Canadian Medical Association Journal’s Bad Medicine
March 19, 2009
By: Mike FegelmanDear HonestReporting Canada subscriber: Inserting anti-Israel rhetoric into ostensibly neutral medical journals is a tough pill to swallow. When the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) allowed crude anti-Israel propaganda to masquerade on its pages as legitimate academic discourse, the CMAJ went well beyond its mission statement to: “showcase innovative research and ideas aimed at improving health for people in Canada and globally” and instead promoted a grossly distorted picture of the Gaza health care system and the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas. In its March 17 edition, the CMAJ featured two “dispatches from the medical front” describing the state of Gaza health care before and after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead — an Israeli military operation prompted by years of Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilians. Featured in the “news” section, reports by unknown writer Christopher Mason (read here in pdf) and Francois Dumont of Doctors Without Borders (read here in pdf) both presented over-simplified, misleading, and incomplete views of the health care situation in the Gaza Strip, blaming Israel alone for all of the territory’s ills.
Here is just a short list detailing the many deficiencies with these reports:
Israel did not face a ghost adversary: Remarkably, these reports failed to even mention Israel’s adversary, Hamas. The very word “Hamas” is not even referred to in both reports. Only references of “Israel’s offensive” and “military campaign in the Gaza Strip” are made, leaving readers with the overall impression that Israel’s campaign was against Gaza and its citizens, and not Hamas and its rockets.
Conflict did not happen in a vacuum: Reports fail to mention the raison d’etre for Israel’s incursion into Gaza, which was designed to thwart Hamas rocket attacks. As readers were deprived of the history and chronology of Hamas’ rocket fire, Israel’s defensive operations can only be perceived as being bellicose. The fact that Hamas unilaterally broke a truce firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli towns doesn’t even merit a single mention.
Passing the buck: Authors fail to mention the Palestinian Authority’s and Hamas’ responsibility for ensuring the health and welfare of its citizenry.
Baseless implications derived from unattributed accusations: Writer Christopher Mason cites unattributed “accusations” implying that Israel intentionally targeted Palestinian medical health facilities.
Unsubstantiated and spurious claims allowed: Mason quotes Malene Sonderskov, Middle East Coordinator of DanChurchAid, making the following baseless allegation: “Gaza has the highest prevalence of traumatized children in the world.” We wonder, what scientific methodology did Sonderskov employ that could confirm the veracity of this egregious allegation?
Other significant omissions:
- Hamas stole humanitarian aid destined for ordinary Palestinians.
- Hamas prevented wounded Palestinians from seeking medical treatment.
- Hamas gunmen hid in hospitals.
- Hamas made grenades from medicine bottles arriving in humanitarian aid.
- Hamas used to entice Palestinians to join its ranks.
- Hamas terrorists cynically used ambulances for transportation.
- Hamas used hospitals as jails for interrogation and imprisonment.
- Israel’s efforts to treat numerous Palestinians hurt in fighting in Israeli hospitals.
- Israel’s efforts to facilitate aid to Gaza.