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US Senate demands ICRC accept Israel

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  • Josh Pollack
    Jerusalem Post Thursday August 2, 2001 53 US senators urge Red Cross to accept MDA By Melissa Radler
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2001
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      Jerusalem Post
      Thursday August 2, 2001
      53 US senators urge Red Cross to accept MDA
      By Melissa Radler

      http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/08/02/News/News.31733.html

      NEW YORK (August 2) - In a bipartisan effort led by US Senators Peter
      Fitzgerald (R-Illinois) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York,) a group of
      53 senators sent letters yesterday to Secretary of State Colin Powell and
      leaders of the Red Cross urging the world's largest humanitarian
      organization to grant full and immediate membership to Magen David Adom.

      At a news conference in Washington that brought together politicians, Jewish
      leaders, and American Red Cross officials, Fitzgerald and Clinton called on
      Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Red Cross and Red
      Crescent, and Astrid Heiberg, president of the International Federation of
      Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, to support MDA's 51-year quest for
      membership.

      "These letters send a clear signal to the international Red Cross leadership
      and the world that MDA's exclusion from the Red Cross movement is
      unacceptable," said Fitzgerald In October, he sponsored a Senate resolution
      that called on the Red Cross to immediately admit MDA and its emblem.

      MDA was denied membership in the Red Cross in 1949, purportedly because its
      red six-pointed star emblem was unacceptable under the organization's
      guidelines, which accepted only the cross. Since 1949, 25 Red Crescent
      societies have been admitted, and MDA remains the only national emergency
      relief society to be excluded from the movement.

      Recalling the work of MDA in international emergency relief, Clinton said
      that MDA "truly embodies the principles upon which the Red Cross movement
      was founded - humanity, impartiality, neutrality, unity, and universality."

      The letters to Kellenberger and Heiberg state that "MDA should not be
      required to give up or diminish its use of its emblem as a condition for
      immediate and full membership in the movement. The Red Shield of David
      should be accorded the same recognition under international law as the Red
      Cross and Red Crescent," while the letter to Powell urges him to make MDA a
      "high priority of the United States in its dealings with the ICRC, the
      federation, and with countries that have opposed MDA's full admission into
      the movement."

      The American Red Cross, which in the past has termed MDA's exclusion "an
      injustice of the highest order," sent Gerald Jones, vice president for
      international services, to the conference.

      Reiterating his organization's support for MDA, Jones said that its
      inclusion "is a matter of principle and reflects quintessentially American
      values."

      Last week, Fitzgerald and Clinton met with Bernadine Healy, president of the
      American Red Cross, to discuss MDA's status.

      Fitzgerald and Clinton were praised by a broad range of Jewish groups,
      including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Union of
      Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the Anti-Defamation League, and
      the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

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