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Feb 08

British Doctors Demand Israel’s Expulsion From World Medical Association

The letter follows another in 2009, which laid out similar concerns about the Israeli medical establishment’s collusion with the country’s security apparatus and other violations of international medical ethics.

By Richard Silverstein

In this Tuesday, August 11, 2015 file photo, Israeli Arab supporters of Mohammed Allan, a Palestinian prisoner on a hunger strike, hold signs during a rally outside Barzilai hospital, in the costal city of Ashkelon, Israel. Allan spent his college years as an activist, fighting for Palestinian rights as a member of the student wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group. Now, verging on death and shackled to a hospital bed, the man accused by Israel of affiliation with terrorists has put a spotlight on Israel’s controversial detention and force-feeding policies. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

In this Tuesday, August 11, 2015 file photo, Israeli Arab supporters of Mohammed Allan, a Palestinian prisoner on a hunger strike, hold signs during a rally outside Barzilai hospital, in the costal city of Ashkelon, Israel. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

SEATTLE — (ANALYSIS) Late last month, Israeli and Jewish media were filled with outrage at a letter signed by 71 British physicians, demanding the Israeli Medical Association’s expulsion from the World Medical Association.

There were hearings in the Knesset and indignant articles were penned, castigating the chutzpah of these physicians in insulting the Israeli medical establishment. If expelled from the WMA, the IMA would be banned from participating in international medical conferences and publishing in journals. The action was perceived as yet another insult to Israel, this time directed at its doctors and medical researchers, mounted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Curiously, none of these reports mention anything about the letter itself. They did not reveal the substance of the letter, any of the arguments in it, or anything about the signatories except that they are British. They did not seek comment from the doctors who wrote the letter. They did not explain their intent.

I obtained the letter drafted by Drs. Chris Burns-Cox and Derek Summerfield and signed by 71 British physicians, who demand that the WMA expel the IMA because of repeated ethics violations in its treatment of Palestinian prisoners under medical care.

The letter follows a 2009 letter which protested the selection of Dr. Yoram Blachar, a former president of the IMA, as president of the WMA. That letter was signed by more than 700 WMA doctors from 43 countries.

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