It doesn’t matter that a country is willing and able to lend its human and technical resources to a movement dedicated to aiding people in crisis situations. It’s better that lives go unsaved, lest someone be offended by the rescuers’ identity.
In truth, it’s not just about the choice of symbol. Any sign that would make Israel identifiable in acts of compassion could threaten to water down anti-“Zionist” fervor among a Muslim populace. Also, accepting an Israeli role in the Red Cross movement would put countries like Iran, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, whom the article names as instrumental in blocking the process, on a slippery slope toward acknowledging Israel’s existence as a sovereign state.
From the Jerusalem Post: “New Red Cross emblem hits snag”
An attempt to end Israel’s long isolation from the Red Cross humanitarian movement hit a snag Tuesday as Muslim opponents used procedural moves to block progress at a decisive international conference, delegates said.
The International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which opened Tuesday and is expected to conclude Wednesday, is being asked to approve changes to meet Israeli demands of almost six decades that it be granted full membership without using the cross or crescent to identify itself.
The conference is focusing on the addition of an optional, third emblem, a blank, red-bordered square standing on one corner, that could stand alone or frame the Red Shield of David of the Israeli rescue society Magen David Adom.
The vote has been expected to be a largely formal one, as last December the diplomatic conference of the signatories to the Geneva Convention approved Protocol III to the convention recognizing an additional symbol. Two-thirds of the delegates present must approve that decision when it comes to a vote on Thursday, MDA chairman Dr. Noam Yifrach said.
Yifrach said that it would be a historic end to a long struggle that has continued since 1949, when an attempt to admit MDA was rejected by one vote. Israeli ambulances and staffers will continue to bear the Red Star of David symbol with pride, he said. Only on international missions, when necessary, would it be enclosed or accompanied by a red rectangle standing on one end.
Yifrach praised the Foreign Ministry, the US and its American Red Cross for their continued efforts to get MDA official recognition. When admitted to the movement, MDA will be entitled to special funding, expand its humanitarian work abroad, cooperate with other members and improve its rescue services inside Israel, he added.