How low can Press TV sink?

20 Jan 2010 by CST

The ongoing disaster in Haiti has quite rightly gripped the attention and touched the emotions of the whole world, since the earthquake a week ago. Countries from all round the world have sent money, supplies, doctors, medical equipment and rescue personnel to help in the aid and rescue effort.

Israel has come in for some praise for its contribution to this international effort. It has set up a field hospital capable of handling 500 cases per day, full of sophisticated medial equipment, and its rescue teams have found people alive, under rubble, several days after the earthquake. CBS called the Israeli field hospital "the Rolls Royce of medicine in Haiti". Tom Gross has archived several media reports about the Israeli contribution here, if you want to watch them.

This ought to be a time when humanity puts its differences aside to help in a common cause, but there are some people who just cannot stand that idea that Israel could do anything good, or that Israelis have any humanity at all. People like the Iranian state broadcaster Press TV, for example. So what is their response to Israel's efforts to help the people of Haiti?

Israel harvesting organs in Haiti?

While media reports from Haiti express amazement at Israel's well-equipped medical delegation to the quake-stricken nation, some critics have warned against organ theft.

The Israeli medical team dispatched to Haiti has set up a field hospital in the tremor-battered Caribbean country, winning Western media praise for doing what even their American peers have not yet managed to accomplish.

But a video posted on Youtube by an American resident of Seattle, Washington on Tuesday took the shine off the Israeli professionalism that media have raved about in the past few days.

In his video, T. West of a group called AfriSynergy Productions suggested that soldiers in the military delegation to the earthquake site in Haiti might be involved in stealing organs from their patients.

He warned that there are people operating in Haiti who do not have a conscience and are members of the search-and-rescue teams, including the Israeli army, Israeli news website Ynet reported on Wednesday.

West recalled organ harvest charges filed against the Israeli army in the past, and pointed out that there is very little monitoring during such tragedies.

He warned the Haitian people to protect their fellow citizens against international medical groups who have arrived in the country in hope of making money off the tragedy.

In a interview with Ynet, West said he had nothing against Israel but fully opposed "the ideology of Zionism."

"We saw what you did in South Africa and with the Palestinians. Because of our history and the suffering of our people, I understand what the Palestinians are going through."

Last Tuesday, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake jolted Haiti, leaving an estimated 200,000 people killed — 70,000 of whom have already been buried in mass graves.

West, an African American who does "a talk show and journalism and volunteer for a few non-profit organizations," appreciated the presence of Israeli military forces and others helping in Haiti, but noted "everywhere there is death, there are exploiters."

"There needs to be transparency in Haiti," he urged.

Press TV has developed something of an obsession with peddling the 'Israeli organ stealing' story, which has taken the form of a contemporary blood libel. That an Iranian state broadcaster should promote lies about Israel and Jews is sadly not a surprise. That they show such disdain for the ordinary Haitian people whose lives are being saved by Israeli doctors is beyond contempt.


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Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth