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Anti-Israel Harvard Medical School students, faculty protest AMA president

‘Fairly horrified’ by medical group’s neutrality on Israel-Hamas war

Approximately 50 students and faculty from the Harvard Medical School protested the president of the American Medical Association on Friday, slamming the group’s “neutral” stance on the Israel-Hamas war.

According to the Boston Globe, AMA President Jesse Ehrenfeld was at HMS for “Match Day” — when medical students “across the country open envelopes that determine where they will work after graduation.”

But celebrating HMS students and their families were met by the “mostly silent protesters” who held placards reading “Let Gaza Live!” and “AMA is complicit in genocide.”

Citing the principle of “medical neutrality” in the early days of the Israel-Hamas conflict, the AMA declined to call for a ceasefire. It did, however, “acknowledg[e] the immense scale” of the humanitarian crisis.

This resulted in it being “targeted” by anti-Israel activists such as the group Healthcare Workers for Palestine, one of the organizers of the HMS protest. The group claims the AMA is “inconsistent” on its neutrality as it had ripped Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

Boston physician Lianet Vazquez, an HMS graduate, said the inconsistency “shows that AMA doesn’t value Palestinian lives as much as Ukrainian lives, or non-white lives as much as white lives.”

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HMS Professor Hibah Osman claimed anti-Israel activists “have been very silenced when it comes to talking about Gaza.” Like other protesters at the event, Osman had red tape covering her mouth to symbolize being censored.

Student Aparna Nair-Kanneganti noted she and other med students are “fairly horrified” by the AMA’s Gaza stance: “You can’t cleave to this notion of medical neutrality in a scenario where an entire ethnic group is dying.”

From the story:

Demonstrators both inside and outside the hall where Ehrenfeld’s lecture took place wore red tape on their mouths to draw attention to what they say is censorship by the Harvard Medical School leadership. As the event wound to a close, students unfurled a large banner from a balcony inside the building’s atrium that said, “AMA is Complicit in Palestinian Genocide.”

On Monday, Harvard Medical School’s dean, Dr. George Daley, sent an email to all medical students and faculty, reminding them of the university guidelines for “mutual respect and public discourse,” with a warning that disruption of Friday’s event could result in “long term professional consequences.”

HMS’s official article on “Match Day” makes no mention of the protest or the activists.

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IMAGE: Harvard Medical School

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.