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February 04, 2015

Vaccines, Racists, and the Discriminatory Standard


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Some politicians are saying some things about vaccine and the role the government plays in public health.

And here's what The Wall Street Journal stated yesterday on that subject:

Government doesn’t “force” parents to vaccinate children. The states impose penalties (such as barring attendance in public schools) on those who pose a risk to public health by refusing vaccinations against infectious diseases.

Yes, in the United States, government often penalizes those who don't vaccinate their children. It's been that way for a long time. Why, then, hasn't US immunization policy been described as racist in the pages of major newspapers? You see, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have both relayed the absurd charge that Israel's policy penalizing families that don't immunize children amounts to anti-Arab discrimination.

Again and again, The Times has treated as credible the comically absurd list of supposedly discriminatory laws promulgated by the anti-Israel advocacy group Adalah. Israel has "50 discriminatory Israeli laws," a recent Op-Ed claimed, citing Adalah. Same thing on the news pages. Wall Street Journal fact-checkers also gave a pass to the same charge.

But even a cursory examination of the charge would show that Adalah's list includes, along with other completely innocuous statutes, Israel's law that withholds certain benefits from families (of any ethnicity or religion) that don't immunize their children. (You can read more about those charges here.)

Discriminatory? Of course not. And it's safe to say that no other country is slurred in this way for policy meant to ensure immunizations. Israel is singled out with rhetorical abuse for rather mundane public health policy. Editors at major newspapers are playing along. How's that for discriminatory?

Posted by GI at February 4, 2015 11:52 AM

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