Medical ethics, the Israeli Medical Association, and the state of the World Medical Association

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7414.561-a (Published 04 September 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:561

Reply from the BMA

  1. Vivienne Nathanson, director of professional activities (vivn@bma.org.uk)
  1. British Medical Association, London WC1H 9JP

    EDITOR—Summerfield's open letter is addressed to three organisations, and the BMA can speak only for itself. I agree with several points he raises. Firstly, I agree that the mere fact of membership of the World Medical Association is not necessarily any guarantee of exemplary ethical conduct. There are good arguments for maintaining an inclusive international organisation that seeks to influence medical associations positively by exposing them to best practice rather than excluding and isolating them.

    I agree that reports from organisations such as Amnesty International have indicated problems in Israel, but such reports also show that no country on earth has a blameless human rights record. (The BMA's own human rights report of 2001,1 discussed examples of abuse of human rights, involving doctors as victims, witnesses, or collaborators, in over 100 countries. Abuses range from medical participation …

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