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Britain’s Boycott Folly By: Richard L. Cravatts
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, June 20, 2007


The British academics, doctors, and journalists who recently called for morally-imbecilic boycotts against Israel must have been disappointed with the recent events that wracked Gaza with internecine strife and plunged it into the grisly chaos that might have been one of Dante’s levels of hell.

In their fervent obsession with what author Bat Ye'or has termed "Palestinianism," obsessive reverence for any struggle of the Palestinians and a total disregard for the self-affirmation, statehood, or security of Israel, the boycotters sought to single Israel out from all nations on the planet for its misdeeds—among them, “an illegal, brutal occupation,” the construction of an “apartheid wall,” and the “humiliation and disregard for the human rights of the Palestinians” and all of the many shortcomings the left if fond of pinpointing so often when it comes to Israel.

How inconvenient, for instance, for the group of 130 British physicians, led by Palestinian apologists and Israel-haters Dr. Derek Summerfield and Professor Colin Green, who in May pronounced that "Persistent violations of medical ethics have accompanied Israel’s occupation," and that on the basis of this disgraceful behavior they were demanding a boycott of the Israel Medical Association and seeking its expulsion from the World Medical Association. According to the British doctors, Israel "systematically flouted the fourth Geneva convention guaranteeing a civilian population unfettered access to medical services and immunity for medical staff" by engaging in such outrageous activities as trying to discover terrorists dressed as patients or pregnant women at check points or regularly stopping ambulances, a vehicle which terrorists, with their disregard for ethics or any form of human life—especially Jewish—have repeatedly used to transport both arms and homicide bombers.

Even putting aside the perverse notion that it is Israeli doctors who are responsible for a disintegrating Palestinian health care system, and not the kleptocratic Palestinian Authority which has overseen the Palestinian’s health care for twelve and half years, and that it owes medical care to a segment of society whose sole existential purpose is the elimination of the Jewish state, the smarmy rectitude of the British physicians must have been diminished slightly by last week’s onslaught of violence in Gaza between the forces of Hamas and Fatah.

Israeli medical slights aside, the British doctors were uncharacteristically silent with their moral condemnation of health care provision last week, for instance, when the Hamas-controlled Shifa Hospital was made the epicenter of a military onslaught from the Fatah-allied Bakr clan as it attempted to revenge the deaths of its members killed in clashes with Hamas. Fatah forces fired mortars and rocket-propelled grenades into the hospital while Hamas responded in kind from within.

The British doctors also somehow failed to make public protestations when one of their medical peers, Palestinian physician Fayez Al-Barrawi, 29, a Hamas sympathizer, was kidnapped, blindfolded, handcuffed, and shot six times in his legs, including his kneecaps, by Palestinian militants in northern Gaza who disposed of the good doctor in the street. Nor did the British raise their collective voices of disapproval when Hamas and Fatah elements entered a hospital in the town of Beit Hanoun with guns blazing, killing a Hamas supporter. Inside the hospital the carnage continued, where ten people were wounded and a father and two sons from a Fatah-allied clan were murdered, including one while he lay anesthetized on an operating table.

Beit Hanoun, it will be remembered, has seen its share of calamity this year, including the tragic deaths of Palestinian civilians in November when Israeli IDF forces, firing on what they thought were Qassam rocket staging areas, as a result of human and equipment error, caused the deaths of some 30 men, women, and children. While the incident was a horrific accident (for which Israel soon apologized), it was certainly not totally unexpected, since Hamas terrorists had been relentlessly showering Israeli border towns with rockets from within civilian neighborhoods with the precise intent of drawing Israeli fire on innocent civilians—a neat trick they undoubtedly learned from Hezbollah in Lebanon, who similarly sacrifices civilian lives in the propaganda war against Israel.  Nevertheless, the condemnation from the entire world was rapid, thunderous, and unrelenting; the Arab states nearly tripped themselves rushing to the United Nations to demand Security Council sanctions, and public funerals were held with thousands of participants carrying the lifeless bodies of children as cries of “massacre” and barbarism filled the newspapers of the world and streets of the Middle East. Forgotten in all the outrage toward Israel, of course, was the reason that IDF forces were even targeting staging areas in Gaza at all, namely, the unrelenting barrage of deadly rocket fire that terrorists have rained down unabated on Israeli border towns—more than 2000 times this year alone.

Last week, though, when Palestinians were being killed execution-style in the street, handcuffed and thrown off of skyscrapers to their deaths, or being essentially decapitated by 40 automatic rifle shots to the head, as happened to Jamal Abu Jadian, a top Fatah commander seeking aid at Kamal Udwan Hospital when he was discovered by Hamas thugs—not as the result of an accident in a defensive military action but as deliberate, inhuman slaughter—all those who chimed in so quickly about Israeli transgressions were unusually silent as their heroes in the struggle for self-determination in “occupied Palestine” seemed to self-destruct in wanton, seething anarchy.

The other side of the issue which makes the British doctor’s call for boycott equally perverse, besides its selectivity in singling out Israel for condemnation, is that its premise is flawed as well. In fact, Israel, regularly and consistently, despite its very obvious justifications to do exactly the opposite—contributes to and enhances the care given to Palestinians, both inside Israel and within the territories. Yair Amikam, Deputy Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Health, for example, notes that “Israel continues to provide medical care to Palestinians and during the last year about 20,000 patients have been hospitalized in Israeli hospitals and about 40,000 patients have used ambulatory services in Israel, for clinical consultation and treatment as well as for laboratory tests. During the last year, around fifty Palestinian physicians and some nurses and laboratory technicians underwent training programs in Israel.” According to Ministry reports, Gaza alone sent some 5,000 patients to Israeli hospitals last years, 2000 of whom were admitted and the balance receiving outpatient care; some 2500 of Palestinians who received this care in Israeli hospitals were children.

In fact, the ease with which Palestinians can receive medical care at Israeli hospitals has meant that terrorists have not hesitated to feign illness, pregnancy, or other ailments to become human bombs and gain deadly access to Jewish medical institutions.  That reality means that in providing health care to its antagonistic neighbors, Israel has some particularly challenging groups of patients, who will not, as it is obvious, hesitate to kill even those trying to save lives. The British physicians, comfortable in their sanctimonious cocoons, and who castigate Israel for their lack of response while they have never had to defend themselves from anything more serious than a virus, might do well to remember that oft-cited proverb before they attack Israel any further: “Physician, heal thyself.”


Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., director of Boston University’s Program in Publishing at the Center for Professional Education, is currently writing a book about higher education, Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel.


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