Thursday, December 15, 2005
Magen David Adom
ADL Hails Landmark Vote Enabling Israel's Magen David Adom to Join IRC
New York, NY, December 8, 2005 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today hailed the landmark vote in Geneva enabling Israel's emergency medical service, Magen David Adom (MDA), to become a full member in the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Anti-Israel bias long kept MDA out of the ICRC, with the Red Star of David not recognized as an official symbol.
A diplomatic conference convened the 191 signatories to the Geneva Conventions to approve a "Third Additional Protocol" that would establish a new "neutral emblem" – the "Red Crystal" – which Israel can display with its Red Star of David in international operations. The vote was 98 in favor and 27 against, with 10 abstentions.
In Israel, MDA will continue to use the Red Star of David exclusively as it has always done.
"We wholeheartedly welcome the approval of an officially recognized neutral emblem that will finally enable Magen David Adom to join the International Red Cross," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "This historic step on the road to full MDA membership and partnership in the ICRC has been too long in coming. Since 1949, Israel has been denied membership in this important humanitarian body, and for most of the intervening decades since little effort was made to resolve this unfair exclusion."
ADL praised the American Red Cross for its "steadfast advocacy and delicate diplomacy" in pressing the issue with the International Red Cross, and commended Switzerland, the depository of the Geneva Conventions, for rounding up support for the diplomatic conference.
This vote does not automatically lead to MDA's membership in the ICRC. A number of organizational bodies must adopt the changes and vote to officially recognize MDA, including the 181-member International General Assembly, which must approve the changes with a two-thirds vote.