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Posted Sunday, October 31, 2004

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I don't think it is an appropriate thing to be written, but we will sort it out. -- Anglo-Jewish Lord Robert Winston
Jerusalem Post

Jerusalem, Sunday, October 31, 2004


Israel slams UK medical journal

By Jeremy Last

THE official publication of the British medical profession has come under fire over an article which claims IDF soldiers regularly shoot children "in situations of minimal or no threat." The opinion piece, "Palestine: The Assault on Health and Other War Crimes," by psychiatry professor Derek Summerfield, was published in the weekly British Medical Journal on October 16.

tanks shooting children

The journal is sent to more than 100,000 doctors and trainee medical professionals throughout the UK, all of whom are members of the British Medical Association.

In the article, described as "inflammatory" by the Israeli Embassy, Summerfield vehemently attacked Israel's conduct in the territories and claimed the "pro- Israel lobby" uses accusations of anti-Semitism against critics of Israel in a "morally corrupt way." Summerfield, an honorary senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, wrote:

"Clearly, soldiers are routinely authorized to shoot to kill children in situations of minimal or no threat. These statistics attract far less publicity than suicide bombings, atrocious though these are too."

Attacking the construction of Israel's "grotesque" West Bank separation barrier, he added: "The real purpose of the wall is permanently to lock more than 50 illegal Israeli settlements into Israel proper. This is expansive, aggressive colonization."

"We found Derek Summerfield's article appalling, highly biased, inaccurate, and inflammatory," embassy spokesman Shuli Davidovitch said.

"We were concerned that he only briefly mentioned Palestinian suicide bombings, with no mention that the victims are Israelis and failed to elucidate the reason behind the construction of the security barrier.

"We overwhelmingly reject the false accusation that Israel ever authorizes the shooting of children. We would expect such a well-respected and professional journal not to be politicized and to concentrate on its medical agenda."

The article attracted numerous responses on the BMJ Web site, where it was also published, the majority of which attacked Summerfield. Dr. Daniel Ellis, representative of the London Jewish Medical Society to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, called on the editor to resign. He said: "How can the BMJ print an article containing such a load of tripe that is clearly not evidence based."

A group of prominent doctors, including fertility expert and television personality Lord Robert Winston, have vowed to complain to the journal's editorial board. "We are making formal complaints to the BMJ about it," Winston, who has become well known in the UK for his BBC documentaries on the human body, said. "I don't think it is an appropriate thing to be written, but we will sort it out."

handcuffing children

Suffer the little children: And not just the Israelis . . .

However, BMJ deputy editor Jane Smith defended the publication, saying the article was clearly marked as opinion and said the journal does not want to stop debate. "It appeared in our personal view slot, and it is therefore not a scientific article," she said.

"The medical consequences of conflict are a legitimate subject for a medical journal to cover. The BMJ has not got a line, but we are not trying to suppress debate."

Smith said she hopes to publish many of the responses to the article and a further response by an Israeli doctor in a forthcoming issue.


The original article, "Palestine: The Assault on Health and Other War Crimes," by British professor Derek Summerfield in British Medical Journal | and criticisms
Ha'aretz (Israel): Killing children is no longer a big deal
Some British doctors doubt the suicide of Dr. David Kelly (Guardian)  
Abu Ghraib American doctors collaborated with interrogators in the torture of Iraq prisoners
Israel "harvests" the vital organs of Palestinian children killed by their Army
 Israeli medical association: OK to break fingers of Palestinian prisoners during interrogation

The above item is reproduced without editing other than typographical
© Focal Point 2004 F Irving write to David Irving