January 5, 2005

by Andrew Silow-Carroll
But sadistically, folks...

Total crap from Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder, who argue that America withhold aid from tsunami-stricken nations:

[T]here should be a precondition that before these nations receive any aid, they should clearly denounce terrorism and, at the very least, discontinue the state-sponsored anti-American drivel heard in that part of the world.... Perhaps the strongest practical reason to hold up monies is the fact that we do not know that the money will actually reach the intended recipients. In fact, history tells us the contrary.

They base much of their argument on the erroneous notion that Indonesia, India, and Sri Lanka rejected offers of aid from the Israelis. As the New Jersey Jewish News will report tomorrow (I'll put up the link when it's ready):

The government of Israel is continuing to provide aid and assistance to tsunami victims in Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka. At press time, Israel had sent more than 82 tons of supplies to Sri Lanka, including 10,000 blankets, 3,680 liters of mineral water, 12 tons of food, 1,750 tins of baby food, over nine tons of medicine and additional supplies such as generators, tents, beds, and mattresses, according to its foreign ministry’s Web site. A consignment to Thailand included medicines worth $600,000, along with surgical masks and body bags. “The government of Israel often sends aid and experts to other countries when there is an earthquake or other disasters,” said Arye Mekel, Israel’s consul general in New York. “This time, most of our aid went to Thailand, because we knew lots of Israelis were vacationing there. We sent body recovery experts from Zaka, and identification experts from the police. Not only did they help locate and identify Israelis and other Jewish bodies, but they helped identify hundreds of other bodies as well,” Mekel told the NJ Jewish News. “We also provided aid to India,” he said, adding that no aid was offered to or requested by Indonesia, a predominately Muslim nation which had no diplomatic relations with Israel. Contrary to reports that the Sri Lanka had rejected offers of Israeli aid, Israeli sent humanitarian aid and medical supplies to the island nation, including medicines worth over $100,000. The donation was welcomed by the Sri Lankan authorities, according to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mason and Felder's argument is repugnant on so many levels, but basically it says, "Let the widows and orphans starve until their governments come around." Never mind that, as the Wall Street Journal reports today on page one, "Aid Effort in Indonesia Could Lift U.S. Image in Eyes of Muslims." No, let's bomb them and starve them until they learn to love us.

As for their argument that the aid may not reach the recipients, the same Journal story reports:

For the U.S., the diplomatic opportunities are greatest in Indonesia... There, the U.S. has outdone even the country's own government in running food and rescue missions in Northern Sumatra, where more than 90,000 people died....[S]ome observers there say their arrival already has changed attitudes toward the U.S. for the better."
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