Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dutch Reporter Likens Israel's Progressive Prenatal Practices to a Eugenics Program

Products of a militarized campaign to perfect The Chosen People.

Policies and practices that are lauded in other countries are 'problematized' in relation to Israel. So, for instance, Israel's rapid-fire, at-the-ready humanitarian aid missions to disaster zones are described as attempts to white-wash its international image; its progressive LGBT policies pink-wash its treatment of Palestinians; Israel's technological breakthroughs are shunned as byproducts of its military-industrial-complex, and so on.

Now, a new cleansing system is revealed: Israel's extensive, best-practice, prenatal policies are really a manifestation of a eugenics program for producing perfect babies. Honest Reporting today informs us how Ilse van Heusden, a Dutch reporter, pregnant while in Israel was forced to take so many prenatal screening tests that her experience felt like being part of a systematic campaign aimed at perfecting The Chosen People: 

"To be pregnant in Israel is comparable to a military operation. Countless echos and blood tests should produce the perfect baby, nothing can be left to the luck of the draw. The state demands healthy babies and a lot of them too."

In fact so obsessive is Israel in its production of perfect babies that, "The state promotes the birth of children by supplying, among other things, a considerable child allowance."

OMG, can you imagine a more disgraceful policy than providing a considerable child allowance?

But it gets worse:

"After writing that she was diagnosed with the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) virus and as a result was requested to conduct an additional test, Van Heusden exclaimed:
 'I was surprised about the spasmodic attitude about this test and the previous one. After all children are loved and honored here and Israel is a paradise when it comes to having children …’”

Yet while claiming that Israel's pro-baby policies are racist -- as in wanting to maintain a demographic edge -- she reveals herself to be just a tad racist herself. Nor does she mention that tests are recommended and not mandatory:

"I am healthy and not in the category of the Ashkenazi Jews … yet I had to experience twelve echo tests and four blood tests”.

Then, unwittingly giving credence to the importance of rigorous prenatal testing, she boasts:

"Finally, we held this little baby boy in our arms that went through all those tests. When we admired his little fingers and toes we saw that one of his toes was too small. His personal revenge on the Israeli health system.

Honest Reporting uses this opportunity to summarize some basic facts about Israel's prenatal and health delivery system which you can read about here. The key points are that prenatal care in Israel is organized according to World Health Organization recommendations; it's mortality rate is one of the lowest in the world, and that includes Arab-Israeli births; its longevity rate is among the highest and it has managed to achieve its results with a far lower per-capita expenditure than, say, The Netherlands.

In a complementary vein, I read a review of a study aimed at problematizing the experience of Israeli-Arab women’s emergence into modernity in the form of reproductive health and education: Birthing the Nation: Strategies of Palestinian Women in IsraelIn this studywhat would be considered progressive policies, especially given the emphasis placed on women’s equality in the UN Reports on Arab Development, are twisted into examples of cultural hegemony by Israel. Claims are made that Arab-Israeli women are buying into Jewish-Israeli conceptions of what it means to be a modern woman, including controlling reproduction, limiting number of births so as to increase economic wealth, tracing "a link between care for the female body and companionate marriage," (i.e., forming an autonomous identity and demanding equality in marriage), and other insidious 'orientalizing' effects of Zionism. In other words all those things that women in Arab societies are craving should be denied their Arab-Israeli sisters.

I know that things are far from perfect in Israel. The struggle for civil rights is ongoing, just like it is in most other countries. However, Israel is specifically targeted by those who would delegitimize every category of its existence, and that needs to be countered. Robustly.

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