AJC advertisement in the Boston Globe demonizes Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions movement

AJC advertisement in the Boston Globe demonizes Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions movement

The New England chapter of the American Jewish Committee recently ran a full page ad in the Boston Globe demonizing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights.

The ad turned reality on its head by suggesting that BDS could be endangering children–when in fact BDS is opposing an occupation and apartheid structure under which indigenous children are being shot, imprisoned, tortured, traumatized, deprived of basic necessities of life and denied desperately needed medical care.

The ad’s headline reads “Could an academic boycott put a child’s life at risk?” and appears under an image of a young child hooked up to a breathing tube. Part of the text of the ad says:

Academic boycotts inspired by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement undermine the free exchange of ideas—the beating heart of medical progress and research. They are dangerous, anti-democratic, and deceptive… [BDS is an] ill-conceived and cynical maneuver.

The ad highlights an anti-BDS statement signed by over 100 professors in the medical field (see the names here or at the bottom of this post)–even though hundreds of other academics, institutions and others support BDS.

Boycotts, divestment, and sanctions are nonviolent economic actions that can pressure states to end human rights abuses. The same tactics played a part in ending South Africa’s racist apartheid system in the 90’s.

The BDS movement aims to pressure Israel to end its confiscation and occupation of Palestinian territory, stop its invasions of Gaza and the West Bank, and uphold the rights of Palestinian refugees expelled from their homes during Israel’s creation in 1948.

Four-year-old Palestinian girl Shayma Al-Masri, who hospital officials said was wounded in an Israeli air strike that killed her mother and two of her siblings, lies on a bed next to her doll at a hospital in Gaza City (July 2014)

Scare ads like this are part of a concerted effort among powerful pro-Israel organizations and individuals desperate to maintain the status quo, or worse, in Israel-Palestine.

Due to lobbying from these organizations, 22 states in the U.S. have passed laws that discriminate against people participating in the movement by prohibiting them them from doing business with state institutions.

Even more disturbing is federal legislation that would make participation in BDS a felony. The bill has already amassed 49 cosponsors in the Senate and 254 cosponsors in the House in a display of bipartisanship that doesn’t exist on any other issue.

While the AJC ad portrays a nonviolent movement for equal rights as “dangerous” and harmful to children, it ignores the fact that the Israeli government kills, injures, or abducts more Palestinian children every day. (Watch IMEMC for a week or so.)

There is no indication that the AJC or the professors who endorsed this ad have spoken out against Israeli violence against Palestinian children, supported by their tax money.

Alison Weir, executive director of If Americans Knew, sent this letter to the editor of the Boston Globe:

The AJC Should Care about ALL Children

To the Editor:

Regarding the recent full page ad placed by the American Jewish Committee: “Could an academic boycott put a child’s life at risk?”

If this group truly cared about children, they would be concerned that in the past 17 years alone, Israeli forces have killed 2,150 Palestinian children, injured tens of thousands of children, imprisoned over 8,000 children, made hundreds of thousands homeless, and made tens of thousands orphans.

They would be troubled that Israel has at times prevented children in Gaza suffering from excruciating and sometimes fatal health problems from traveling to outside hospitals for treatment, according to Physicians for Human Rights – Israel.

They would be disturbed that according to UNICEF, children in Gaza are suffering malnutrition, stunting, and depression due to Israel’s blockade, in addition to severe psychological trauma.

It is time for the AJC and the other Israel partisans who signed their advertisement to leave their chauvinism behind and care equally for all children, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity, and to demand that Israel stop its violence against children of the “wrong” religion/ethnicity.

– Alison Weir

The Globe didn’t publish the letter.

Weir and If Americans Knew then sent each of the professors who had signed the AJC statement a letter documenting the ongoing harm being done to Palestinian children as a result of Israel’s policies and asked them to also sign a statement urging Israel “to engage in active measures to support the safety of Palestinian children.”

Since none of them agreed to sign it, If Americans Knew placed a full page ad in the Harvard Crimson giving information about BDS and Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children, since the majority of the professors that signed the anti-BDS letter teach there.

