure I hear is that Jews comprise two percent of the U.S. population, and that there are about three or four million Muslims in America, which is, what, a little over one percent? Does that count as substantial? Or does anyone else have different figures? By contrast, we usually hear that the U.S. is about 75% Christian, which leaves about 23% for "other" and "unspecified". Anyone else have thoughts on this?
12.9.2005 12:49pm
enthymeme (mail) (www):
If the bloody IRC were serious about non-proliferation of symbols it would be adopting the red lozenge for ALL its member states, and make the necessarily emendations to the Geneva Conventions. What is stopping them? On the one hand they are so committed to preventing the Magen David Adom from adopting the red Star of David (reason being that a proliferation of symbols would be inimical to the presentation of the IRC's 'shared identity'), yet on the other hand do not exhibit quite the same degree of enthusiasm when it comes to universally adopting the red diamond for the same rationale. Why? Why.
12.9.2005 12:56pm
Michael B (mail):
The entire and absolutely elemental issue of nationhood, identity, selfhood, etc. is what is at stake here. Israel will presumably accede to this for realpolitik reasons, but it shouldn't have to do so. (And if Kazakhstan wishes to adopt some other symbol, that's up to Kazakhstan and the IRC, but that's an issue which is readily separable from Israel's issue.)

Too, given the Eurabian qualities so obviously evidenced in this decision, the corresponding theme of dhimmitude is likewise apparent. This can be denied, but not on the basis of any reasonable, rational or fully conscious argument.
12.9.2005 1:25pm
enthymeme (mail) (www):
Oh dear, apparently this is old hat. The head of the American Red Cross addressed precisely this issue to one Cornelio Sommaruga, then president of the IRC. His reply:

"If we're going to have the Shield of David, why would we not have to accept the swastika?"

I'm sure he meant the Buddhist swastika. Of course.

What a vile piece of work.
12.9.2005 1:33pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
My question was why Israel needs the IRC to accept their symbol in the first place. I assume that if Israel chooses to mark its medical units with a red Star of David, and those units are targetted, this would violate the law of war whether IRC approves of the symbol or not. I don't think the Geneva Conventions say you have to use an IRC approved symbol... just that they are clearly marked.

Am I wrong? Or is there some other reason why Israel wants IRC approval of their Star?
12.9.2005 1:43pm
Justin (mail):
Daniel, you aren't wrong. The benefits to IRC membership are financial/administrative.
12.9.2005 2:07pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Didn't know that. Thanks, Justin.
12.9.2005 2:08pm
enthymeme (mail) (www):
Art. 8(l): "Distinctive emblem" means the distinctive emblem of the red cross, red crescent or red lion and sun on a white ground when used for the protection of medical units and transports, or medical and religious personnel, equipment or supplies".

But 8(c)(ii) also provides: Medical personnel [includes that of] national Red Cross (Red Crescent, Red Lion and Sun) Societies and other national voluntary aid societies duly recognized and authorized by a Party to the conflict.

It is probably the case that under international law giving practical effect to the provisions would mean that we ought to construe 8(l) to include 'distinctive' symbols other than that explicitly provided for in the Convention, per the so called 'good faith' principle.
12.9.2005 2:13pm
AlanB (mail):

"If we're going to have the Shield of David, why would we not have to accept the swastika?"

I'm sure he meant the Buddhist swastika. Of course.

What a vile piece of work.


Actually, China used to have a Red Swastika Society that was intended to be a Buddhist equivalent of the Red Cross. Not much information on it in English, but here is some info.

As I recally they tried to get approval as an offical symbol. They were turned down for some reason (or maybe for no reason) and after 1949 the issue became moot. They turn up a lot in Chinese newspapers from the 20's and 30's
12.9.2005 2:44pm
Nicole Black (mail) (www):
Seems to me to be a thinly veiled anti-Semitism. But when your hands are tied, and you're in the minority, you do what you gotta do. I expect that, unfortunately, Israel will fold, given the very real political and financial pressures.
12.9.2005 2:46pm
enthymeme (mail) (www):
AlanB, that may well be true. Our friend Cornholio should be afforded the benefit of the doubt then.
12.9.2005 2:54pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
It's old news that the ICRC is blatantly anti-Israel and anti-semitic. This is just more proof. For what it's worth, and as another commenter pointed out, the international red cross should not be confused with the American Red Cross, which has admirably fought for Magen David Adom's admission into the ICRC for some time now. In other words, do not withhold contributions from the American Red Cross on account of the International Committee for the Red Cross's blatant anti-semitism, and caving into the anti-semitism of Muslim states.
12.9.2005 3:12pm
Huck (mail):
This was screwed up many years ago (1929) when the red crescent was allowed, accepting a religious interpretation of the symbol.

