Most of us are familiar with those friendly MSF ( Doctors Without Borders) people asking us to donate, and are in awe of such selfless individuals offering medical help in impoverished countries. MSF’s website showcases its humanitarian credentials, caring for the world’s poor and oppressed:
Médecins Sans Frontières is the world’s leading independent organisation for medical humanitarian aid. Every day more than 24,000 MSF field staff are providing assistance to people caught in crises around the world. We have offices in 19 countries supporting these teams, including our office in Sydney. Every year around one hundred Australians and New Zealanders are sent to and supported in the field by MSF Australia.
What do we do?
We provide relief after natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes. We help victims of conflict. We run emergency feeding programs during nutritional crises…
MSF’s work is based on the humanitarian principles of medical ethics and impartiality. Because we wish to remain independent we limit the amount of funding we accept from governments. More than 80% of our budget internationally comes from private donations, and in Australia 100% of our budget comes from private sources.
Our interventions are based on needs alone, not on political, economic, religious or social agendas. Thanks to our independence and impartiality, we are able to provide health care to people who otherwise would not receive it.
Our teams in the field often witness the result of conflict, neglect and disaster which very often escapes broader international attention. We are committed to speaking out about these international crises in an effort to alert the public to the plight of the people we help.
Their charter states:
- MSF offers assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters and to victims of armed conflict, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation.
- MSF observes neutrality and impartiality in the name of universal medical ethics and the right to humanitarian assistance and demands full and unhindered freedom in the exercise of its functions.
- MSF volunteers undertake to respect their professional code of ethics and to maintain complete independence from all political, economic and religious powers.
MSF works in many countries in the Middle East: Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen – and Palestine, a country that doesn’t exist! Strangely, Israel, a country that DOES exist, is not on the list.
Under ‘Palestine’, we are told:
Violence increased across the Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2014, and the year was marked by a 50-day war with Israel. MSF doubled its capacity to help meet medical and psychological needs.
Tensions mounted between Israel and Palestine in June, and Operation Protective Edge was launched in Gaza Strip on 8 July, leaving 2,286 Palestinians dead (25% children), over 11,000 injured and 3,000 with permanent disabilities. A ceasefire was declared on 26 August, but of the 500,000 people displaced, 54,000 have still not been able to return home.
Access to healthcare across the occupied territories remains severely limited by the West Bank wall, the Gaza blockade and other measures. There is a shortage of technical equipment and training for specialist care, including surgery and mental healthcare in Gaza. Living conditions continue to deteriorate and people’s coping mechanisms are stretched. In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, daily violence, collective punishment, and humiliation at checkpoints are common and have taken a psychological toll.
It seems their impartiality doesn’t extend to acknowledging the part Hamas and Fatah play in these medical and psychological crises. Nor do they extend their humanitarian assistance to the people of Sderot, terrorized by constant bombardment by Hamas rockets.
Discover the Networks reports:
- According to its Charter, MSF “offers assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters and to victims of armed conflict, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation.”
- On occasion, however, MSF engages in political activities which most notably take the form of attacks on Israel. In a June 2006 report, for instance, the organization states that as a result of Israeli aggression, many people in the northern Gaza Strip “live like recluses and don’t even dare trying to go to health-care facilities. … People feel like they are living in an open-air prison. … The situation in the West Bank is no better. The main refugee camp in Nablus is a regular target of [Israeli] incursions. In Hebron, Palestinians are prohibited from traveling on the major roads that run along the settlements, hampering supply operations and access to health care.” The report does not give the context of Palestinian terrorism that prompted Israeli security measures.
Tuvia Tenenbom, who wrote Catch the Jew! tells how Israel is full of foreign NGOs, often funded by Europeans with an anti-Israel agenda. Tuvia described himself as Tobi, a German journalist, so Palestinian leaders and spokesmen spoke openly to him, thinking he was on their side.
In one chapter, he speaks of meeting with Christina, the mission head for the Spanish branch of MSF in East Jerusalem.
Christina cares about the “situation,” she tells “Tobi the German”. She cares passionately about Palestine. What’s the emotional gravity that makes her come here?
She wants to fix the problems here, she answers.
Tobi the German: What are the problems?
CHRISTINA THERESA: Lack of rights.
