Haiti aid agencies accused of ‘jostling for position’ (Isarel improving its warcrime brand!)

Lancet editorial accuses NGOs of putting their own interests above those of the quake victims whom they claim to help.

Aid agencies have been accused of “jostling for position” and putting their own interests above those of the victims in the Haiti earthquake.

In a caustic editorial today, the respected medical journal, the Lancet, attacked the way charities and other non-governmental organisations have clamoured for attention in the wake of the disaster.

“NGOs are rightly mobilising, but also jostling for position, each claiming that they are doing the most for earthquake survivors,” it said.

The Lancet did not name any aid agencies, many of which lost staff members in the disaster, but it questioned the way several have claimed to be “spearheading” relief efforts.

“As we only too clearly see, the situation in Haiti is chaotic, devastating, and anything but co-ordinated,” it said.

The editorial argued that the response to the earthquake has highlighted questions about the competitive ethos of large aid agencies. The issue has emerged in past emergencies, including the Asian tsunami in 2004.

“Polluted by the internal power politics and the unsavoury characteristics seen in many big corporations, large aid agencies can be obsessed with raising money through their own appeal efforts. Media coverage as an end in itself is too often an aim of their activities,” it said.

Worse still, it accused aid agencies of acting selfishly to the detriment of those they were supposed to be helping. “It seems increasingly obvious that many aid agencies sometimes act according to their own best interests rather than in the interests of individuals whom they claim to help,” the Lancet said.

It urged aid agencies to do more to collaborate in response to disasters rather than compete for attention.

“Relief efforts in the field are sometimes competitive with little collaboration between agencies, including smaller, grassroots charities that may have better networks in affected counties and so are well-placed to immediately implement emergency relief,” it said.

The editorial said the response to the earthquake should prompt a review of aid agencies and the way they deliver aid.

It said: “Given the ongoing crisis in Haiti, it may seem unpalatable to scrutinise and criticise the motives and activities of humanitarian organisations. But just like any other industry, the aid industry must be examined, not just financially as is current practice, but also in how it operates, from headquarter level to field level.”

Since the disaster some countries and aid agencies have criticised the way the US military has led the relief effort. The Lancet editorial was the most sustained criticism to date of the way the aid agencies themselves have reacted.

It concluded: “Although many aid agencies do important work, humanitarianism is no longer the ethos for many organisations within the aid industry. For the people of Haiti and those living in parallel situations of destruction, humanitarianism remains the most crucial motivation and means for intervention.”

Andrew Hogg, campaigns editor for Christian Aid, rejected the criticism and detailed the collaboration of the charity with other international NGOs and local groups.

“Within hours of being dug from the rubble in Port-au-Prince last week, Christian Aid’s country manager, Prospery Raymond, and programme manager, Abdonnel Dioudou, were liaising with local partner organisations about the provision of relief.”

On the charge that aid agencies have been clamouring for attention at the expense of victims, he said: “A journalist working for Christian Aid who was on leave in New York when the quake struck flew immediately to the Dominican Republic and entered Haiti as quickly as she could. Her presence there has been vital in fielding media inquiries about the situation, leaving our assessment team who also flew in, and staff on the ground, free to concentrate on the job of providing humanitarian relief.”

Hannah Reichardt, who is emergencies adviser at Save the Children, said: “We have a staff of 200 in Haiti, only two are doing media work. Our response to the crisis in Haiti is a humanitarian one, not a media one.”

But she added: “It’s absolutely vital that we put effort into media work, because it’s the thing that drives our fundraising. It might seem tasteless to some, but it’s about giving people the opportunity to donate money to the people of Haiti.”

She also pointed out that the work of the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella group of NGOs which has raised £38m for Haiti in the UK, helps to overcome competition between agencies.

“It brings together all of our collective efforts, and it puts the emergency at the forefront not the individual charities.”

