OU Condemns Red Cross Official’s Outrageous Accusation

Posted on May 23, 2001 In Press Releases

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest mainstream Orthodox Jewish synagogue organization, today condemned outrageous remarks made by an official of the Red Cross in Israel calling the existence of Jewish settlements a “war crime”. Rene Kosirnik, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Israel, called the settlements in the West Bank a violation of human rights law under the Geneva Convention. This false and outrageous accusation flies in the face of everything that the Red Cross is intended to represent. The very fact that the ICRC would refer to settlements as a war crime is an obscene distortion of the facts and illustrates the true bias of the ICRC which was silent as millions of Jews were exterminated during World War II and today continues to refuse to recognize the Red Magen David of Israel. The reference to the Fourth Geneva Convention is a particularly vicious affront since the Geneva Convention was adopted in response to the Nazi atrocities during the Holocaust and to try to invoke it against Israel is an insult and an outrage.

The Orthodox Union calls upon the ICRC to immediately retract this odious statement. We will continue to monitor closely the ICRC’s actions and pronouncements and will make recommendations to Congress regarding American support of the ICRC based upon our observations.