They should have chosen the non-religious red crystal back then. Not as an alternative, but as the only symbol.

I see nothing specifically anti-semitic here. Remember that back in 1929 there was introduced a specific symbol for Iran (Red Lion). That was part of the bad decisions back then.

If all the national suvdivisions would use the red crystal, there would be no problem whatsoever.

Of course, there are plentiful resentments against that idea. From everywhere.
12.9.2005 3:22pm
Hal Duston (mail):
The Red Crystal strikes me as a symbol new-age religions. Crystal healing anyone?
12.9.2005 3:45pm
Michael B (mail):
To help avoid any unnecessary controversy this could also be viewed as an adjunct to the perennial Athens/Jerusalem theme. That being said the Red Cross symbol is most typically seen as an inversion of the colors on the Swiss flag. The cross on the Swiss flag has competing interpretations, all of them related to centuries-old Christian interpretations. There's no reason to overly emphasize that, in a contentious manner, but that is the history and the fact is it's Israel who is being forced to suppress a basic aspect of their identity in order to gain admittance. Bigger fish to fry, yes, but that fact need not be denied.
12.9.2005 4:17pm
Epicurean Stoic (mail):
To respond to a previous comment, the Crescent was never used as a symbol of early Islam. It was adopted by the Ottoman Turks as an Imperial symbol of sorts after the conquest of Constantinople.

However the crescent has taken on a religious symbolism of sorts in the modern era. Most muslims likely don't grasp the historical background of the crescent, and consider the identification of the crescent with Islam to be something which has always been done.

That all being said, preventing the Red Shield from using the Star of David is ridiculous. This really is anti-semitism in a really petty form. Regardless of how one feels about the policies of Israel, preventing an organization dedicated to saving lives from using a readily identifiable symbol that has significant meaning to said organization is idiotic.

And in regards to Kazakhistan, why not just let them use both the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. If they want to incorpoate the symbols of both major religious groups into their insignia there is no defensible reason to ban them from doing so.

I could understand a desire to have some sort of clearly identifiable insignia for all IRC workers. Why not just place the relevant symbol Cross, Crescent or Star of David inside a red crystal? It seems unfair to single out the Israelis for different treatment.

Given how utterly minor this point is, and the numerous other worthy endeavors the Red Cross could turn its attention to, I am starting to question the sanity of the IRCs governing body.
12.9.2005 7:10pm
Syd (mail):
Now the Red Star can go back to being the symbol of Jewish communism and Israel can celebrate the Red Diamond, the international symbol of the baseball union.
12.9.2005 10:52pm
Barry P. (mail):
As mentioned above, the Red Cross is derived from the colour inversion of the Swiss flag. The white cross on the red background comes directly from the Imperial flag of the Holy Roman Empire, where the cross clearly had a Chrstian connection: the Emperor was defender of the Christian faith. (BTW, this style of cross is called a "Greek Cross", as opposed to a Scandanavian cross which extends to the edges of the flag.)

The crescent was the symbol of the city of Byzantium before the time of Christ (possibly in reference to the moon-goddess, Diana). Byzantium became Constantinople, and the cresent stayed at its symbol. When Osman conquered Constantinople, he adopted it as the symbol of the Ottoman Empire. So basically, a pagan icon became a symbol of Islam via a somewhat secular process. It is only coincidental that many aspects of Islam are connected to the moon (or more specifically, the lunar calendar).

So one could argue that since the cross refers to the son of a god, and the crescent to a pagan godess. But since the Star of David to somebody who was unambigiuously not supernatural, it is the least religious (or Godly) of the three possible symbols :-)
12.10.2005 9:47am
DustyR (mail) (www):
Gee, I can't see why the IRC, embedded in the heart of devoutly "Christian" Europe would think the IRC symbol does not represent a Cross ... Now.