Brendan Gormley, chief executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee, said the claim that aid agencies had lost their humanitarianism ethos was “risible”. The Lancet had failed to “take into account the huge efforts by dedicated staff and volunteers – both Haitians and international experts – who are working tirelessly to bring help to earthquake survivors”.

“Co-ordination is improving but remains difficult following large numbers of deaths in both the UN Haiti operation and the Haitian government.”

A spokeswoman for Médecins Sans Frontières conceded that the Lancet had some “valid points” but in a statement MSF said: “Tragically we lost a number of our national staff in the earthquake. Our three health facilities were damaged. But the fact that we already had 800 national staff and 30 international experts working in Haiti meant we were able to start helping survivors 25 minutes after the earthquake struck.

“MSF has struggled to put Haiti on the international media agenda for 19 years. It is a scandal that it takes a disaster on this scale for the world to wake up to the plight of the thousands of Haitians who have been living in poverty with limited access to healthcare for many years.”

Ref: Haaretz

Beacon of light in Haiti!

The rabbi’s heart goes out to Haiti

One of the puzzles of Jewish life is that you see incredible generosity of spirit to strangers in many situations, per the Talmudic understanding that all men are made in the image of God, then jack-diddly when it comes to Palestinians. Everyone else is part of the human family. Not Palestinians, not Arabs. It is the great problem of Jewish consciousness today. The (moving) letter below is from Haskel Lookstein, a leading Orthodox rabbi (Newsweek called him #2 influential rabbi in the US), to his congregation, Kehilath Jeshurun, on the Upper East Side of NY, urging them to dig deep for Haiti.

Ref: Mondoweiss

Israel’s compassion in Haiti can’t hide our ugly face in Gaza

A few days before Israeli physicians rushed to save the lives of injured Haitians, the authorities at the Erez checkpoint prevented 17 people from passing through in order to get to a Ramallah hospital for urgent corneal transplant surgery. Perhaps they voted for Hamas. At the same time that Israeli psychologists are treating Haiti’s orphans with devotion, Israeli inspectors are making sure no one is attempting to plant a doll, a notebook or a bar of chocolate in a container bringing essential goods into Gaza. So what if the Goldstone Commission demanded that Israel lift the blockade on the Strip and end the collective punishment of its inhabitants? Only those who hate Israel could use frontier justice against the first country to set up a field hospital in Haiti.

Ref: Haaaretz

Israel denounces Sweden’s silence on IDF organ harvest article (Israel is the only “democracy” that do not respect other countries laws and press. supprise?)

sraeli officials demanded that the Swedish government denounce a recent article by a top Swedish newspaper alleging that Israel Defense Forces soldiers kill Palestinian civilians in order to harvest their organs.

On Friday, the Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Benny Dagan met with Deputy Foreign Minister of the Scandinavian country and urged his government to issue a denunciation of the article. Deputy Foreign Minister Frank Belfrage emphasized his country’s freedom of speech and how it limits the ability of the government to respond to articles in the media.

Dagan rebuffed Belfrage’s explanation, saying that in the past the Swedish government responded to similar articles and their reluctance to do so in this case has made it unclear what their stance is.

The stance of the Swedish deputy foreign minister was backed up on Saturday by the country’s prime minister.

A Netanyahu aide said that “Israel does not wish to infringe upon the freedom of the press in Sweden. However, as much as the Swedish press is entitled to freedom, the Swedish government should enjoy the freedom of denouncing such reports.”

The article claims that as far back as 1992, the IDF had removed organs from Palestinian youths killed in clashes. It also makes a link to an alleged crime syndicate in New Jersey, which includes several members of the American Jewish community, as well as one Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, who faces charges of conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney for a transplant.

Belfrage told Dagan that Bildt had responded to the article in a blog entry, which Dagan told him was not sufficient because it is unclear in a blog whether or not he is speaking as a private citizen or as the foreign minister.

