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53 Solons Urge State Dep’t. to Aid Israel’s Application to the Red Cross

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Fifty-three members of the House of Representatives have asked the State Department to work “actively” for approval of Israel’s long-standing application for membership in the International Red Cross.

The request was contained in a letter to Patricia Derian, the Department’s coordinator for human rights who will head the American delegation to the 23rd conference of the International Red Cross committee that convenes in Bucharest Oct. 15. The letter, authored by Rep. Robert F. Drinan (D. Mass.), noted that the conference will be the last such meeting until 1981 and therefore it is “imperative that we act now to end this inexcusable discrimination against the Jewish State.”

The Magen David Adom Society, Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross, has been denied membership ever since Israel attained statehood in 1949. “The only basis for this exclusion,” the Congressmen’s letter said, “is the refusal of the International Red Cross to permit the Magen David Adom Society to use the red Star of David rather than the Red Cross as its emblem.”

“No other nation’s medical service organization is forced to accept the symbol of a religion not its own,” the letter added. “The International Red Cross permits all Moslem nations to use the Red Crescent as their symbol and permits Iran to use the Red Lion and Sun, emblem of the Persian empire. Only Israel is singled out for rejection.”

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