Monday, 18 January 2010

Helping Haiti

Akiva Elder is a Haaretz journalist I usually admire. But I'm less sure of his op-ed today, which you can read here.

Entitled 'Israel's compassion in Haiti can't hide our ugly face in Gaza', the basic premise of his argument is that Israel's compassion in Haiti only underscores Israelis' indifference to suffering in Gaza.

True though this may be, it's the wrong - offensive, even - message to take from Israel's actions. Israel's efforts to alleviate suffering in Haiti have been impressive and commendable. They ought to be aplauded. Instead, Eldar has used them as an easy launchpad to criticize Israel.

Of course the form of Eldar's argument could be used every time Israel did anything good: I.e, 'Israel's good action here only underscores her bad action there'. Israel, like any country or individual, ought to be encouraged when they do something good and not attacked for having done wrong elsewhere. By all means criticize, but why embed that criticism within any praise for any action - however unrelated?

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