Shouldn’t need to be said, but Israelis weren’t the only ones helping in Haiti

by Yaniv Reich on January 29, 2010

One terrible consequence of Israeli (and Western) racism toward Arabs is that a number of what should be unnecessary defenses of Arab behavior must be made. I don’t want to be in the position of defending Hamas, for example, and yet the absurd caricature of that complex organization must be countered.

Ditto on the recent uses and abuses of Haiti aid efforts. Where Israel received flattering news coverage, in large part because it managed the whole exercise as a public relations campaign, and Bill Clinton tripped over his slimy tongue to single out Israel’s efforts for praise, Arab countries silently contributed to the international effort. And yet Israeli propagandists, and their American counterparts (like the soul-numbing Dershowitz), not only left their morally impoverished little caves in order to promote Israel’s image, they also saw it fit to criticize Arab countries for doing exactly “nothing” to aid Haiti.

Although I do not want to defend the autocratic (semi-despotic and otherwise) governments of much of the Arab world, one cannot let the blatant lies of Israeli hasbara go unchallenged.

In that spirit, here is a list, compiled by the Arab American Institute, that shows Arab efforts being very much higher than nothing. One might argue more could and should have been done (and I do), but then again I think that same criticism applies to Israel, and the US, and so on.

  • Algeria: Granted $1 million in emergency humanitarian aid.
  • Bahrain: Sent a disaster relief team to provide aid, pledged $1 million in relief and the Bahrain Red Crescent Society appealed for donations for Haiti.
  • Egypt: Allocated medical supplies and personnel.
  • Jordan: Established a 12-bed military hospital in Port-au-Prince, and are also feeding children who enter; dispatched two planes carrying a mobile field hospital, rescue team, doctors and six tons of aid supplies that include food, medicine and clothing.
  • Kuwait: Sent 100 tons of food, medical supplies, tents and blankets; donated $1 million, delivered through the country’s Red Crescent Society.
  • Lebanon: Airlifted 25 tons of tents, 3 tons of medicine, vaccines and other supplies; sent aid workers to help in relief effort.
  • Lybia: Sent shipment of relief supplies including medicine.
  • Morocco: Sent $1 million worth of medical and pharmaceutical supplies.
  • Palestine:
  • The Council of Ministers convened in the West Bank and donated humanitarian aid, and in Gaza, individuals donated money, food and clothing to the Red Cross.
  • Qatar: Mobilized 26-person rescue team of soldiers, police and medical professionals; sent 50 tons of aid.
  • Saudi Arabia: Donated $50 million, which will be directed through the United Nations.
  • Syria: Airlifted 30 tons of humanitarian aid.
  • Tunisia: Allocated $1 million to the United Nations Emergency Fund that was created for Haiti relief.
  • United Arab Emirates: Contributed over $2.6 million; three UAE charities donated more than 200 tons of medical equipment, tents and blankets, food and drinking water.

For comparative purposes, the Israeli government spent $8 million US dollars in its first week, which included $2.7 million for a satellite communications center and another $2.7 million for cargo transport of medical supplies. At an estimated cost of $400,000 dollars per day for the entire 230-person team, times the additional four days the team was on the ground in Haiti, the total cost of the Israeli Defense Forces’ efforts in Haiti sum to $9.6 million dollars.

Update: As the article cited above explains, this amount is roughly identical to what the Foreign Ministry spends on its public relations (hasbara) efforts in recent years.

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