NHS staff should not be wearing Palestine badges

The JC leader, 29 March 2024


Badges picturing the Palestinian flag and reading a message in support of Palestinians, are pinned on the jacket of a protester taking part in a vigil outside Downing Street, in London, on October 18, 2023 in tribute of the victims of Gaza hospital strike. A strike on the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in central Gaza has killed at least 471 people according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory. Israel and Palestinian militants have traded blame for the strike. Since the Hamas militant group's attack on Israel on October 7, 2023 some 3,000 people have been killed in Gaza and more than 1,400 in Israel. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

March 27, 2024 14:02

There has been widespread condemnation of the mistreatment at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital of a nine-year-old Jewish boy, forced out of his bed (according to his family) to receive treatment on the floor by nurses wearing pro-Palestine badges.

A hospital is surely the very last place where one should have to worry about being seen to be Jewish. But the evidence suggests that this is far from a one-off — and that the October 7 massacre has led to an explosion of Jew hate by some NHS staff. In 2022, not a single doctor was reported to the General Medical Council (GMC) over alleged breaches of the IHRA definition of antisemitism and GMC standards. Since October 7, however, 66 have been reported. Some of the examples are jaw-dropping, such as Dr Najmiah Khaiessa Ahmad, who shared a video asserting that the Rothschild family made up the “so-called ‘Holocaust’ to serve as a mind kontrol (sic) trigger to thwart and resist any criticism of their Zionist ways”.

But the problem extends far deeper than these most severe cases, with a surge in NHS employees now wearing pro-Palestinian insignia. The flag is not illegitimate in itself, but given the antisemites who have taken it as a symbol since October 7, it can be very intimidating to vulnerable Jewish patients. While staff are, of course, free to wear such divisive badges in their own time, there should be a blanket ban across the NHS.

As the video that emerged this week of two Israeli survivors of October 7 being verbally abused by Border Force staff showed, it is not just the NHS that has a problem. Across the public sector, Jews are being made to feel defensive and threatened. There are too many examples for these to be dismissed as isolated incidents. A trend is emerging, and it must be tackled, immediately.

March 27, 2024 14:02

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