Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Head to head

Should we consider a boycott of Israeli academic institutions? No

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 19 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:125

Professor Baum, as a Doctor: please treat the cause not the symptom

It seems that Professor Baum did not pay any attention to treating the
cause & decided to limit his article to looking for a symptomatic

1.Israel is a democracy!
2.Israel is multicultural!
3.If you want to boycott, do not use USB!
4.Some Jews established a charity in Gaza to treat Palestinian children.
5.Israeli Doctors treat Palestinian & Israeli patients equally!
6.Boycott will harm peace initiative!

1.Israel is a democracy: Does any democracy have the right to occupy
the land of another nation? Of course no. Thus being democratic does not
give Israel the right to occupy Palestine. However the elected Israeli
Prime Minister has a different view.
The Israeli plan:- "I believed, and to this day still believe, in our
people’s eternal and historic right to this entire land." Ehud Olmert,
Israeli Prime Minister, to the US House of Representatives, June 2006 [1}
Does Professor Michael Baum support this view?

2.Israel is multicultural! [2]
- Israel is the only country that considers religion as the nationality of
its citizens i.e. any Jew is entitled to be an Israeli citizen anytime
s/he wants. It is important to know that the numbers of Palestinians in
Israel (Muslim & Christians) is in progressive decline due to the
aggressive Israeli policies supported by the Israeli military machine.

-Israel was established in 1948 based on the claim that the Jews
lived in this land 5000 years ago & have the right to return to it.
On the other hand the Palestinians who were driven out of their lands by
the Zionist armed groups since 1948 are denied the right to return back to
their homes. The Israeli government denies the Palestinians the right to
return after 50 years, while the Zionists claim the right to occupy
Palestine 5000 years later.

-Yuri Avneri, an Israeli peace activist stated in one of his
articles: “When tanks overrun cars, destroy houses, topple electricity
poles, open water pipes, leave behind them thousands of homeless people
and cause children to drink from puddles in the street, it causes terrible
hatred. A Palestinian child, who sees all this with his eyes, becomes the
suicide-bomber of tomorrow”[3]. Is this what could be considered by
Professor Baum multicultural!

3.Professor Baum stated in his article: “If you want to boycott, do
not use USB, .. because it is made in Israel!!” [2]. The right question
should be: Is their a reason to boycott? If the boycott is for supporting
human rights, should we sacrifice supporting human rights to use the
Israeli made USB!!
4.Some Jews established a charity in Gaza to treat Palestinian children!
Does this justify the Israeli occupation of Palestine & the violation
of basic human rights of the Palestinians? Establishing this charity
neither justifies the occupation nor reduces the size of the crimes that
have been committed & still continued against the Palestinians since
the establishment of the Zionist state.

5. Israeli doctors treat Palestinian & Jewish patients equally

- Is equity in care a basic human right or a privilege offered to
Palestinian patients by the kind hearted occupying power? Under the IV
Geneva Convention, the occupying power is responsible for the people under
its occupation. So the healthcare of all Palestinians living under the
Israeli occupation is the responsibility of Israel. Lastly, it should be
said: Do not treat the Palestinians when ill if treating them justifies to
you occupying their land.

Doctors are taught in the medical school to treat the cause & not
to limit their care to treating the symptom. However Professor M Baum in
his article did not condemn the Israeli occupation of Palestine & its
disastrous impact on the life of all Palestinians. Instead Professor Baum
was only minded with highlighting the help offered by Israeli doctors to
relief some of the Palestinian misery. Michael Baum should have bravely
stated that the route cause of the problem is Occupation & should have
called for the end of this occupation. However he has chosen not to treat
the cause, Why?!.

I wonder: Would Professor Baum pass a medical student in the exam if
this medical student focused only on the symptomatic treatment.

6.Boycott will harm peace initiative! Where is peace?
Can we have Peace without Justice?!!!!!
Dani Filc, chairperson PHR Israel PHR Israel stated:
When extreme poverty results from the deliberate destruction of the
economic infrastructure, we would expect them to make their stand clear as
to the dire results on Palestinians’ health and demand the end of this
policy. When faced with a humanitarian crisis, we would expect them to
lead a struggle for changing the policy that causes it, at least regarding
the health issues [4].

Dr M EL-Adl
Consultant Psychiatrist


1. Halpin D, Educate How? www.bmj/rapidresponse, accessed on 10.08.07
2. Baum M, Should we consider a boycott of Israeli academic institutions?
No. BMJ 2007;335(7611):125 (21 July),
3. Avneri Y, - 5k,
accessed on 10.08.07
4. Dani Filc, Do we take ethics seriously? www.bmj/rapid response,
11.05.07/accessed on 10.08.07

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

12 October 2007
Mamdouh EL-Adl
Consultant Psychiatrist
Princess Marina Hospital, Upton, Northampton NN5 6UH