New York Times faults Israel’s assist for Syrian relief workers

by WorldTribune Staff, July 31, 2018

The New York Times has criticized Israel for its rescuing of hundreds of Syrian civilians because the Jewish state’s humanitarian actions are “creating friction” with Syrian President Bashar Assad, a columnist noted.

“Even in a world where Israel is routinely blamed for a remarkable variety of problems, this one is a first,” Rafael Medoff, founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, wrote for the Jerusalem Post on July 30.

Last week, Medoff noted, Israel “saved the lives of more than 400 Syrian relief workers, known as the White Helmets, and their families, by bringing them out of war-torn Syria, across the Golan Heights and into the safety of neighboring Jordan.”

The White Helmets are aligned with the Syrian opposition, and Assad “has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to use poison gas against opponents of his regime,” Medoff wrote, adding that “the Israelis almost certainly saved them from a horrible fate.”

But here’s how the operation was reported in a July 25 news article in The New York Times: “Israel, in a move that may have created more friction with Syria, also helped move rescue workers belonging to the group known as the White Helmets…”

Medoff wrote: “Syria has been at war with Israel since the day the Jewish state was established 70 years ago. Syria was developing nuclear weapons to use against Israel until the Israeli Air Force intervened and Syria has long been a major sponsor and shelterer of anti-Israel terrorist groups. But the rescue of 400 Syrian civilians is what’s ‘creating friction’ ”?

In 1977, it was Israel which “rescued Vietnamese refugees who were drifting on the high seas, when no other country would take them. And when other countries were doing little more than paying lip service to the suffering of famine victims in Africa in the 1980s, it was Israel that sent its planes to rescue tens of thousands of starving Ethiopian Jews,” Medoff noted.

“Maybe the Israelis by now have become accustomed to the fact that their humanitarian efforts around the world often receive little or no attention. Perhaps they were not overly exercised by the fact that the French government, which played a very minor role in last week’s operation, did not even mention Israel in its official statement about the rescue.”

But, Medoff concluded, “there’s a world of difference between not acknowledging Israel’s action – which is petty and ungrateful – and blaming Israel for ‘creating friction’ with Syria – which is simply unconscionable.”

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