Doctors were once thought of as highly educated and wise people whose opinions on a host of matters deserved deference. But the factually challenged and morally shallow reaction of leading figures in the medical profession to the mass slaughter, rape, and kidnapping of Israelis by Hamas, however, punctures this myth of sagacious doctors.
A soon-to-be-released open letter in a top medical journal lists several “immediate humanitarian priorities” in the war between Hamas and Israel. Notably and quite oddly absent are any expectations of the Hamas terrorists who kicked off the current conflict.
The omission isn’t an oversight: An amendment to the letter—“based on debate and feedback”—removed an appeal to Hamas for the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.” Even expecting Hamas to cease holding kidnapped women and children was thought to be too much to ask.
The open letter was first published online on Oct. 20 and has since garnered signatures from more than 2,000 health care providers across the globe. An update published on Oct. 22 claims that the letter was tentatively accepted to be published in The Lancet, one of the world’s preeminent medical journals and, apparently, a leading voice for Hamas apologism.
The letter begins with truthful and reasonable context, observing that “On October 7th, 1,400 Israelis were killed in the Hamas attacks, mostly civilians.”
From there, the letter takes an unreasonable turn. While the signatories decided against a plea for the release of hostages, their featured demands include:
- “An immediate ceasefire in Gaza.”
- “The immediate flow of essential supplies and other humanitarian support into Gaza.”
- “Protections against the destruction of all critical infrastructure and objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, including but not limited to hospitals and other centres delivering healthcare services.”
The current conflict started when Hamas terrorists massacred more than 1,400 Israelis in a display of barbarity nearly unparalleled in modern history. The call for a cessation of hostilities would be akin to demanding that the U.S. accept a cease-fire immediately after Pearl Harbor.
No sovereign country is expected to endure the slaughter of its citizens without the right to respond with force to eliminate that threat. Demanding that Israel behave differently from how all other countries would be expected to respond applies a double standard to the Jewish state.
Meanwhile, the appeal for supplies, humanitarian support, and impunity for hospitals fails to acknowledge that Hamas routinely repurposes humanitarian assistance as weaponry that is then stored in hospitals and other sensitive sites so that civilians can be used as human shields.
It’s telling that the list of demands doesn’t even include a cessation of such activities, but instead squarely assigns moral blame on Israel for instigating the massacre by Hamas and then expecting it to turn the other cheek in its aftermath.
The language deployed throughout the letter confirms extreme ideological sympathy and support for Palestinian armed struggle. For example: “As global health professionals, we strive for … the end of colonialism in all its manifestations. We also unequivocally condemn violence against Indigenous peoples globally.” Apparently, Indigenous people are considered savages who cannot be expected to refrain from violence.
The letter is no less factually erroneous than it is heinous. It claims that more than 3,500 Palestinians—“mostly civilians”—have been killed by Israeli forces. The source for the Palestinian casualty figure is the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The office doesn’t tabulate its own casualty estimates but instead relies on the Gaza Ministry of Health. The ministry operates as a mouthpiece for Hamas and recently instigated global riots with false claims that Israel bombed the al-Ahli Arab Hospital and killed 500 or more civilians in the process. In reality, the hospital’s parking lot—not the hospital itself—was struck by a portion of an errant rocket fired by Palestinian forces from within the Gaza Strip itself, killing perhaps 10% of the total asserted by the ministry.
It’s concerning that “useful idiots” uncritically parroted Hamas casualty figures in the dense fog of war that immediately followed the explosion at the hospital. But it’s downright diabolical to do so more than one week later, when the consensus analysis across governments and news organizations clarifies that the Ministry of Health was peddling egregious propaganda.
Such lies aren’t echoed out of ignorance but a calculation that their political utility exceeds their factual shortcomings.
The Lancet has repeatedly published commentary warning of the dangers of misinformation. This is echoed in the open letter, which cites the “fast rise in misinformation” as a hindrance to the “international community from bearing witness and providing unconditional aid to the people in need.”
As far as The Lancet is concerned, the distinction between information and misinformation is principally determined by the commitment to leftist political orthodoxy, not the veracity of statements themselves.
We humbly recommend that the journal should henceforth be cataloged as fiction and featured as recommended reading for those who also enjoyed “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
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