UK Physicians call for boycott of Israeli Medical Association

Israeli soldiers stop and search a Palestinian ambulance at a checkpoint at the entrance to the West Bank city of Qalqilia, 17 April 2006. (Khaleel Reash/MaanImages)

130 UK Physicians Call for a Boycott of the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) and its expulsion from the World Medical Association (WMA)

In a letter appearing in the Guardian on 21 April 2007, prominent UK physicians have called for a boycott of the IMA and its expulsion from the WMA. The letter follows:

“…Persistent violations of medical ethics have accompanied Israel’s occupation. The Israeli Defence Force has systematically flouted the fourth Geneva convention guaranteeing a civilian population unfettered access to medical services and immunity for medical staff. Ambulances are fired on (hundreds of cases) and their personnel killed. Desperately ill people, and newborn babies, die at checkpoints because soldiers bar the way to hospital. The public-health infrastructure, including water and electricity supplies, is wilfully bombed, and the passage of essential medicines like anti-cancerdrugs and kidney dialysis fluids blocked. In the West Bank, the apartheid wall has destroyed any coherence in the primary health system. UN rapporteurs have described Gaza as a humanitarian catastrophe, with 25 percent of children clinically malnourished.

The Israeli Medical Association has a duty to protest about war crimes of this kind, but has refused to do so. Appeals to the World Medical Association and the British Medical Association have also been rebuffed. Eighteen leading Palestinian health organisations have appealled to fellow professionals abroad to recognise how the IMA has forfeited its right to membership of the international medical community. We are calling for a boycott of the Israeli Medical Association and its expulsion from the WMA. There is a precedent for this: the expulsion of the Medical Association of South Africa during the apartheid era. A boycott is an ethical and moral imperative when conventional channels do not function, for otherwise we are merely turning away.”

Dr Derek Summerfield, Professor Colin Green, Dr Ghada Karmi, Dr David Halpin, Dr Pauline Cutting and 125 other doctors

Related Links

  • Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
  • Call for boycott against the Israel Medical Association, Statement (27 March 2007)
  • BY TOPIC: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions