GENEVA (Nov. 2)
The American Red Cross declared here that it shares fully the concerns expressed by Israel and by Jewish organizations over the “discriminatory” exclusion of Israel’s Magen David Adom (Red Shield of David) from the society of humanitarian agencies, evidenced most recently by the International Red Cross Movement’s decision to change its title to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The change was announced last Monday at the quadrennial International Red Cross Conference and was promptly protested by the Israeli delegation and by the World Jewish Congress which had observer status at the week-long conference. The Red Crescent is the Red Cross equivalent in Moslem countries, just as the Magen David Adom is in Israel.
A statement by the U.S. delegate said, “The American Red Cross has noted with interest the interventions by the government of Israel and by the observers from the World Jewish Congress, and supports their concerns. We urge again, as we have many times, that each society develops a bilateral relationship with Magen David Adom.”
The American delegate stated further, “It is our conviction that the continued exclusion of an otherwise eligible national society from membership in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement on the basis that its constituents cannot identify with the universally accepted emblem, deprives our movement of its cherished principle of universality.”
The American Red Cross called for a special committee to resolve the problem. “We recognize that a solution to the protective symbol question that is acceptable to all parties in the international treaties is the only ultimate answer and we call for the resumption of a working group on the emblem,” the American statement said.