AntiSemetism in the Medical World
by Dr. Benjamin Sachs Professor of
Biology at the Harvard Medical School.
recently led a medical mission to Israel, sponsored by the Combined Jewish
Philanthropies of Boston and the Hadassah Medical Organization and Hadassah.
Beleaguered Israeli doctors now have to fend off mindless attacks from
their scientific colleagues, particularly in Europe. It's bad enough
that Israeli doctors are spending their lives in emergency
rooms treating Jewish and Arab victims of suicide bombers. What really
makes them heartsick these days, however, is that they also have to fend
off mindless attacks from their scientific colleagues, particularly in
Europe.That was the most gut-wrenching impression I returned with after a recent
trip to Israel along with 70 other senior physicians from across America.
We had gone to bolster the spirits of our Israeli colleagues, exhausted
and bewildered from two years of the relentless experience of treating victims
of terror. We arrived at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, where some
2,000 victims have been treated, less than 24 hours after a particularly
horrific bus bombing in Jerusalem. Hours earlier, teams ofJewish-Arab doctors
had done what they've done for the past two years: jumped into action to save
the lives of the critically injured.
by Avigdor Bar-Hai,
On Israeli television the night before, the father of the homicidal bomber
bragged that he was proud of his son who had attacked a busload of
schoolchildren and senior citizens. On the day we arrived, that same
father suffered chest pains and was brought to Hadassah. He was seen
by the same
who were still treating the victims of his son's madness.
The humanitarian approach to medicine of our colleagues in Israel stands in
stark contrast to actions recently taken by our European colleagues. In
Britain and Norway, countries we Americans generally feel are kindred
to our way of life, university professors and scientific researchers have
recently refused to share research information with Israel's academics
and physicians because they oppose Israel's policy toward the Palestinians.
The head of Hadassah's gene therapy institute, Dr. Eitan Galun, an
Israeli Jew, has been engaged in research to cure a blood disease prevalent
in the Palestinian community. He recently requested assistance from a
Norwegian scientist and was refused. "Due to the present situation in
the Middle East, I will not deliver any material to an Israeli
university," she responded by e-mail.
By her actions, which confuse science with politics, the Palestinian
population will needlessly continue to suffer from a disease that could be
cured through scientific cooperation.
Also recently, two Israeli academics were dismissed from the boards of
scholarly linguistics journals. The first, Miriam Shlesinger, a senior
lecturer in translation studies at Bar-Ilan University, was removed from the
editorial board of the Translator Studies in Intercultural Communication.
The second, Gideon Toury, a professor at Tel Aviv
University's School of Cultural Studies, was dismissed from the
international advisory board of Translation Studies Abstracts.
Mona Baker, a University of Manchester academic who has circulated a
petition calling for a moratorium on grants and contracts with research
institutions in Israel, owns both publications.
These examples dramatically demonstrate an unacceptable breakdown in
the international norms of intellectual freedom and collaboration.
Our colleagues in Israel do not mix science and
our colleagues in Europe should know better than to do so. Using Israel's
a reason to withhold collaborative information is
smokescreen. Moreover, it is a symptom of that chronic European disease,
anti-Semitism, which now
behind anti-Israel rhetoric.
Israel is criticized for human rights violations as
tries to protect its citizens. Yet it is the only country in the Middle East
with a free press and an independent judiciary, and all its citizens -- men
and women, whether Jew, Muslim or Christian -- have the right to vote.
It's high time for the courageous and intellectually
among our European colleagues to make a stand against their region's
particular brand of bigotry. It is past time for doctors and scientists to
first heal themselves and then immunize Europe against this centuries-old
The medical community in Israel truly reflects the words of the
prophet Malachi 2:10: "Have we not one father hath not one God
created us, wherefore
we deal treacherously with each other. Profaning the covenant of our
It's time for our colleagues in Europe to recognize
and act accordingly.
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