Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

AIJAC welcomes moves to end Red Cross discrimination

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9 December 2005

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs (AIJAC) today said it welcomed the decision to add an additional emblem, the red crystal, to the red cross and the red crescent, for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (the Federation).

AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein explained, "For too long, the Israeli equivalent, the Magen David Adom (MDA) or Red Star of David, has been discriminatorily prevented from joining the Federation, purportedly because its symbol was incompatible with the symbols acknowledged by the Federation.

"With the adoption of this third emblem, the MDA should now be able to take its rightful place among its equivalent humanitarian organisations in the Federation, with the Star of David placed inside the crystal."

The Diplomatic Conference in Geneva amended the Geneva Conventions to allow the use of the third emblem, but there is still one more step to complete the process. A conference next year of the Federation will need to amend the statutes of the movement to allow this change to be implemented.

Referring to past efforts by some Arab states and their supporters to use this as yet another way to segregate Israel from the world community, Dr Rubenstein said, "We hope and trust that the final step will be no more than a formality that will see an end to this cynical and discriminatory politicisation of the humanitarian movement."

Dr Rubenstein concluded, "AIJAC has been discussing this issue with the Australian Red Cross (ARC) for a number of years, and we would like to express our appreciation for the efforts of the ARC to bring about this outcome."

For more information, contact Dr. Colin Rubenstein on: (03)-9681-6660 or 0418 339 721 or at aijac@aijac.org.au.

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