In the 80s and 90s, many Harvard faculty members supported boycott and divestment initiatives on campus that played a role in dismantling the South African apartheid regime, so it’s especially disappointing that some are unable to see the urgency of the BDS movement today.

Injured Palestinian children receive medical treatment at al-Najar hospital in Rafah in the Gaza strip, following an Israeli military strike on August 1, 2014.

Signers of the Life Science/Healthcare Statement On Academic Boycotts

AJC New England April 4, 2017

1. Michael Agus, MD
Associate Professor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Chief, Division of Medicine Critical Care, Boston Children’s Hospital
2. Stuart Altman, PhD
Sol C. Chaikin Professor of National Health Policy and Former Interim President, Brandeis University; Founding Dean, Heller School, Brandeis University
3. Angelika B. Amon, PhD
Kathleen and Curtis Marble Professor of Cancer Research, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator; Member of National Academy of Sciences
4. Katrina Armstrong, MD, MSCE
Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Chair of the Department of Medicine and Physicianin-Chief, Massachusetts General Hospital
5. Scott Allen Armstrong, MD, PhD
David G. Nathan Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Chair, Department of Pediatric Oncology; DanaFarber Cancer Institute
6. W. Gerald Austen, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
7. Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD
Richard and Susan Smith Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School; President Emeritus Dana Farber Cancer Institute
8. David Brown, MD
Professor of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
9. Myles Brown, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Member of National Academy of Sciences
10. David Charytan, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital
11. Michael Collins, MD
Professor, Quantitative Health Sciences and Medicine, University of Massachusetts; Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Senior Vice President for the Health Sciences
12. Mark Creager, MD
Professor of Medicine, Geisel Medical School, Dartmouth College; Director, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Heart and Vascular Center; Former President of the American Heart Association
13. Merit Cudkowicz, MD. MSc
Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School; Chief, Neurology Service, Massachusetts General Hospital
14. Bruce Donoff, DMD, MD
Walter C. Guralnick Distinguished Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; Dean of Harvard School of Dental Medicine 2
15. Jeffrey Ecker, MD
Joe Vincent Meigs Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School; Head, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital
16. Stephen J. Elledge, PhD
Gregor Mendel Professor of Genetics and Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Winner, Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research; Winner, Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Member, National Academy of Sciences
17. Allessio Fasano, MD
Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; W. Allan Walker Chair in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition; Division Chief, Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Massachusetts General Hospital
18. David Fisher, MD, PhD
Edward Wigglesworth Professor of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School; Chief, Dermatology Service, Massachusetts General Hospital
19. Jeffrey Scott Flier, MD
Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard Medical School; 21st Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard University
20. David Frank, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
21. Arnold Freedman, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
22. Jonas Galper, MD, PhD
Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine; Cardiologist, Tufts Medical Center, Molecular Cardiology Research Initiative
23. Judy E. Garber, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Director, Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Former President, American Association for Cancer Research
24. Laurie H. Glimcher, MD
Richard and Susan Smith Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; President and CEO of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Member of National Academy of Sciences
25. Samuel Goldhaber, MD
Professor, Harvard Medical School; Director, Thrombosis Research Group, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
26. Allan Goldstein, MD
Marshall K. Bartlett Associate Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School; Surgeon-in-Chief and Chief of Pediatric Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children
27. James D. Griffin, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Chair, Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
28. Steven Grinspoon, MD
Professor, Harvard Medical School; Director, Program in Nutritional Metabolism at Massachusetts General Hospital
29. Daniel A. Haber, MD, PhD
Kurt J. Isselbacher/Peter D. Schwartz Professor of Oncology, Harvard Medical School; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Director, Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital
30. Joel Hirschhorn, MD, PhD
Concordia Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School; Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
31. Susan Hockfield, PhD
Professor of Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 16th President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology
32. Melanie Hoenig, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
33. Anthony Hollenberg, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Chief of the Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Division at Beth Israel – Deaconess Medical Center 3
34. Steven E. Hyman, MD
Distinguished Service Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University; Director Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research and Core Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; former Provost of Harvard University; former Director of U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH); Member, the National Academy of Medicine
