Within days of the Israeli attack on Gaza, code named Pillar of Cloud (Hebrew) and Pillar of Defense (English), the Jewish Federations of North America announced that they had raised an astonishing $5 million for the victims. When I told some of the victims that I was going to interview Ms. Goldie Reichstein, Chair of the Victims Fund, they asked me to convey their gratitude, which is how I started the interview:
RIGHT: One of many Israeli-made pillars rises over Gaza communities. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
Barb Weir: Thank you for granting this interview. Some of the victims have asked me to tell you that they are very grateful.
Reichstein: It’s the least we can do, Barb. After all, it is a small sacrifice compared to the victims themselves. Who are the victims that you contacted? Perhaps we can use them to show the donors how their generosity is making a difference.
Barb Weir: I spoke with Dr. Mona el-Farra of the Gaza Red Crescent Society, Dr. Eyad Sarraj of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, Dr Mohammed Al-Sousi of Islamic Relief and others. They were almost in tears at this demonstration of caring.
Reichstein: I think there’s a misunderstanding, Barb. We aid victims of terrorism, not the perpetrators.
Barb Weir: I think that’s understandable, Ms. Reichstein. Although these physicians are sworn to provide medical assistance to all, I think they would appreciate your right to make the distinction. The civilian victims will still be exceedingly grateful.
Our aid is only for victims of terrorism, not for the unfortunate civilians that are blown to bits or made homeless by our courageous soldiers in Tel Aviv operating drones in Gaza.
Reichstein: You don’t get it, Barb. Our aid is only for victims of terrorism, not for the unfortunate civilians that are blown to bits or made homeless by our courageous soldiers in Tel Aviv operating drones in Gaza.
Barb Weir: So who qualifies as a victim of terrorism?
Reichstein: For one thing, our aid is for Israelis only. There’s no way Palestinians in Gaza would qualify.
Barb Weir: They will be disappointed, but I guess the Bedouins whose homes are being destroyed in the Naqab (Negev) will welcome the help, as will the victims that have been attacked by the Jewish extremist Price Tag gangs that also destroy and burn churches, mosques and other property belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Reichstein: They are also not our focus, Barb. We’re about helping Jewish victims, not Christians, Arabs, Muslims or other non-Jews.
Barb Weir: So how many Jewish victims are there, Ms. Reichstein?
Reichstein: We’re all victims, Barb, but these funds will go to the most deserving, and both of them will be grateful.