Dear DARA supporters,

Unfortunately the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published last week a slanderous article in its medical journal accusing Israeli forces of human rights violations in Gaza in this past summer’s Israeli defensive conflict Operation Protective Edge with Hamas.

Israeli forces are accused of Wide Ranging Human Rights Violations in Gaza Last Summer
BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 02 February 2015)

The article was particularly troubling in its use of an anti-Israel NGO Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I) as its main source. A very cursory search on this NGO reveals its clear bias, and quickly brings into question its ability to give credible reports.
As well detailed by NGO monitor,
their ‘experts’ did not meet with Israeli government and military officials or injured civilians and soldiers. In addition, PHR-I ignored Hamas’ systematic exploitation of medical facilities to illegally shield combatants from Israeli counterattacks. The group used a Panel of “independent medical experts” to conduct this study with what are said to be international medical experts, unaffiliated with Israeli or Palestinian parties involved in the conflict” However, many of the fact-finding members are political activists with a history of biased remarks:

Alicia Vacas – Published a letter in support of Kairos Palestine, a document written by Palestinian-Christian activists that calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel. In an article she published following her visit to Gaza, she refused to call the conflict a war, but rather a “massacre” and referred to Israel’s “devilishly sophisticated and flourishing industry of death”.

Laurel Baldwin-Ragaven – In an article published in the Lancet Journal (August 30, 2014), Baldwin and others compared Israel to an apartheid state and called “on South Africa to expel the Israeli ambassador during this current conflict.” Jennifer Leaning – Steering Group member of the highly politicized Lancet Palestine Health Alliance (LPHA). In 2009, she co-authored a piece in The Lancet, showing a photo of a damaged building described as the Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza. In fact, the picture was of an adjacent building. (The article has been removed.)

Önder Özkalipci – Coordinator and co-editor of the UN Istanbul Protocol, which alleged that Israel’s actions concerning the Mavi Marmara (2010) constituted torture. Since 2013, he is a freelance consultant to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and PHR-I.

Is it truly possible, that the author, Canadian freelance writer Owen Dyer was not aware of this at the time? All of this information was available with a Google search. When contacted by a DARA member by email asking this, he did not respond. Does the BMJ really consider use of an anti-Israel NGO as a credible source to report on this conflict? We urge all our members to read the article as well as the NGO monitor report on this group of “medical experts” as well.

Attached is NGO monitor response to the article

We recommend all our members take action and respond to
1) Editor in chief – Fiona Godlee
2) Please respond directly thru their website
3) Owen Dyer, author

We also wanted to bring to our members’ attention, that this week the UK parliament reviewed the Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism, February 2015. Specifically last summer’s horrifying letter in the Lancet “Open Letter for the People of Gaza”, which was later discovered to have been co-written by authors with KKK sympathies, was specifically named. Lancet editor Richard Horton was specifically named in this report as well.

DARA Executive