I won't hold my breath waiting to see the IRC send out their 'Oops!' letter to Red Crescent requesting replacement of the crescent with some innocuous geometric shape not considered symbolic by people of some 80 nations with one thing in common.
12.10.2005 1:24pm
Michael B (mail):
"So one could argue that since the cross refers to the son of a god, and the crescent to a pagan godess. But since the Star of David to somebody who was unambigiuously not supernatural, it is the least religious (or Godly) of the three possible symbols :-)"

Mirabile dictu! Then the IRC, which has for decades variously sought to deny/erase any religious symbolism or connotations from its own history/identity, could adopt the Star of David universally and therein further erase the nefarious (i.e., religious) connotations from their identity. If not ideal (i.e., a "year zero" solution), problem solved nonetheless.

More seriously, the problem here is substantial and should not be elided. To be admitted into the IRC Israel, and Israel alone, has been required to (consciously) deny or at least suppress a fundamental aspect of her identity. Too, this is being done not within the scope of de facto power politics, but within the scope of a de jure, or at least institutional and quasi-de jure, category.

As persons and individuals we all face, to one degree or another, personal and professional slights which are all part of the "rough and tumble of life". Too, nation/states, in their own interplay of de facto power politics, competing for land, business contracts and recognition, etc., all face similar "rough and tumble" realities. At some level that all needs to be accepted as an inescapable aspect of life's challenges and realism.

However, when it is singularly required of a nation/state to consciously deny or occlude an elemental aspect of its formative identity in a de jure or quasi-de jure manner in order to gain "acceptance" in a primary international institution, especially one whose sole driving avowed purpose is humanitarian, then something very fundamental, and even formidably so, is awry. If this needs to be swallowed (and it's not at all clear why it does need to be swallowed), then it should not be swallowed without a fully conscious recognition of what is being required of Israel.

This is not "merely" a single instance of perfidy, such as is represented in this photo, taken at a recent soccer game in Germany, this is a formal, institutional, international, virtually de jure mandate requiring dis-identity on the part of Israel. What is occurring here, with Israel and the IRC, is of some moment, of some import. It should not be taken lightly or unthoughtfully or mindlessly.
12.10.2005 2:31pm
Michael B (mail):
belated h/t, I Am A Donut for the German soccer crowd photo
12.10.2005 2:37pm
jgshapiro (mail):
What is the relationship between the IRC and the ARC?

Is there any relationship at all?
12.11.2005 2:17pm
Penta:
jgshapiro: The ARC is the American member of the IRC.

ARC provides a decent chunk of the IRC's funding, too.

Anyhow, more specifically, some things people are forgetting:

1. The vote was 98-27-10 (And 57 societies didn't even bother to show up to vote). Don't blame the Europeans either. They all showed up and voted in the affirmative.

2. The MDA is not, repeat not being scrapped. The requirements are 3-pronged.

A. As an indicative mark (IE, saying "This is an ambulance from MDA"), for domestic use, MDA can still use the MDA alone, once they let the Swiss Government (as the depositary government) know along with the ratification of the Third Protocol. Fairly simple, the Swiss just nod and say "Yeah, OK, filed away in the archives, have fun." They then let everybody else signed up know.

B. As an indicative mark for INTERNATIONAL use (for example, on relief missions in other countries), the MDA is usable WITHIN the Red Crystal. Again, MDA lets the Swiss know, and they get the agreement of the locals.

C. It is ONLY as a protective mark ("Don't shoot at me") that the MDA is a nono and must be replaced by the Red Crystal alone. This makes sense when you think about it: The whole point of the protective mark is that there are certain symbols, globally, that a combatant (say, a combat pilot or an infantryman), whom one would assume is rather busy fighting, can recognize instantly as being protective marks.

3. If they were going to let the MDA symbol in, they would have to let all the other ideas (see the Red Swastika that India and Sri Lanka (it's a fairly traditional symbol over there, with no negative connotations in the culture) wanted in the 70s), too. And the point of the protective mark would be defeated.

The Kazakhs and Ethiopians were denied because using both at once is NOT a smart idea. From a distance, the eye may well merge the two. Ergo, that's not visually distinctive.

4. It's not about MDA alone; MDA just got most obviously hit, and was the most difficult situation. Yes, a lot of the opposition to MDA was political, coming from Arab and Muslim countries. (The other two no votes were Cuba and China. I have no idea why.) But the opposition to putting the MDA in as a third symbol was because you would, inevitably, have to add more, say for other religions. And the ICRC has been TRYING to convince everyone since 1864 that the Red Cross had no religious meaning; Though that's never gone anywhere (see the Red Crescent), they still try. To allow the MDA would be to surrender on the issue, not something they want to do.

