Islamist antisemitism invades doctors’ offices

We now must question the motives of doctors who hate Israel, Jews and the West.

An empty operating room. Credit: guys_who_shoot/Shutterstock
An empty operating room. Credit: guys_who_shoot/Shutterstock
Dexter Van Zile
Dexter Van Zile is Managing Editor at the Middle East Forum.

The doctor gave my father the bad news in late 1988. Dad had a fatal case of pancreatic cancer. Chemotherapy would extend his life for six to eight months but remission was out of the question. Over the next six months, this physician presided over my father’s death with great skill and humanity. By some miracle, my father was able to live an active life until two weeks before he died in March 1989.

He was admitted to the hospital for the last time a day after he played a few sets of tennis with his longtime friends. My mother called the ambulance after Dad collapsed and hit his head on the floor in the upstairs bathroom. Blood flowed through his thinning hair into my right hand as I cradled Dad’s head to keep it off the cold, hard tiles of the bathroom floor. We looked wordlessly into each other’s eyes as we both concluded his time was coming to an end.

“I knew it was bad from the look on your face,” my dad joked later while lying in the hospital bed. He had a feeding tube that put protein into his belly. A week or so before Dad’s death, his physician looked briefly at Dad’s medical charts. “I think we should probably dispense with that,” the doctor said, pointing to the plastic tube. It clearly wasn’t doing him much good and was likely causing him some discomfort.

“Whatever you think is best,” Dad said bravely in response.

After the doctor shook his hand and left the room, Dad and I looked gravely at each other. Without saying so, we both acknowledged that the doctor had concluded the end was near and surmised that the best course of action was to make Dad as comfortable as possible. No heroics.

“He’s a good guy,” Dad said to reassure me that the doctor had his best interests at heart. No reassurance was necessary. From the interactions I witnessed, I had concluded the doctor, an Iranian-trained physician named Muhammad, was a good man, a skilled doctor and wanted nothing but the best for my father.

Neither my dad nor I had any great love for the Iranian regime, which held dozens of Americans hostage for over a year a decade before my father’s death, but we never thought the doctor sided with the ayatollah. In fact, we didn’t even bother to ask about his background. I didn’t find out he was trained in Iran until I did a Google search a few weeks ago. Back then, it would have been an un-American act of bigoted lunacy to inquire about his political beliefs and background.

If I were faced with a cancer diagnosis today, I might track down the physician who treated Dad 35 years ago and insist that he preside over my treatment. Younger doctors may have more up-to-date knowledge of medicine, but if Muhammad were my doctor I would not have to worry about falling under the care of the Israel-hating physician who called on people to join Hamas and expressed hope that Israelis would get Ebola in 2014. And heaven help me if I were treated by the osteopath in training in Ohio who, in 2019, expressed her desire to effectively poison her Jewish patients by giving them the wrong medicine. Fortunately, the woman in question lost her residency and eventually her license to practice medicine.

We have all seen videos of medical professionals and trainees taking down posters calling for the release of children kidnapped by Hamas and its allies during the Oct. 7 massacre. Medical students across the country have expressed support for Hamas’s violence online. Some harass Jews they suspect of supporting Israel.

A professor at Georgetown’s medical school asked, “What will they do if they have to treat an Israeli patient or a Jewish patient?” A medical student at George Washington University said, “One of the most eye-opening things for me was that so many of my classmates, many of whom want to become OB-GYNs, stayed silent on the mass rape that was committed on innocent women in Israel by Hamas and its allies. Students were brought into medical school due to their desire to help and care for those in need. However, that does not appear to be the case with the content that they post on social media.”

The diagnosis is clear: Genocidal hostility towards Israel and contempt for the rules of Western civilization (such as the Hippocratic Oath) have made their way into a noticeable segment of the medical profession. Campus groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) serve as the transmission belt for this hostility. Not only do these groups demonize Israel, they promote a central tenet put forth by Islamist ideologues such as Hassan Al-Banna, Sayd Qutb and Sayyid Maududi: That the West is the sole source of evil in the modern world. MSA and SJP appear regularly in profiles of healthcare professionals maintained by Canary Mission, an organization that documents hostility towards the United States, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses.

In his book, The Civilizing Process: Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations, Norbert Elias documents how European states created complex and productive societies in which people could interact safely and exchange goods using cash despite being anonymous to one another. By transcending the nepotistic barter system, people made their lives freer, safer and vastly more productive.

The rules were pretty clear: Don’t point knives at people, even inadvertently, at the dinner table. Treat women with respect and courtesy. Do what you can to inspire confidence and trust. People who behaved otherwise, either individually or collectively, were rightfully portrayed as villains because they introduced chaos into people’s daily lives.

Islamists and their allies who have been enlisted in the twin causes of anti-Zionism and anti-Westernism are working overtime to undermine these norms. Consequently, we have good reason to wonder if our physicians have our best interests at heart. Such are the wages of the de-civilizing process incited by Islamists and their allies on the American left who have engaged in a long march through the institutions we use to educate our children and train the elites who govern our communities, including our doctors.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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