Dagan then told Belfrage that the historical legacy of the Holocaust made the issue all the more important to Israelis, in that hateful words and anti-Semitism can often evolve into violent actions. Dagan also expressed his fear that the article could lead to violence against Jews.

Dagan told Belfrage that Israel believes the responsibility for cooling tensions over the article lies with the Swedish government, and said it was imperative for Sweden to resolve the crisis before the country’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt visits Israel on September 10th.

The meeting had been scheduled before the article was published, officials in the Swedish foreign ministry told local news agencies on Friday that it would now be used to address the escalating tension between the two countries.

Swedish officials said Thursday that comments by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in response to the article “had aroused anger” in Stockholm.

The article in Sweden’s biggest-selling newspaper, first reported internationally by Haaretz.com on Tuesday, has sparked fierce widespread debate both in Sweden and abroad.

Lieberman on Thursday criticized Sweden for not intervening in “the blood libel against Jews.” He said that “the affair is reminiscent of the state’s [Sweden’s] stand during World War II, when it also did not intervene.”

On Thursday, Bildt rejected Israeli calls for an official condemnation of the article.

Lieberman had asked Bildt to print a a state rebuttal to the piece. Dagan was expected to make a similar request during his meeting with Swedish Foreign Ministry officials.

Bildt denied the request, however, writing in a blog post late Thursday that he would not condemn the article as “freedom of expression is part of the Swedish constitution.”

“Freedom of expression and press freedom are very strong in our constitution by tradition. And that strong protection has served our democracy and our country well,” Bildt wrote.

“If I were engaged in editing all strange debate contributions in different media I probably wouldn’t have time to do much else.”

Bildt said he understood why the article stirred strong emotions in Israel, but said basic values in society are best protected by free discussion.

The article has enraged Israeli officials, who called it blatantly racist and said it played on vile anti-Semitic themes.

Bildt, meanwhile, says the rejection of anti-Semitism is “the only issue on which there has ever been complete unity in the Swedish parliament.”

Israeli measures

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem had been doubtful that the Swedish government would publish a condemnation of the article, and was considering other measures. One idea is to cancel an upcoming visit by Bildt to Israel, set take place in 10 days.

Another idea was to allow Bildt to make the visit, but to use the trip as a well publicized criticism of the article, and for Israeli officials to refuse to speak with him about any subject other than the article.

Foreign Ministry officials the crisis would not end without official Swedish condemnation of the article.

Lieberman has informed Foreign Ministry employees to consider the cancellation of government press cards given to Aftonbladet reporters in Israel, as well as to refuse to assist the paper in any way whatsoever in covering Israeli news.

It also emerged Thursday that Defense Minister Ehud Barak is considering a libel lawsuit against Donald Boström, the writer of the article. Boström has reportedly been trying to publish a version of the article about Israel harvesting organs since 1992.

The Swedish government on Thursday distanced itself from a statement by its ambassador to Israel, in which she criticized the article saying that “the condemnation was solely the judgment of the embassy [in Tel Aviv], and designed for an Israeli audience.” The comments came in a statement released Thursday by the Swedish Foreign Ministry.

“The article in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet is as shocking and appalling to us Swedes, as it is to Israeli citizens,” said Ambassador Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier on Wednesday.

“Just as in Israel, freedom of the press prevails in Sweden,” Bonnier said. “However, freedom of the press and freedom of expression are freedoms which carry a certain responsibility.”

Ref: Haaretz

Also read:

Israel fury at Sweden organ claim

Israel is to lodge an official complaint with Sweden over claims in a newspaper that Israeli soldiers killed Palestinians to sell their organs.

….

Amazing as it is, it´s true!

Israel is bulling another country to think, act and talk as Israel wants. Everyone that do not do what Israel wants is a “palestinian”. Everyone that the jews + zionist do not like is an antisemite. Meanwhile the ethnical cleansing of Palestine  and the israeli organ theafts countinues.

But let´s not talk about that.

Facts are boring when  you are an israeli.

/a