Israel’ trauma care in Boston is sheer political PR!
Alice Rothchild analyses a somewhat hypocritical and absurd Israeli attempt to whitewash its horrific human rights record in Palestine with a shallow intervention in Boston that provides trauma care for the victims of the Boston bombing.
The Israeli adventure in Boston is a PR stunt to divert attention from the 45 year-old illegitimate and criminal occupation during which Palestinians have suffered the worst structures of cruelty and barbarities. The questions go begging:
- Has Israel bothered with the trauma of everyday displacement of Palestinians from their homes and villages merely to satisfy the whims of the occupation authority to humiliate and brutalize the Palestinians?
- Is not the check point an everyday trauma for the Palestinian who must wonder if they will get to work and earn their essential livelihood? Worse, is there not trauma for the woman who must give birth unsupported by medical personnel?
- Is there no trauma involved when entire families and communities are alienated and barricaded by an illegal separation wall that ruins community life and economic options?
- Are the besieged people of Gaza whose lives border on starvation and deprivation under the Israeli regime’s not an attack that constructs trauma? And, what when fighter aircraft fly low over the homes of Gazans just to create shock, panic, and alarm? Is there no trauma?
- And when homes are vindictively demolished on flimsy grounds only to punish anyone who dares to resist (a legitimate right under international law) the occupation, or on mere suspicion, does not it amount to trauma?
- Soon 40,000 Bedouins will be removed from their homes and sources of income to artificial townships to make way for another illicit Israeli enterprise. There is boundless trauma that will ensue.
- Thousands of young people, and children languish in prisons – tortured and mistreated- with no crime to their records, is that not trauma to the individual and their families?
The Palestinian territories suffer from severe economic hardships that have reduced a dignified people to aid-dependence? That is a grim form of trauma too.
The stealth of water resources, the building of settlements on Palestinian lands, the displacement and dispossession to accommodate Israel’s snatch-acquire political format of ruling the territories is a constant source of trauma. The uprooting of tens and thousands of olive trees on an almost daily basis tugs at one of the essential dimensions of Palestinian agriculture.
The stories of Israeli trauma against the helpless Palestinian is endless and makes futile recounting. It is what it is. Barbaric, politically immoral, and cruel!
What then makes the ‘Boston adventure’ disingenuous?
Alice Rothchild points out mournfully: An Israeli team in Boston provides Israel with a feel good moment. She asks: “What about the victims that are not an ocean away? Do they not “all have the same fears and issues and responses?” Do they not “speak the same emotional language all over the world?” I can only ask, are they not deserving of the care, expertise, and attention of Israeli trauma teams? Why come all the way to Boston?”
We hope the article reproduced below prompts letters to the media everywhere that opposes and exposes the manipulative plot. It must be uncovered. Israel cannot expect to get away with its dual deeds.
Trauma begins at home*
On the face of it, Israel has made a good and generous offer: a country well-versed in advanced trauma care offers a team of experts to Boston and its neighbors at a time of great hardship, supporting the needs of innocent victims of the tragic Boston Marathon bombings. Last week six Israeli trauma experts from the Israel Trauma Coalition for Response and Preparedness visited Boston to help develop recovery strategies with their local counterparts.
Funded by Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies to the tune of roughly $75,000, this is part of an effort to “provide people with a Jewish response to helping victims and their families recover from this traumatic event,” said Gail Weinberg of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas on its website. Interestingly, Israeli trauma teams have been active all over the world, from post-earthquake Haiti to post-Katrina New Orleans, from Mumbai, India to Toulouse, France. Coalition director Talia Levanon explains in The Times of Israel, “You are meeting different people in different parts of the world, but they all have the same fears and issues and responses. The world has become a small place and we derive a lot of strength when we work together. We speak the same emotional language all over the world.”
So why does this make me uneasy? While I have no doubt that the experience and broad community focus of the Israeli team has been helpful, Boston is a major medical center with world-class hospitals and trauma teams and strong community resources.
An Israeli team in Boston provides Israel with a feel good moment and well-publicized appreciation, from the Massachusetts governor on down.
But there is a powerful disconnect here. I just received a note from Rabbis for Human Rights about 40,000 Bedouin Israeli citizens who are being removed from their homes and sources of income to artificial townships. I am troubled by the steady stream of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strikes in Israeli jails, trapped for months without trials in endless administrative detention.
Then there is the news from the West Bank town of Budrus, where years of nonviolent protests led to a change in the path of the Israeli-built separation wall. Last week, after the release of a graphic novel by Just Vision documenting that struggle, the Israeli army arrived, shooting tear gas and starting a fire in the village’s olive groves. And the 1.7 million inhabitants of Gaza, over half of whom are children, live on the edge of hunger, deprivation, and uncertainty due to the ongoing siege and frequent Israeli incursions.
There is also the issue of asylum seekers. In February, Israeli authorities deported over 1,000 Sudanese refugees to North Sudan despite the fact that, “[Sudan] has vowed to punish any of its citizens who ever set foot in Israel.” Ironically, many of the Sudanese who fled to Israel left from Darfur where there is an ongoing struggle by Jewish US activists against the genocidal policies of the Sudanese government.
But to return to the Boston victims, I have no doubt that the Israeli trauma team was filled with good intentions as well as expertise, but this feels like an opportunistic political moment where good deeds are actually part of a larger intent to manipulate image making.
What about the victims that are not an ocean away? Do they not “all have the same fears and issues and responses?” Do they not “speak the same emotional language all over the world?” I can only ask, are they not deserving of the care, expertise, and attention of Israeli trauma teams? Why come all the way to Boston?