Tobi the German: Whose side are you on?
CHRISTINA THERESA: There are people here who suffer more.
Tobi the German: What kind of suffering?
CHRISTINA THERESA: There are people here who are not free to decide where they want to live.
Tobi the German: Who are those people?
CHRISTINA THERESA: The Palestinians, of course.
Tobi the German: Are the Jews free to live where they want?
CHRISTINA THERESA: Yes. If they want to live in the West Bank they can.
Tobi the German: Can Jews live, let’s say, in Ramallah?
CHRISTINA THERESA: Mmm. There are a few. There are journalists from Haaretz who live in Ramallah.
She is referring to Amira Hass, the feminine side of Gideon Levy.
Tobi the German: Are other Jews living in Ramallah?
CHRISTINA THERESA: As far as I know, that’s all. Just Amira.”
The office of Doctors Without Borders in Jerusalem is in the Khirbet al-Makhul, an East Jerusalem neighbourhood where Jews are not allowed to reside.
Michael Freund lambasted MSF as Doctors Without Scruples:
As far as international humanitarian organizations go, few can compete with either the reach or the reputation of MSF.
And yet, when it comes to Israel, MSF seems to have fallen on its head.
For despite its virtuous profile, and its professed impartiality free of a political agenda, the group has a decidedly dubious track-record vis-à-vis the Jewish state.
The latest example of this was on display in a remote part of
Africa, when a team of five Israeli specialists flew to the Congolese city of Uvira to treat 50 villagers who had been severely burned in a devastating fire that claimed more than 230 lives. Working around the clock, they treated the wounded, trained Congolese doctors in performing skin grafts and donated a ton of medical equipment to local medical facilities.
And yet, incredibly enough, these angels of compassion received a distinctly cold reception from MSF volunteers working in the area, who seemed to go out of their way to demonstrate their displeasure at having to work in the vicinity of Israelis.
As Haaretz reported, the Israeli medical staff
“got the distinct impression that the volunteers did not wish to be around them.”
The treatment meted out to the Israelis was such that it left Dr. Eyal Winkler, deputy director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Sheba Medical Center, in a state of disbelief.
“This is the reality today,” he said. “Doctors from international aid organizations treat a delegation of volunteer Israeli doctors to Congo as though we were occupiers.”
Camaraderie among a staff is, of course, critical to ensuring success. So it is simply mind-boggling that MSF volunteers on a humanitarian relief mission would allow their personal political agendas to get in the way of caring for the injured.
But some of MSF’s volunteers seem to have replaced the Hippocratic Oath with a more cynical hypocritical oath, one in which they allow their anti-Israel agenda to get the better of them.
SADLY, THIS is but one of several examples in recent years of MSF’s disdain and outright hostility toward the Jewish state.
In 2007, Masab Bashir, a Palestinian doctor employed by MSF for five years in Gaza, was arrested and charged in a Jerusalem court with plotting to assassinate prime minister Ehud Olmert and a host of other public personalities.
Bashir had been given a VIP pass by MSF, which he used to travel freely to
Jerusalem to gather intelligence for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He received weapons and combat training, and planned various attacks.
Last year, MSF was among the harshest critics of
Israel’s incursion into Gaza, while remaining virtually silent on Palestinian rocket-fire against Israeli civilians. A spring 2009 “alert” issued by MSF entitled “Gaza: A Devastating Disregard for Civilians” reads as if it was published by the propaganda arm of Hamas, accusing Israel of a “steamroller attack” that was indifferent to civilian casualties.
One MSF official, Cecile Barbou, was quoted as saying that Gaza
had become “hell,” and even insisted that Israel had fired on people “carrying white flags.”
Subsequently, MSF came under heavy criticism for the release and, to its credit, it later acknowledged that it had been “one-sided.”
But the damage, by then, had been done, and
Israel’s reputation had been unfairly blackened. Indeed, last year, the organization held press conferences in Paris and Jerusalem to denounce Israel’s actions in Gaza, and the vitriol directed against the Jewish state by MSF was both shameless and disgraceful.
A senior MSF official brazenly accused
Israel of targeting ambulances and hospitals, while another demanded that “this bloodshed of civilians must end.”
