Once in a while I like to slum it by reading Richard Silverstein’s attempts to demonize the Jewish state in which he uses the kind of unscrupulous methods that all decent people would rightly find repugnant. I’ve just fallen into the cesspool of his belief system yet again, reading an article he wrote on Israel’s prompt and effective disaster relief in Haiti after the earthquake there – relief which apparently bothers Silverstein immensely. In an article called “The Zionization of Disaster Relief” he subjects his hapless readers to the anti-Zionization of Disaster relief. That is, he uses an article that is ostensibly about disaster relief in Haiti as a peg on which to hang his anti-Israel beliefs.
Not content with limiting himself to the dishonest accusation that the Jewish state gave this assistance for purely publicity reasons (an accusation that is false but wholly in character for Silverstein) it seems that Silverstein has now set himself up as an expert on aid and has decided for others what is best way to help them – even as he sits on his toochas not actually lifting a finger to help them himself. Specifically he claimed that in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, portable toilets and digging equipment were needed more urgently than a field hospital and doctors. The one thing he omitted was evidence to support this assertion. He also didn’t mention that these other things were also available from other sources more locally based. Nor did he take into account that the Israeli medical team was dispatched before the situation on the ground was clear. Under those circumstances, it was only natural that medical aid was deemed to be the highest priority.
Now Silverstein’s defense would no doubt be that he was actually quoting an article by Yoel Donchin, a former Israeli relief worker who by then worked as Director of Patient Safety at Hadassah hospital. But Silverstein made no effort to interview or read anyone other than this one disgruntled former employee of the Israel army to get anything like a balanced picture. He simply seized upon words that he knew lent themselves to the demonization of the Jewish state, quoted them freely and looked no further – thereby showing his low regard for the truth and his determination to advance his anti-Israel agenda.
Some facts contained in the article are in fact pro-Israel in their import, but they are so cleverly camouflaged as to effectively negate their pro-Israel connotations. And of course Silverstein makes sure to avoid pointing this out, although he editorializes freely before and after quoting the article to stir up negative feelings towards the Jewish state. Take for example the following passage:
“I understood the purpose perfectly when the head of one of the delegations to a disaster zone was asked whether oxygen tanks and a number of doctors could be removed to make room for another TV network’s representatives with their equipment. (With unusual courage, the delegation head refused!)”
So the Israeli head of the delegation refused. In other words he placed the treatment of the injured above the wishes of the press or any public relations considerations. But that cuts no ice in the biased eyes of Silverstein or his equally mendacious source. Because it was “unusual courage.” So there we have it. When Israel does good it’s all for the wrong reason and when their behaviour doesn’t confirm the anti-Israel propaganda it’s “unusual.”
And Silverstein doesn’t stop there. He publishes a comment from a woman claiming that the Israel medical team didn’t even stay a week. He replies that they stayed 11 days, but does not take her to task for her dishonesty. He then claims, without offering any evidence, that they would have had to stay longer to make a difference – conveniently ignoring the fact that by then, many others had come. Next he publishes a comment from another woman claiming that “Zionists have control over the news media.” This woman is a well-known supportive contributor to Silverstein’s blog noted for her rudeness. On another occasion she described a Jewish contributor as having “reptilian skin” without public comment or warning from Silverstein. In contrast he is quick to warn or ban supporters of the Jewish state who use language that he claims to be impolite, as indeed he did a short while later in the thread about Israeli aid to Haiti.
Finally he allows an off-topic posting accusing Israel of selling arms to the Duvaliers in Haiti (going back a bit). Why this historical alleged information is any more relevant than weapons sales to other dictators by Arabs or Communists, he doesn’t say. But let’s not forget that this is the Jewish state and so it suddenly assumes a great relevance to a posting about recent earthquake relief.
And let’s not forget that Silverstein started it off by criticizing Israel for giving medical aid to Haiti. You can draw the appropriate conclusions about his ethics from that.