35. Ralph Isberg, Ph.D
Professor of Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Tufts University School of Medicine; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Member of National Academy of Sciences
36. Elliot Israel, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital
37. Michael Johnstone, MD
Associate Professor, Medicine, Tufts Medical Center; Cardiologist, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
38. Leonard Kaban, DMD, MD, FACS
Former Walter C. Guralnick Professor and Chairman of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Harvard School of Dental Medicine; Former Chief of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital
39. Douglas I. Katz, MD
Professor of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine; President, American Congress of Rehabilitative Medicine
40. Anastasia Khvorova, PhD
Professor, RNA Therapeutics Institute, University of Massachusetts Medical School
41. Carey Kimmelstiel, MD
Associate Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine; Director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Tufts Medical Center
42. Daniel Kirschner, PhD
Professor of Biology, Boston College
43. Marc Kirschner, PhD
John Franklin Enders University Professor of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School; Member of National Academy of Sciences
44. Henry Klapholz, MD
Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Dean for Clinical Affairs, Tufts University School of Medicine
45. Ronald Ellis Kleinman, MD
Charles Wilder Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Physician-in-Chief, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children
46. Anne Klibanski, MD
Laurie Carrol Guthart Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Chief, Neuroendocrine, Massachusetts General Hospital
47. Marvin Konstam, MD
Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine; Chief Physician Executive, The CardioVascular Center, Tufts Medical Center
48. Robert Kotin, PhD
Professor, Microbiology and Physiological Systems, University of Massachusetts Medical School
49. Monty Krieger, PhD
Whitehead Professor of Molecular Genetics; MacVicar Faculty Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Member of National Academy of Sciences
50. Mitzi M. Kuroda, PhD
Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School; Member, National Academy of Sciences
51. Jeffrey Kuvin, MD
Professor of Medicine, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College; Chief, Cardiovascular Medicine, DartmouthHitchcock Medical Center
52. Bruce Landon, MD, MBA, MSc
Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School; Professor of Medicine, Beth Israel – Deaconess Medical Center 4
53. Robert Langer, Sc.D
David H. Koch Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Member of National Academy of Sciences; Winner of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
54. Ethan Lerner, MD
Associate Professor of Dermatology Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
55. David Livingston, MD
Professor of Genetics, Emil Frei Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Member of National Academy of Sciences
56. David N. Louis, MD
Benjamin Castleman Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School; Chair of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital
57. Thomas Lynch, MD
former Richard and Jonathan Sackler Professor of Internal Medicine, Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine; former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts General Physicians Organization
58. Madhusmita Misra, MD, MPH
Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Division Chief, Pediatric Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital
59. Martin Maron, MD
Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine; Director, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center, Tufts Medical Center
60. Robert J. Mayer, MD
Stephen B. Kay Family Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Faculty Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
61. Matthew Meyerson, MD, PhD
Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School; Director, Center for Cancer Genome Discovery, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
62. Lee M. Nadler, MD
Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research and Teaching, and Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, Harvard Medical School; Chief, Medical Oncology, Brigham And Women’s Hospital; Senior Vice President, Experimental Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
63. David Neumeyer, MD
Associate Clinical Professor, Medicine, Tufts Medical Center; Dean of Admissions, Tufts University School of Medicine
64. David Pellman, MD
Margaret M. Dyson Professor of Pediatric Oncology, Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Professor, Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School
65. James Perrin, MD
Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; John C. Robinson Chair in Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children; President of the American Academy of Pediatrics
66. Mercio Perrin, MD, PhD
Professor of Developmental, Molecular & Chemical Biology, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University
67. Russell S. Phillips, MD
William Applebaum Professor of Medicine, Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, and Director of the Center for Primary Care, Harvard Medical School; President of the Association for the Chiefs and Leaders in General Internal Medicine
68. Steven Pinker, MD
Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University; Member of National Academy of Sciences
69. Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
70. Benjamin Raby, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital 5
71. Allan Ropper, MD
Professor, Harvard Medical School; Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
72. Jerrold Rosenbaum, MD
Stanley Cobb Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
