Alan D. Abbey
The International Committee of the Red Cross has finally deigned to let Israel join, said Alan D. Abbey in Tel Avivs Yedioth Ahronoth. For six decades, Israels aid organization was barred from the international group because it used a red Star of David symbol instead of a crosseven though Muslim countries all got to use a red Islamic crescent. Now, after a financial boycott by the American Red Cross that has cost the Geneva-based society millions of dollars, the ICRC has come up with the ridiculous solution of allowing Israels relief agency to use a tiny, shrunken star squeezed inside a third symbol, a diamond called the red crystal. Ostensibly, any country can use the crystal, but in practice, its only for Israel. Right-wing commentators are growling that this compromise is an insult and should be rejected. Theyre right that its an insultand worse, a classic example of genteel anti-Semitism on the part of the Swissbut since it gets Israel into the global organization, the government has accepted it. Its just too bad that the ICRC didnt replace all three religious symbols. If the cross is unacceptable to some, and the crescent is unacceptable to others, and the Star of David is unacceptable to nearly everyone, why not find a new, truly neutral symbol for all to use?