Last month’s horrific attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue galvanized not only the Jewish but also much of the non-Jewish world. Certainly in cities across North America, average citizens and culture’s gatekeepers alike reacted with shock. This month our focus narrows – on two medical stories that flew under the radar, and on an attack in Toronto.
The Lancet repents
The Lancet has long been considered one of the medical community’s top journals. And now it seems to be acting the part.
Continuing its moderation from Israel-bashing organ of the medical Left, the Lancet this month released an astounding editorial from editor-in-chief Richard Horton.
The Health of Palestinians is a Global Responsibility takes issue with a recent report from the World Health Organization. The report analyzes the health conditions of Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.
Horton has in the past wasted no opportunity to criticize Israel. Not this time. He sent the report to his Israeli colleagues for their comment – and then published their response, giving it equal space and respect.
“[My Israeli colleagues] prepared a reply that deserves serious consideration,” he writes. “They share WHO’s ‘desire for Palestinians to enjoy the very highest quality health care possible’. But the security, political, and economic barriers to progress are severe … They drew attention to the likely contribution of political divisions among Palestinians to adverse health in the West Bank and Gaza. They were especially sensitive to the fact that ‘Hamas has publicly sworn to the destruction of the State of Israel’.”
In calling for greater collaboration among all health practitioners in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, Horton says his Israeli colleagues “are inspiring individuals who have devoted their lives and careers to protecting and strengthening the health of their communities. They want peace. They want justice.”
No one will mistake Horton for a pro-Israel advocate. But he hardly needs to fill that role. All we request from Richard Horton is a fair shake. Since his trip to Israel in 2014, Horton has taken the first steps along that path.
A department head at a Swedish hospital resigned this month after reports that he regularly bullied Jewish staff.
The bullying, which allegedly began three years ago, caused the resignation of at least two Jewish employees at Karolinska University Hospital, near Stockholm.
Alleged harassment included referring to two doctors as a “Jewish ghetto,” denying access to research funds and preventing Jewish doctors from participating in medical conferences or courses. In one case, a Jewish doctor had been invited to deliver the keynote lecture at a conference. The department head refused to allow him to attend, and instead funded the costs for five non-Jewish doctors – even though they had not received formal invitations.
The doctor has reportedly also expressed anti-Semitic views on Facebook.
The hospital is investigating the allegations and has a “zero tolerance for all types of harassment and offensive treatment,” said its director, Annika Tibell.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center says the high-profile hospital is covering up the scandal.
“They first received complaints months ago and nothing happened,” said its dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, before the physician resigned. “They are not transparent about what measures they are taking now.”
The current investigation is being conducted by an external law firm, though some suggest it has economic ties to the hospital. The investigation is expected to end in December.
Read this in-depth article from Haaretz for more on Sweden’s tortured history with anti-Semitism, particularly in the medical profession.
Four Jewish teens assaulted
Four Jewish teens were attacked in the heart of Toronto’s Jewish community in an incident police are investigating as a hate crime.
“As they passed another group of youngsters, who were unknown to them, derogatory comments were made about their religion,” a police news release said.
The attackers then punched and kicked one of the boys and broke one boy’s glasses. One of the boys sustained minor injuries.
The boys, who were wearing attire common among yeshiva students, attended the nearby Yeshivas Lubavitch Toronto. The boys were shaken by the incident but remain defiant.
“Jews went through this all our entire history,” one of the boys told the CBC. “That’s what we’ve gone through. And we’re here still to talk about it,” he added. “I’m not afraid, so I think people should just know that.”