(JTA) — The World Medical Association will not expel Israeli physicians over pro-Palestinian activists’ allegations that they practice torture, the president of the world body said.
Michael Marmot, the London-born physician who heads the association, announced the group’s decision in a letter he sent Monday to Shimon Samuels, the international relations director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Samuels had urged Marmot to reject the call by 71 British physicians earlier this month to expel Israel from the world body over alleged medical torture of Palestinians.
“The main authors of the letter have launched several attacks against the Israeli Medical Association with similar arguments in the past,” Marmot wrote, but “investigations have revealed no wrongdoing.” He added: “We have trust that our Israeli colleagues will stand firm on our values and the protection of human rights.”
Marmot further noted that no official motion for expulsion had been filed. However, Marmot said his organization contacted the Israeli representatives to obtain their responses to the allegations. The Israeli Medical Association has denied involvement in human rights violations and opposes force feeding of prisoners, in keeping with the world body’s view of this practice.
In a statement, Samuels praised Marmot’s reply, adding: “We should feel gratified at the reassuring response to our protest letter.” Marmot’s response, he said, “exudes a fatigue” with the protagonists of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, or BDS.