Intended for healthcare professionals


Group of British doctors call for a boycott of the Israel Medical Association

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 26 April 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:871
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. London

    A group of British doctors has called for a boycott of the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) and its expulsion from the World Medical Association (WMA) in a letter published in the Guardian newspaper. The petition, signed by 130 doctors, argues that by refusing to criticise Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel, the IMA is failing to uphold international medical ethical standards.

    The Israel Defense Forces “have systematically flouted the fourth Geneva convention guaranteeing a civilian population unfettered access to medical services and immunity for medical staff,” the letter says, citing reports of soldiers attacking ambulances; patients and essential drugs obstructed at checkpoints, and bombing of the public health infrastructure.

    “The Israeli Medical Association has a duty to protest about war crimes of this kind but has refused to do so,” it continues. “Eighteen leading Palestinian health organisations have appealed to fellow professionals abroad to recognise how the IMA has forfeited its right to membership of the international medical community.”

    Derek Summerfield of the Institute of Psychiatry, one of the letter's organisers, said a boycott was the only remaining option when all normal channels have been exhausted. “We've sent exhaustive reports, with evidence carefully documented by leading human rights organisations, to the IMA, the World Medical Association, and the BMA, but they've been ignored.”

    Dr Summerfield said that the BMA …

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