THE SPINE JANUARY 26, 2010
I've just read the transcript of the president's remarks about Haiti, the ones he made on January 15. He noted that, in addition to assistance from the United States, significant aid had also come from "Brazil, Mexico, Canada, France, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, among others." Am I missing another country that truly weighed in with truly consequential assistance? Ah, yes. There it is. Right there "among others." Yes, the country to which I refer is "among others," that one.
The fact is that, next to our country, Israel sent the largest contingent of trained rescue workers, doctors, and other medical personnel. The Israeli field hospital was the only one on the ground that could perform real surgery, which it did literally hundreds of times, while delivering--as of last week--at least 16 babies, including one premature infant and three caesarians. The first 250-odd Israelis were real professionals, and they were supplemented by others, also professionals. And to these can be added the many organized Jews from the Diaspora who, in solidarity with Israel, also went on a work pilgrimage, an aliyah, in solidarity with Haiti.
So didn't Obama notice? For God's sake, everybody noticed the deep Israeli involvement. I understand that Obama doesn't like Middle East narratives that do not contain "one side and the other side" equal valence. But he couldn't have that here. The Arabs don't care a fig, not for their impoverished and backward own, and certainly not for strangers. That's why their presence in Haiti amounted to a couple of bucks from Saudi Arabia and maybe from some other sheikhs.
An afterthought: Who would want Arab participation in the rescue effort? This was serious work and dangerous work. Amateurs weren't welcome.
Yes, I think that the labors of the Israelis were edited out of Obama's speech, either by his speechwriters (who have made dissing Israel their forté) or by his own oh-so-delicate but dishonest censoring mechanism.