ADL Honors American Red Cross For Role In Helping Israel's Magen David Adom
Palm Beach, FL, February 9, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today honored the American Red Cross for its role in helping the Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel's official emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service, to gain recognition as a full-fledged member of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
For six years, the American Red Cross froze contributions to the international body to protest Israel's isolation. The American Red Cross continuously lobbied to secure full membership for MDA in the International Red Cross Movement and was critical in encouraging governments to move forward with the diplomatic conference to adopt the necessary changes to the Geneva Conventions. In March 2006, the Israeli organization was admitted after the signatory countries to the Geneva Conventions adopted a neutral, universal "Red Crystal" emblem.
MDA had long been denied membership based on the Red Star of David it uses as its official emblem.
"Israel's exclusion was disingenuous, biased, discriminatory, politically driven and reflective of international hostility toward the Jewish state," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "It's acceptance now within the family of nations of emergency medical services would never have happened without the persistence, determination and principled stand of the American Red Cross." (full text)
At a special session of the ADL's National Executive Committee Meeting in Palm Beach, FL, Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the American Red Cross, was presented with a framed papercut by the Israeli artist Enya Keshet, adorned with the words, in Hebrew, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" and the inscription, "in appreciation for your support of Magen David Adom."
Representing Israel at the presentation was Dr. Noam Yifrach, Chair, Magen David Adom. "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the American Red Cross for their support in helping achieve our goal of acceptance in the International Red Cross," Dr. Yifrach said.
Mr. Foxman thanked Ms. McElveen-Hunter and her predecessors for "the untiring fight for recognition you have waged since Israel gained statehood in 1948."
Ms. McElveen-Hunter responded, "I'm so extraordinarily proud that after 58 years, and after withholding $48 million worth of dues, that we were finally at last able to succeed in welcoming Magen David Adom as the 185th member of the International Red Cross."
ADL also recognized the American Red Cross for its ongoing role in interceding on behalf of the three Israeli soldiers kidnapped by terrorists in Lebanon and Gaza in summer 2006: Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev and Gilad Shalit. "It is important for our community and the world to know and acknowledge how hard the American Red Cross has worked with its international colleagues in attempting to find out the conditions of these soldiers and to press their captors to allow a humanitarian visit," said Mr. Foxman.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.