73. Michael Rosenblatt, MD
Senior Lecturer, Harvard Medical School; Chief Medical Officer of Flagship Ventures; Former Dean of Tufts Medical School; Former Harvard Faculty Dean and Senior Vice President for Academic Programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
74. Anthony Rosenzweig, MD
Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Evelyn and James Jenks and Paul Dudley White Professor of Medicine in the Field of Cardiology; Chief, Cardiology Division, Massachusetts General Hospital
75. Gary Ruvkun, PhD
Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School; Winner of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, Wolf Prize in Medicine, and Lasker Foundation Award for Basic Medical Research; Member of National Academy of Sciences
76. Robert Sackstein MD, PhD
Professor of Dermatology; and Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Director of the Program of Excellence in Glycosciences, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
77. Mark Sarnak, MD, MS
Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine; Director of Research, Division of Nephrology, Tufts Medical Center
78. Isaac Schiff, MD
Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Medical School; Former Chief, Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Massachusetts General Hospital
79. Stuart Schreiber, PhD
Morris Loeb Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University; Director of the Broad Institute’s Center for the Science of Therapeutics; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Member of National Academy of Sciences
80. Thomas Schwarz, PhD
Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology in the Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
81. Jacqueline Sharon, PhD
Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine
82. Phillip A. Sharp , PhD
Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; Winner, the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research; Member of National Academy of Sciences
83. Peter Sicinski MD, PhD
Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
84. Jordan Wassertheil Smoller, MD, ScD
Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health; Associate Chief for Research, Department of Psychiatry and Director of Psychiatric Genetics, Massachusetts General Hospital
85. Avrum Spira, MD, MSc
Professor of Medicine, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, and Bioinformatics, and Chief, Division of Computational Biomedicine, Boston University School of Medicine; Director, Translational Bioinformatics Program, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Boston University
86. Vikas Sukhatme, MD
Victor J. Aresty Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Chief Academic Officer and Harvard Faculty Dean for Academic Programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)
87. Paul Summergrad, MD
Dr. Frances S. Arkin Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine; Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Tufts Medical Center
88. Kevin Tabb, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and BIDMC; CEO Beth Israel – Deaconess Medical Center 6
89. Maria Troulis, DDS, MSc
Walter C. Guralnick Professor and Chair Oral Maxillofacial Surgery at Harvard School of Dental Medicine; Chief, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital
90. Joseph Vacanti, MD
John Homans Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School; Surgeon-in-Chief (Emeritus), Massachusetts General Hospital for Children
91. W. Allan Walker, MD
Conrad Taff Professor of Nutrition and Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
92. Randolph Watnick, PhD
Assistant Professor, Surgery, Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital
93. Robert A. Weinberg PhD
Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Founding Member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; Member of National Academy of Sciences; Winner of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
94. Howard Weiner MD
Robert L. Kroc Professor of Neurology at the Harvard Medical School; Director and Founder of the Partners Multiple Sclerosis Center and Co-Director of the Center for Neurologic Diseases at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital
95. Saul Weingart, MD, MPP, PhD
Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, Tufts Medical Center
96. Deborah Weinstein, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Vice President for Graduate Medical Education, Partners HealthCare
97. Howard Weinstein, MD
Alan R. Ezekowitz Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Chief, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital
98. Giles Whalen, MD
Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School; Chief, Division of Surgical Oncology & Endocrine Surgery; and Vice Chair, Department of Surgery; and Director, Cancer Center of Excellence, UMASS Memorial Medical Center
99. Kwok-kin Wong, MD
Formerly Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Scientific Director, Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Currently Director, Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, New York University School of Medicine; Chief of Hematology/Oncology, Perlmutter Cancer Center at New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center
100. Ellen Zane, MA
Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, and Assistant Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine; CEO Emeritus & Vice Chair, Board of Trustees, Tufts Medical Center
101. Mark Zeidel, MD
Herman L. Blumgart Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Chairman, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel – Deaconess Medical Center
102. Peter Zimetbaum, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Associate Chief and Director, Clinical Cardiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

MORE INFORMATION:

UK Telegraph: Revealed: the Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces
CounterPunch: Israeli video games in Gaza: “Minimal collateral damage”
Statistics on children killed
What is Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions?