Thanks to Opinio Juris for providing a pointer to a new International Committee of the Red Cross statement. It announces the adoption of a Third Optional Protocol making a “Red Crystal” a symbol on par with the long-standing “Red Cross” and “Red Crescent”. In so doing it finally — after decades — makes it possible for an Israeli relief organizaiton to join.
This Red Diamond is an incredibly stupid emblem. If a Red Cross or a Red Crescent are acceptable, why is a Red Star (of David) not?
This is also a victory for Kazakhstan, a much larger nation than Israel. Kazakhstan has about equal populations of Christians (Russian Orthodox) and Muslims and a deeply held non-favoritism policy, and couldn’t choose between the two emblems.
As the red cross was founded by a Swiss gent. he found his symbol by taking the pattern of the Swiss flag and inverting the colors. Nobody thought of it as religious–the Christian cross is a different shape. But in the Middle East any red cross calls to mind the Crusades so they used the crescent which adorns mosques as their symbol (like the so-called “Star of David” the crescent is actually a much older and pagan symbol, but never mind. In Iran the symbol was the Red Lion and Sun. The Israelis, again taking the religious tack, used the Star of David.
I think it’s time the organization scrapped all of them and came up with something universal and secular.