But the low point came when Dr. Marie Pierre Allie, president of the French branch of MSF, asserted that
Israel’s counterterror campaign in Gaza was actually worse than the Darfur genocide taking place in the Sudan.
“In more than 40 years of work in conflict situations, MSF has rarely faced such levels of violence against civilian populations. Whether in Somalia, the DRC or even Darfur, none of those wars produced so many deaths in so little time.”
Doctors Without Borders? It sounds more like doctors without scruples to me.
MSF’s strident anti-Israel record, and its inability or unwillingness to contextualize the Middle Eastern conflict, is a stain on its reputation and does a grave disservice to its professed mission. By repeatedly slamming
Israel, and ignoring the outrages perpetrated against the Jewish state, the group has played right into the hands of those who seek to destroy Western civilization and its values. There is nothing medicinal or therapeutic in that.
In a world rife with evil, there is so much good that needs to be done. What a shame that groups such as Doctors Without Borders often seem to have trouble distinguishing between the two.
Edgar Davidson includes MSF in his list of anti-Israel organizations:
Most people are completely unaware that some of the most popular ‘charities’ (or NGOs, as they are more accurately called) actually divert large amounts of their income to political propaganda. And in many cases the brunt of this political propaganda is directed against Israel. The UK government and the EU are especially big donors to a whole host of anti-Israel NGOs ..
He calls MSF:
This appallingly anti-Israel NGO has the distinction of having had one of its employees from Gaza arrested for plotting to assassinate the Israeli Prime Minister (Ehud Olmert) in 2007.
In 2007, Ezra HaLevi reported:
An Arab man from Gaza was given a VIP pass by Doctors Without Borders, which he used to plan assassinations of Prime Minister Olmert, Minister Lieberman and David Be’eri.
The 25-year-old PA Arab from Dir El Balah in Gaza, Masab Bashir, was charged in a Jerusalem Court. He has been employed by Doctors Without Borders for at least five years and received a pass to travel freely to the Jerusalem region in his capacity as a doctor for the organization.
Doctors Without Borders are recognized by the UN as a humanitarian group and are granted free passage by the Israeli government through checkpoints and closed military areas. They feature large decals on their vehicles with a picture of a crossed out assault rifle – to indicate they are non-combatants.
Bashir was arrested and confessed to collecting intelligence information for the PFLP terror group with the goal of killing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman and David Be’eri, who heads the Elad organization which develops Ir David, the Jewish archaeological gardens in the Silwan region below Jerusalem’s Old City.
The terrorist met with PFLP handlers in September 2006, after which he received combat and arms training. He said he eventually concluded that security was too tight around the government officials and in December, 2006 decided to instead murder David Be’eri, a target because of his development of Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem. In January 2007, with a pass from Doctors Without Borders, Bashir targeted Be’eri and began gathering intelligence information on his daily routine.
Doctors Without Borders says it had no idea that Bashir was engaging in such activities.
Maybe not, but given MSF’s sympathies with terror-supporters, one gets the impression that they would not have been unduly concerned, as borne out by the following:
Duncan McLean, director of Doctors Without Borders in the region, told The Jerusalem Post that Bashir… had not shown any suspicious behavior.
“We are very sad for Bashir, but we want to make it very clear that we make a distinction between his professional work and what he does on his personal time. I don’t think our organization can be held liable for every aspect of its staff’s lives.”
During the month since Bashir’s arrest, McLean went to two of his hearings, but he said he had not seen Bashir on any other occasion. McLean said he never heard any statements by Bashir against Olmert and had no idea about any training he reputedly had with the PFLP.
Note also: MSF founder, Rony Brauman, participated in a conference organised by the Zayed Foundation for Coordination and Followup together with Hans Koechler a neo Nazi who runs the International Progress Organisation which had links to an Islamo Nazi website which carried a tract claiming it was “kosher” to kill Israelis. The Zayed Foundation promotes Holocaust denial and blood libel and published conspiracy theory tracts which claim that the U.S. and the Mossad staged 9/11. No wonder MSF feels “sorry” and is “sad” in the wake of Bashir’s arrest. Their virulently anti Israel positions don’t deviate much from that of their now forcibly retired employee.
So maybe next time you are asked to support MSF, give the money to help the many disadvantaged people in Australia instead.