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Jews and Arabs can care for one another

On November 5, 2013, Larry Rich, Director of Development and International Public Relations at Emek Medical Clinic/Hospital in Afula, Israel graphically described to an audience of over 60 in the Scottish Parliament the work at his hospital and the care given to all patients - Arabs, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Circassians and others – without distinction. The medical teams too are constituted of just such an ethnic mixture. With numerous illustrations he described how barriers and stereotypes were seen as irrelevant and non-existent between staff and patients and among patients themselves, leading not infrequently to lasting friendships. He said, “We prove, every hour of every day that Jews and Arabs are capable of caring for one another and sharing in life's bounty”, adding that this was not unique to Emek but was the norm throughout Israeli hospitals.

His talk was interrupted on occasion by anti-Israel hecklers (“Mouths wide open and minds firmly closed”, according to one audience member) who were removed by parliament security. Larry was not deterred by such interuption. He simply desisted from political discussion, saying he was “neither a politician nor a soldier”. None of the would-be interrupters were interested in the humanitarian exchanges between Arab & Jew which were being illustrated. Their sole tactic was meaninglessly to repeat the slogans they had been taught by their racist motivators: that Israel is a racist and apartheid state. A few critics of Israel allowed Larry Rich the courtesy of finishing his presentation before they and others were given ample opportunity to express their views.

One such more articulate critic, Dr Colin Cooper, medical advisor to Edinburgh Direct Aid, was in effect allowed to deliver a short speech critical of Israeli government policies. He has advocated the boycott of Israel and is an activist with at least one organisation supportive of that attempted boycott (, yet he was prepared to distance himself from that advocacy long enough to ask Larry Rich for help in obtaining aid from the Israeli medical services for a patient of his acquaintance with a serious condition. Larry offered to help where he could and both agreed to co-operate further.

A dozen or so desultory cranks of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Edinburgh coven, jumped up and down outside the parliament building for a short time but were ignored – as usual. Later, the inspiration of these would-be Brown-Shirts, Michael Napier, who has boasted of visiting with members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Gaza, hosted the musician Gilad Atzmon (whom BBC Watch branded an anti-Semite: ) the while claiming proud ownership of a flag of the Hezbollah terror group currently murdering its way across half of Syria.

On his webpage Napier posted his fatuous attempt at a summary of the evening’s event in the parliament. In fact, he made it up! He wasn’t there. Already ignored by most Members of the Parliament and ostracised by a substantial section of the political left, he sent a few of his almost incoherent minions to report to him, perhaps afraid of being arrested – again!

The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Scottish Friends of Israel.

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