In short: Calm down.
12.11.2005 2:51pm
Bob Schmidt:
That's right people, CALM DOWN, this is only minor anti-Semitism!

Penta would prefer you wait until the ovens are heating up before you start speaking out against it...
12.12.2005 1:40am
tefta (mail):
Heck, I'm offended and I'm not even Jewish. The Star of David has very long and proud history. To toss it out in favor of crystals, symbols of witches and space cadet new agers, is complete craziness.

If the IRC changed its name and symbol to something all the world's religions could agree on, okay I'd go for that, but not this.

I've supported Israel since its inception, but am often baffled by their actions, like this one for instance.
12.12.2005 1:34pm
Michael B (mail):
"In short: Calm down." Penta

In short: you have one or two things right, but there's a whole lota b.s. (blandishments and silliness) there as well.

Firstly, a request for "calm" is misplaced. What is being suggested is not a lack of calm, to the contrary clarity and a fully conscious awareness, an apperception, of what has transpired is being suggested. Or put differently, "calm" should not - and need not - be confused with any type of sedated or distorted view of what has taken place at the IRC.

"ARC provides a decent chunk of the IRC's funding ..."

Yes, and a fundamental reason as to why this initiative occurred in the first place was because the ARC has been withholding substantial funds from the IRC for several years now. Money talks. This and other ARC lobbying efforts were likely a primary factor, excerpt:

"When she began her [ARC] tenure, [Dr. Bernadine] Healy said the Star of David emblem should be recognized by the International Red Cross.

"The exclusion of the Israelis is 'a betrayal of the sacred principles of this movement' and 'cannot be tolerated any longer,' she said."

"The vote was 98-27-10 (And 57 societies didn't even bother to show up to vote). Don't blame the Europeans either. They all showed up and voted in the affirmative."

Firstly, when the Red Crescent was formally accepted in 1929 and reaffirmed in 1983, no vote was necessary as a decision was reached simply by consensus. In fact, votes concerning these matters are virtually unprecedented. As one Swiss govt. official put it: "The protocol has just been adopted. Unfortunately it was not possible to adopt the protocol by consensus ..." and as the Syrian ambassador put it: "Unfortunately, it is the first time in the history of international human rights law that an international convention of this importance has been put to a vote." (I.e., Syria and others indicated they were feeling coerced since concensus had not been reached and the vote was needed in this instance, for Israel and MDA.)

Secondly, what was voted on was itself a diminution of MDA's and Israel's recognition within the IRC. The red Star of David cannot be used in battlefield situations and cannot be used in other countries without their individual and formal authorizations, this itself is in contrast to how the Red Cross and Red Crescent symbols are used.

"The MDA is not, repeat not being scrapped."

Yes, and the U.N. is not requiring Israel to replace its blue Star of David on its national flag with a blue diamond. Mirabile dictu! But if that's deemed a "victory," then it's difficult to imagine what a defeat might be. The very fact this type of thing is even mentioned, as if it represents something positive, is a reflection of how low we're willing to set the bar in the first place, for Israel and MDA, not for any other nation.

"As an indicative mark for INTERNATIONAL [use] ... the MDA is usable WITHIN the Red Crystal. Again, MDA lets the Swiss know, and they get the agreement of the locals."

Yes, handled above, but that's certainly a "diplomatic" and creative way to frame MDA's and Israel's second tier status.

"If they were going to let the MDA symbol in, they would have to let all the other ideas (see the Red Swastika that India and Sri Lanka (it's a fairly traditional symbol over there, with no negative connotations in the culture) wanted in the 70s), too."

Vide, this Charles Krauthammer report concerning Cornelio Sommaruga's reference to the swastika. Extened excerpt follows:

"The incident occurred in November 1999 in Geneva. Dr. Bernadine Healy, then head of the American Red Cross, had made a passionate speech questioning the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for having denied entry to Israel for 50 years. Sommaruga confronted her in a private meeting shortly thereafter. Eyes bulging and furious, Sommaruga said to her, 'If we're going to have the Shield of David, why would we not have to accept the swastika?'

