Erdan: Israel coronavirus vaccination success used to spread blood libel

Erdan: Israel coronavirus vaccination success used to spread blood libel

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN and the US Gilad Erdan said that antisemitic voices are using Israel’s successful coronavirus vaccination campaign to “attack Israel” and are “spreading a new blood libel,” against Israel, in an op-ed published in Newsweek Friday.

“False claims have been made about our obligations to vaccinate the Palestinian population, even though, under international agreements, the Palestinian Authority assumed responsibility for the health care of its own population,” Erdan wrote.

“Israel is known around the world as the first country to assist in hard times whenever and wherever it can. This has been no different with regards to the Palestinian population,” said Erdan, emphasizing problems with a narrative of Israeli negligence spread on social media and by major media outlets.

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“Since the start of this crisis, we have trained medical staff and supplied them with COVID-19 testing kits and other essential equipment,” Erdan went on to say.

Major media outlets and Twitter accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers have reported that Israel is intentionally leaving the Palestinians to languish in the middle of a pandemic by not supplying them with coronavirus vaccinations.

“As Israel leads in COVID-19 vaccines per capita, Palestinians still await shots,” an NPR headline read, seemingly implying a correlation.

“Palestinians left waiting as Israel is set to deploy COVID-19 vaccine,” read an Associated Press headline, reprinted by countless news outlets, including PBS and Al Jazeera.

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A Guardian article lamented in its headline: “Palestinians excluded from Israeli Covid vaccine rollout as jabs go to settlers.”

Erdan also mentioned Israel’s transfer of vaccines to Palestinian medical teams which began on Monday saying that “even though we have yet to complete our own operation, this week we transferred an initial 5,000 out of 20,000 doses to them.”

Erdan said he felt “immensely proud” to be part of Israel’s vaccination campaign that has led to over three million Israelis receiving the first dose of the vaccination and almost two million receiving both doses. 

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Erdan touched on why he thinks Israel has been so successful at vaccinating its population, saying that in part it is due to Israel’s experience at dealing with emergencies.

He said it was a “sad reality” that “in [Israel’s] short history we’ve had to learn to pull together in times of crisis—whether wars, terrorist threats or large-scale immigration operations—all strenuous situations that have demanded great resilience from Israelis.”

Erdan also chalked some of Israel’s success up to Israel’s highly digitized health maintenance organizations which all citizens and residents must be members of. 

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