E-Mail Wrongly Derides American Red Cross

  • October 12, 2004

An e-mail alleges that the "recent" departure of Dr. Bernadine Healy as President of American Red Cross was due to her championship of Magen David Adom's (MDA) membership in the International Red Cross. The e-mail calls on readers to refuse to give donations to American Red Cross until MDA "is recognized by that organization."

This e-mail is three years old and the information contained in it is inaccurate.

Dr. Healy resigned from the American Red Cross in 2001.  While Dr. Healy did indeed champion the advancement of MDA, the American Red Cross under the current president, Marty Evans, continues to be Magen David Adom's greatest advocate for its full integration and membership into the International Red Cross system.

Below are excerpts from a fact sheet on the American Red Cross/Magen David Adom relationship prepared by the American Red Cross.

Excerpts from American Red Cross Fact Sheet:

The American Red Cross Board of Governors has considered the admission of MDA, the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross, to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement a policy priority for 50 years.  We are committed to securing full membership for MDA in the Movement. Currently, MDA is denied full membership because it uses the Red Star of David as its emblem and under the Geneva conventions, only the Red Cross and Red Crescent are accepted symbols. Therefore, the Geneva Conventions must be amended.

The American Red Cross has been encouraging governments to move forward with a diplomatic conference to adopt changes to the Geneva Conventions. Consider the following:

In December of 2003, the 28th session of the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent adopted a resolution affirming their commitment to find lasting solutions to issues surrounding the Movement's emblems and related laws.  The American Red Cross was pleased with this resolution.  It is currently up to the Swiss government to convene a meeting.

Furthermore, since 2000, in protest of non-admission, the American Red Cross has with held $25 million in dues to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and its voluntary headquarters contributions to the ICRC. To this day, the Red Cross continues to withhold this money.

In November of 2002, The American Red Cross and MDA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize our longstanding mutual assistance in times of need.  The agreement includes a focus on preparedness for weapons of mass destruction attacks, international tracing and family reunification, and biomedical services.  Our organizations have much to learn from each other.  The American Red Cross encouraged other societies to establish similar agreements with MDA. In June of 2003,the ICRC signed its first cooperative agreement with MDA, and recently the British and French Red Cross have also established similar agreements.

The American Red Cross and MDA have enjoyed a strong relationship of mutual assistance since MDA's founding more than 70 years ago. Exclusion of MDA from the Movement and the Federation, which now comprise 181 national societies in sovereign nations, is a betrayal of the Red Cross Fundamental Principles.  Our work is not complete.  The American Red Cross will steadfastly promote MDA's membership at every opportunity.