"I first cited this incident in a column two years ago .... Now that it has come back to haunt Sommaruga and Annan, they have gone into high damage control. The result is a train wreck.

"Edward Mortimer, Annan's director of communications, claims (Washington Post, April 29) that this statement was taken out of context. His witness is one Alan Baker, an Israeli diplomat. Nice touch. Baker, he says, 'was present during this conversation.' Mortimer then quotes the Jerusalem Post quoting Baker, calling any casting of aspersions on Sommaruga 'a vile manipulation of something said in a different context.'

"I checked the statement that Baker made to the Jerusalem Post. It reads: 'I know the context because I was there. When we were talking about adding additional emblems in the Red Cross movement, Sommaruga remembered that the old historic Indian symbol of the swastika, before it was used by the Nazis, was proposed as a humanitarian red cross symbol.'

"This is a howler. First, Baker was never at the meeting. I verified this with Bernadine Healy, who was. Her notes confirm her recollection, as does the colleague who was in the room with her during the meeting.

"Second, it is obvious that Baker was not at the meeting because his account contradicts the account given by the very person he is trying to defend--Cornelio Sommaruga. On the same page of the Washington Post that carries Mortimer's letter, there appears a letter from Sommaruga claiming that what he said to Dr. Healy was: 'Would you be ready to accept the swastika as requested by Sri Lanka?'

"The defendants cannot seem to get their stories straight. Baker said it was a discussion of pre-Nazi Indian religious symbols. Sommaruga says he was talking about Sri Lanka, a country that did not even come into existence until Nazism had been dead for three years, and did not change its name from Ceylon to Sri Lanka until 1972. So which is it, gentlemen?"

[...]

"Nonsense. As Dr. Healy wrote the Washington Post (April 5, 2000), 'Mr. Sommaruga's statement was . . . in essence, if Israel's humanitarian organization, Magen David Adom, was allowed to use the red shield of David as its symbol, what was to stop someone from using the swastika? Sadly, his statement was made without context. Only after I expressed my astonishment did he invoke an example of a country that might wish to use such a symbol (SriLanka . . .).'

"Healy was so astonished by this statement that she asked the ICRC to tell her when Sri Lanka had asked to use the swastika. She was told vaguely that perhaps it had occurred sometime in the 1950s, but no documentation was produced.

"In any case, you don't just front up to the ICRC window and ask for admission of your symbol. You have to show that the symbol has already been in humanitarian use. Palestinian Jews had been using the red Star of David for years even before the state of Israel came into existence. Did Sri Lankan ambulances sport the swastika?

"In fact, the only country to use the swastika in its Red Cross emblem was Nazi Germany. Its (internal) humanitarian emblem was the black eagle with the swastika over its heart, and its talons clutching the Red Cross below."

References to other aspects of your post are available here, here, here, here, here and here. The manner in which Arab/Muslim states were able to derail the consensus is also reminiscent of what occurred in Durban or what has occured for years in Sudan. Other scenarios could be mentioned as well.

It may well be better for Israel to be in the IRC than outside looking in, such that cooperation and change can be effected from within. I'm inclined to agree, but not at the cost of a clear-eyed apperception of what has transpired with this vote and diminution in lieu of a consensus and co-equal status of MDA/Israel within the IRC. Too, and obviously enough, merely being an unthinking mouth piece for Sommaruga's and Annan's propaganda and revisionist claims does nothing to forward that clarity. Sommaruga's and Annan's propaganda, as one example only, gets repeated often enough by Hollywood, the MSM and other conduits; a little fact checking is in order.
12.12.2005 3:40pm
Michael B (mail):
Perhaps in closing here, a rhetorical question: Why is all this important? After all, all we're talking about here is the Red Cross/Red Crescent society and the humanitarian interests they engage in and profess allegiance to. While this is obvious to some, all this is important because it amply reflects (even within an institution whose avowed purpose is humanitarian) the machinations and deceits resulting from a byzantine complex of varied ideological interests and praxis.

Daniel Pipes, today in an article entitled [Kofi Annan and] Eliminating Israel Politely gets to the heart of much of what is occurring in the world of oleagenous, trans-nationalist "diplomacy". Much as the IRC professes an interest "simply in humanitarian work," similarly the U.N. is avowedly "simply interested in peace and comity" within the international community.

And in Brooklyn I have a bridge I'd like to sell.
12.13.2005 1:53pm
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