Sunday, January 02, 2005

If a tree falls ...

If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound?
If a nation does a good deed that no one recognizes, is it still a good deed?
To read Joseph Norland's "Three tsunami stories, one lesson" the answer is "no" or at least "it's severely misguided."
I don't disagree with Joseph's evidence. The lack of gratitude and appreciation the world shows towards Israel's altruism is appalling. Especially when that same world readily embraces epithets such as "apartheid" and "holocaust" to describe Israel's war of self defense.

While it's true that Israel's altruism doesn't earn Israel friends the way it ought to, I still believe that doing good for good's sake is of benefit too. Israel, unfortunately has experience in disaster relief; Israeli experience can save lives. This account from the embassy bombing in Kenya in 1998 attests to this.
While Joseph says that it's more important that Israel help its own disadvantaged rather than those of the ungrateful nations of the world, I have to disagree. First of all, in many of these cases where Israel helps the effort is to save lives not quality of lives. Second of all, the rescue worker has a specialized skill of saving people from precarious situations that just isn't applicable to helping the poor.
One aspect of my pride in the Jewish nation is that it shows great mercy and kindness even to those who don't like it very much. I know that I am in the minority in recognizing that.
I think that rather than criticizing Israel for being too generous we, who support Israel, should be singing Israel's praises to even wider audiences. We should let the nations of the world know the benevolence of the Jewish state and never let them ignore, try as they might.
PS A few years ago a put together a list of Israeli humanitarian efforts around the globe. Alas nearly all of the links are out of date. The Israel Hasbara Committee hosts the list. Just reviewing the list today, I realized how much I'd forgotten. Perhaps I should update as many of the links as possible and try to include more recent examples of Israeli heroism.

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