The Times obviously can't bear the positive coverage Israel is finally getting in the press, most notably by news channels including Sky, CNN, and Fox News.
So it now has devoted a whole page in the newspaper to a complete non-story that seeks out to utterly vilify Israel in case there was anyone who saw what Israel is doing in Haiti and thought, "hey, maybe Israel's not all evil."
The story claims that Israel is not granting aid workers for the Palestinians work permits, and implies that Israel targets the aid organisations because they don't like their criticism of Israel. Israel's interior ministry denied that visas had been stopped.
This is clearly a cynical attempt by the Times to defame Israel at a time when people (heaven forbid!) might start warming up to the country. This is made even clearer by the small piece accompanying the article, entitled 'Haiti and Gaza are not the same'.
In the piece, instead of praising Israel for saving lives in Haiti, the Times chooses to criticse Israel for "noisily trumpeting its own relief efforts" there.
How terrible of Israel! The Times doesn't understand that since every good thing Israel does is usually completely ignored by the world media, so when Israel contributes a good thing to a place in the world where everyone is watching, it might be nice to be seen as a country that doesn't just "ethnically cleanse" people and "commit genocide".
Also, I don't really see Israel "noisily trumpeting" anything. Are they not allowed to update the IDF spokesperson site and upload Youtube videos to show what they're doing in Haiti? Should they have told Sky and CNN "no, don't film us or talk to us, this is top secret." Should they close their twitter account rather than communicate with people who need aid or rescuing from the rubble? Should they not publicise their location so people know how to find them?
The only phrase the Times uses to describe Israel's efforts there is "image-burnishing". It's almost as if the Times would rather that Israel never turned up to Haiti at all, and left the non-existent hospitals there to treat the survivors instead.
The "noisy trumpeting" that the Times criticises is actually an email being sent around written by some Jewish Zionist, and nothing to do with the sinister government-implied "hasbara war" the Times refers to.
Though I hate to say this, I will be honest, as I always try to be: the email is badly written. It makes a good point, (that Israel's "disproportionate" response in Haiti should not be ignored, whilst the media and governments amplified Cast Lead); but it comes across all wrong. First, it implies that because of what Israel is doing in Haiti, all criticism of Cast Lead is invalid. I would say that most criticism of Cast Lead is invalid anyway, not because of Haiti, but because of Hamas and their rockets and using Palestinians as human shields, and Israel not deliberately targetting civilians, etc etc. The email sounds as though it expects Goldstone to take back what he said just because Israel is doing a good thing, but this is ridiculous; people who criticised Cast Lead would not change their minds just because Israel is doing something good somewhere else, and I don't expect them too. The most we can hope for is that people realise Israel's not all bad (not even close), but I'm sure most people know that already, although sometimes it seems like they don't.
The other fault of the email is that it mentions the Arab and Muslim world's lack of aid to Haiti, which is, accoring to the email, nothing. That's just not true. The Arab world has given very little, but not nothing. There's Islamic Relief which collected aid, and a few countries got involved like Egypt and Morrocco.
Jewish and Zionist criticism of Arabs and Muslims is almost always justified, but since they would probably be accused of racism or Islamophobia for it, it's probably best to just stick with "noisily trumpeting" Israel's good actions rather than bringing down the Arabs. (Especially when it's done without thinking, like in the email). When it's obvious, like Iran and Saudi Arabia's disregard for the suffering of Haiti, other people will do it instead. When it's not obvious, (or it is but is ignored by the rest of the world), like honour killings and forcing an 11 year old girl to marry her father's 80 year old cousin, we're almost morally obligated to expose it, and shouldn't not just for fear of being called racist.
Having said all that, the Times' gleeful exploitation of a badly worded email that means well, to use as a way to quash Israel, it's efforts in Haiti, and it's supporters even when Israel is giving of itself to do dangerous, difficult, exhausting, not to mention costly work saving lives; is disgusting. I didn't think the Times would stoop that low. Their attitude can be summed up by Telegraph blogger Stephanie Gutmann's amusing piece.
Please donate to Haiti if you haven't already. We haven't forgotten who this is really about, (although the Times seems to think we have), but we can and should take pride in Israel's amazing work over there.