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The medal we didn’t win

Israel must take moral stand against China’s immoral organ trade
By Elyakim Haetzni, Ynetnews, Israel
August 20, 2008

In the first years after Israel’s establishment we ignored the suffering of others because of our own endless wars, the economic situation, and mostly because we had to absorb numerous refugees. Yet things have changed. Today, our tycoons build malls in Eastern Europe and casinos in Las Vegas, while thousands go on vacation in Turkey. Today, our international ranking is among the highest and most successful.

Yet there is one place where we are not present: Among the world’s moral guardians. Our voice was not heard when genocide disasters were taking place in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Darfur. The bleeding hearts amongst us create artificial compassion for “Palestinian suffering,” which in the Third World would be considered a paradise.

A nation that aspires to be a light unto the nations, and itself was subject to a mass extermination campaign, can be asked to show greater moral standing than what is being displayed by the Jewish State.

It would be unfortunate if the historians discover that we were a military and high-tech superpower, yet instead of being a light unto the nations, we brought darkness.

And here’s a burning example: Recently, we read an outrageous report about the organ trade in China. As it turned out, hundreds of Israelis had their transplants there, yet we are the only country in the world to officially finance such transplants. A Canadian report noted that at least 60,000 transplants took place in China in the years 2000-2005. During that period, China executed about 1,650 people per year.

Time for self-reflection

There are almost no organ donations in China. Where did the other 41,500 “donors” come from then? From members of the Falun Gong, an innocent sect that is being persecuted in China. A Chinese doctor, who performed 2,000 corneal transplants before refusing to continue, said other organs were removed from the bodies before they were burned. It is for good reason that you can get a kidney in China within days. They have a bank of living donors.

Imagine that the Nazis were familiar with transplant techniques – how would we treat those who would buy their health with Jewish hearts? Is it “never again” just for Jews?

One of the good traits of our people is the ceaseless, and even exaggerated at times, self-criticism. The time has come for a national self-reflection process in respect to our moral place among the nations of the world. Beyond our national aspirations, don’t the people of Israel have a universal role to play? Is this what our prophets predicted?

We have interests in China, yet this is the test of a moral stand – the willingness to pay a price for it. Therefore, we should make China transplants a crime. Legislation has normative power – it creates a moral standard. Moreover, as a nation that has the Holocaust’s memory etched in its consciousness, we should be leading a global campaign for similar legislation, particularly in wealthy countries. A declining demand will bring down the supply.

Perhaps we shall not be bringing a gold medal from China, but we can still get much shinier medals of compassion and humanity there.

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