Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Israel's Save a Child's Heart Charity: combatting UN, EU and UK anti-Israel bias

Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) is an incredible Israeli-based international humanitarian project, whose mission is to improve the quality of paediatric cardiac care for children from developing countries who suffer from heart disease and to create centers of competence in these countries. SACH is a team of  surgeons and support staff at Wolfson Hospital near Tel Aviv (including Jews, Muslims and Christians) who are world leaders in paediatric cardiology. SACH has saved the lives of thousands of children from all over the world by performing complex and dangerous cardiac operations. In most cases the charity brings the children to Israel for the operations but members of the team also travel abroad to perform the operations, and increasingly the team is training doctors from the developing countries to perform the surgery themselves.

Many of the children saved by SACH are from countries that are hostile to Israel including Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria. But far and away the most children whose lives are saved (over 50%) are from the Palestinian Authority (both Gaza and the West Bank) - more on that below.

Walter Felman
(Chairman, SACH UK)
Hannah Shabathai
(President, SACH Switzerland)
This evening  Hannah Shabathai and Walter Felman from SACH (pictured here) spoke at Woodford Liberal Synagogue in East London. Both Hannah and Walter are among the key volunteers who help make SACH  function as it does. In addition to speaking about what SACH does, Hannah focused on the story of how SACH became one of the very few non-political Israeli organisations to gain recognition as an NGO (non-government organisation) at the UN.  SACH's eventual recognition only came about as a result of an extraordinary level of planning and lobbying. Eventually, despite their impeccable application they, unlike other applicants were called back for further questioning. During this latter session the Syrians - who were not even on the committee but were there as an observer - tried to spike the application (despite the fact that SACH is saving Syrian children).

SACH is an incredible and heart-warming example of how Israeli skill and selfless humanitarianism benefits the world. But it is also an incredible example of how much more Israel could do for the world if it was not singled out for such hostility by the very nations who would benefit most from an Israel unburdened by the threats and torments it faces in every aspect of its existence. And it is not just the UN, of course, that creates such problems. While the EU provides some financial support for SACH, this is conditioned on it being spent only on children from the Palestinian Authority. This partly explains the disproportionate numbers mentioned above. But the irony of this is that the EU's stance is inconsistent with SACH's mission statement (that "every child deserves the best medical treatment available, regardless of the child's nationality, religion, color, gender or financial situation"). It also exposes the political racism at the heart of the EU agenda - the notion that Palestinian children are somehow inherently more deserving of life than children from far more deprived countries in Africa for example. But this is something I have reported on many times before (see, e.g., here and here for how the Palestinians receive many more times per capita foreign aid support than any other people in the world despite many countries being far poorer).

The final important point made was that there is a portable exhibition about SACH that is suitable for display in public places. However, unlike many similar exhibitions provided by other oganisations (including anti-Israel groups) which have no trouble finding public places to exhibit, such is the hostility to anything associated with Israel that nowhere in London has agreed to allow SACH to exhibit. So any old Israel demonization will be welcomed in many places in London (as I have blogged about many times) but London is a no go area for anything showing Israel in a positive light.  

Update 24/10/2103: More about SACH at Elder of Ziyon

1 comment:

Elder of Ziyon said...