Scott Cushing
Former Newspaper Publisher and Editorial Writer

How can we trust the International Red Cross when it comes to the hostages?

When I was in high school, I was selected to participate in a leadership initiative with the American Red Cross. Thereafter, I served on my local Red Cross youth outreach program and sat as one of the Board of Directors for a County chapter in upstate New York. I was proud to volunteer in disaster aid drills, and volunteer during major fires, floods and storms that impacted families in the region. I valued the American Red Cross and its importance.

In the aftermath of October 7th, I am questioning my judgement and thought regarding the International Red Cross and its work. I believe the institution has failed the humanity test and shows clear hostility to the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

I am particularly embarrassed by the ICRC and what I perceive as its disgraceful response to the families of the hostages in Israel. Since the terror attack by Hamas, the ICRC’s posture, statements, and actions towards the victims of the attack has been outright appalling. In fact, their social media accounts have been rightly criticized and, in my estimation, have served as rallying cries for protestors and antagonists to the Jewish state.

ICRC, in a damage control operation on December 20th, published a piece where they address, “a proliferation of dehumanizing language and of false and misleading information about the ICRC and our work in the current conflict.” After reading their narrative, I have come to the sad conclusion they are simply not attempting to address their failures as an organization, but rather, explaining it away.

UN Watch, the Jerusalem Institute for Justice and hostage families have pointed to ICRC’s alarming social media posts in the aftermath of October 7th. UN Watch devastatingly unveiled that ICRC promoted the false Hamas story that Israel attacked and “destroyed” Al Ahli hospital, saying it was shocked and horrified that “hundreds were killed,” including “patients killed in a hospital bed,” and doctors were “losing their lives trying to save others.” We all know that ICRC’s comments were devoid of facts. Their accounts, in my estimation, served to instigate rage towards Jews and the State of Israel based on a lie.

The statements, passed as fact, were debunked terrorist propaganda. For those who like statistics, 77% of the tweets by ICRC related accounts on X (twitter) criticized Israel while only 7% criticized Hamas.

It is interesting to note that confirmed and substantiated reports now unveil that hospitals in Gaza were satellite bases for Hamas which housed military hardware, guns, missiles, tunnels, and offices for the terror leadership. Funny, not a peep from ICRC social media platforms on that revelation. ICRC will no doubt hide behind rules of neutrality.

I am, however, still looking for the reports of ICRC contacting authorities like the UN or any human rights organization on this matter. For some dubious reason I cannot seem to find any. I wonder why.

The ICRC appears to have a problem when victims are found to be from Israel. ICRC social media accounts in the days and weeks after the attack show a clear and indisputable bias. Their emphasis appears to show the suffering of Palestinians while failing to show what actually happened on October 7th. The false hospital “strike” by Israeli forces is proof positive of their bias. This is, in effect, like highlighting the US response to September 11th and not bothering to show the actual attack on US soil. It is the epitome of intellectual dishonesty and shows what I believe to be the true nature of ICRC, its culture, values, and integrity.

One of the most telling stories regarding the ICRC is outlined by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller in a very compelling article published by AISH. She reports that an Israeli hostage family met with officials of ICRC at their invitation. Family members felt they were being summoned so that they could hand over medication for their relative held captive by Hamas. The pervasive thought was that ICRC would serve as a go-between and deliver the desperately needed medicine. Instead, the Red Cross refused to accept the medication and had the audacity to lecture the family about the Palestinian side of the issue.

In essence, ICRC participated in a modern-day mental torture session with a family instead of working to get the hostage the medication.

It is shameful. CNN anchor Jake Tapper interviewed an ICRC spokesperson regarding the meeting with the hostage family. The spokesperson tap danced around the comments made by their organization for a solid five minutes before he could finally choke out a half-hearted apology on national television. The spokesperson even tried to term the incident a “misunderstanding.” Tapper clapped back to the ICRC mouthpiece noting that he was playing word games. The back and forth on CNN showed a complete disconnect to the reality of the situation and the unveiling of the ICRC moral compass, or lack thereof.

Until ICRC recognizes the scale and scope of barbarity perpetuated by Hamas and their sympathizers, their morality, trust and place within civil society will be questioned.

In my leadership conferences with the Red Cross, we looked at people as people. Currently, the ICRC has appointed themselves judges of who is worthy to be cared for based upon their warped sense of right and wrong. They have failed the test. This lifelong supporter of the Red Cross is embarrassed by their behavior.

About the Author
Michael "Scott" Cushing serves as Special Advisor to the Nassau County Executive on the Combating Antisemitism Task Force. He also serves on the Community Advisory Board of Northwell Long Island Jewish Hospital, Valley Stream, New York. Further, he is former Publisher and Editorial writer for the Gateway-Bulletin Newspapers. He served in senior staff positions for the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate for over twenty years. He is active in Israeli and Jewish affairs in Nassau County.
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