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Bitter Medicine

May 9, 2009 | by

Israel-bashing in medical journals.

Two reputable medical journals recently allowed crude anti-Israel propaganda to masquerade on their pages as legitimate academic discourse:

1) The British Medical Journal – hailed by the Financial Times as 'one of the world's top four general medical journals' – included in its Oct. 16 issue an article entitled 'Palestine: The assault on health and other war crimes.' The author, Dr. Derrick Summerfield, compares the IDF's acts to those of the 9/11 terrorist hijackers:

The Israeli army, with utter impunity, has killed more unarmed Palestinian civilians since September 2000 than the number of people who died on September 11, 2001.

The only actual similarity between the two is the death count – approximately 3,000. Summerfield labels all Palestinian casualties 'unarmed civilians' – denying the fact that (1) the clear majority of Palestinians who have died since September 2000 were terrorists and armed combatants (according to the Institute for Counter-Terrorism), and (2) no Palestinian civilian has been deliberately killed 'with impunity' – in stark contrast to 9/11.

Summerfield goes on claim that since some Palestinian minors have died from wounds to the upper body and head:

Clearly, soldiers are routinely authorised to shoot to kill children in situations of minimal or no threat.

Beyond falsely branding Israel as guilty of 'war crimes,' deliberate child-killing, illegal colonization and apartheid, the article makes absolutely no mention of how Palestinian terror and political corruption have contributed to the unfortunate state of the Palestinian heath system.

If you agree this article is inappropriate for a respected medical journal, send comments to British Medical Journal editor Kamran Abbasi: click here

2) The June 2004 edition of Diabetes Voice, a quarterly publication of the International Diabetes Federation, included a report on that disease in the Gaza Strip. Here's the abstract, which appeared in bold print at the top of the article:

The year 2003 marked the 55th anniversary of the Nakba (cataclysm) of the Palestinian people. In 1948, according to the United Nations Conciliation Commission, 760,000 Palestinians were evicted from their cities and villages, hundreds of which were razed to the ground. What remains of the Palestinian people's land is now split between the West Bank of the river Jordan and Qita Ghazzah (Gaza Strip), and remains occupied by Israeli military forces and settlers. In 2003, the second uprising, or Al-Aqsa Intifada against this occupation entered its third year. Panagiotis Tsapogas, Medical Co-ordinator of the Greek section of Mdecins Sans Frontires (Doctors Without Borders) in Gaza, 2002-2003, reports on the difficulties faced by Palestinian people with diabetes in Gaza, and makes a call for the provision of improved diabetes care in the region.

NGO-Monitor, which promotes accountability of non-governmental organizations active in the Mideast conflict, responded:

This short abstract consists of a blatantly political attack that has little or nothing to do with diabetes. The one-sided and highly distorted version of history that is presented is based on the Palestinian version of events and vocabulary, and immorally ignores the brutality of Palestinian terrorism. It is also entirely inconsistent with the goals proclaimed by Diabetes Voice, the International Diabetes Federation, and Medecins Sans Frontires.

The International Diabetes Federation (known, ironically, as the IDF) published an official apology for the abstract quoted above, and the editor-in chief of the journal resigned over the matter. The abstract was re-written for the publication's archived, website version of the article.

Not only medical journals have contributed to this disturbing trend of inserting anti-Israel rhetoric into ostensibly neutral academic literature.

Academe, the journal of the American Association of University Professors, included an update on Palestinian universities in its Sept.-Oct. 2004 issue (see it here - scroll down to the grey box). While lamenting the 'infamous 'segregation wall'' and roadblocks that limit access to Palestinian schools, author Mary Gray cites Ramallah's BirZeit University as an example.

Gray gives no explanation whatsoever why Israel implemented these strictures – to deny terrorists free access to Israel. Moreover, Gray ignores the fact that BirZeit is one of the very centers of Palestinian incitement to terror -- Hamas won a recent student body election there by featuring exploding models of Israeli buses and claims of prowess based on its success in killing more Israelis than the other parties.

If you agree that this review of the state of Palestinian higher education lacked appropriate balance, send comments to Academe:

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