172 e-Letters

  • Outright anti-semitic racism and poor quality piece that should never have got through the BMJ's editorial process

    (submitted to the editor on 24-10-23)

    To: BMJ Global Health

    Dear team.

    1) Are you aware that the first author of this article which you have published, recently tweeted a view that is widely understood to call for the destruction of Israel? I.e. destruction of the whole of the Jewish State? *

    2) This article is littered with racist propaganda, libellous accusations and is frequently factually incorrect. I am surprised it got past your due diligence and editorial processes. I do not doubt that you will already have been contacted about objectionable and poor content.

    3) It will likely cause irreparable damage to your reputation as a journal and immeasurable hurt to our Jews and Israelis.

    4) I strongly suggest that the article is retracted, and a formal unconditional apology, without caveats, conditions or conflation, is published by the journal and similarly by the authors.

    5) Any GMC registered doctor holding and publicising such views is likely to be falling short of the standards expected of them. It may also be a criminal offence.

    The decision to give such people a platform to share their poor work and racist views devalues your journal. I am most disappointed.

    Dr Farhad Cooper
    GMC 6150030

    *I attached here, in my letter to the editor a) a copy of the author's tweet and b)an explanation of it's widely understood genocidal meaning

  • Misleading

    This is a point by point rebuttal of the editorial.
    1. The text starts with stating 100 years of occupation of Palestine. It should be clear that Israel was established in 1948 following a UN partition. Occupation of the West back and Gaza commenced in 1967, 56 years ago as stated later on in the article.
    2. The article states:” The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that at least 3785 people are known to have been killed in besieged Gaza, 79 people killed in the occupied West Bank and 1400 people killed in Israel over the course of 12 days, since 7 October 2023.” This is misleading information without giving context. 1400 Israelis were butchered, slaughtered, burned alive and mutilated by Hamas, a terrorist organization. Israel has the right to defend itself against these brutal attacks. Israel is asking people in the Gaza strip to leave areas that are about to be bombed, however Hamas is holding more than 1 million Palestinians hostage and use them as human shields by preventing them from leaving their homes. This terrorist act of Hamas against its fellow Palestinians greatly effects the number of casualties in Gaza. This is overlooked in your article.
    3. The article states: “30% of all housing units in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable”. This is also misleading with out the background. Hamas is using heavy populated areas, hospitals, mosques, and apartment buildings for its military op...

    Show More
  • I’m support of this article

    I am writing to you as a midwife working within the NHS to voice my
    gratitude and support of the recent editorial published by yourselves:
    ‘Violence in Palestine demands immediate resolution of its settler
    colonial root causes’. As a healthcare worker I am horrified and
    appalled by the breaching of international law by Israel and the
    ongoing genocide in Gaza, and violence in the West Bank. My own union
    and professional body, the Royal College of Midwives, have declined to
    comment or release a statement leaving me feeling isolated and
    unsupported. This editorial, and it having been published by the BMJ Global Health,
    has offered vital personal support at this challenging time.
    Additionally it’s the human rights and evidence based approach that I
    value within healthcare, and is a beautiful representation to the
    wider community that healthcare workers seek justice, equity and
    inclusion through the provision of healthcare services.

  • Sincere representation of the current situation on the ground

    Reading this article, I wish to convey my profound appreciation for its content. It was received with great favour, and I found it to be a sincere representation of the current situation on the ground, renewing my faith in humanity.

    Furthermore, I would like to extend my gratitude for your courageous stance on this matter. I recognize that the topic is highly complex, and your editorial decisions may subject you to political pressures or potential backlash from certain interest groups or political parties.

  • Safety of maternal RSV vaccines

    This review article, which concludes that "There was no evidence of a significant effect of any of the maternal vaccines on the reported safety outcomes." makes no reference to GSK's trial of RSVpreF vaccine (NCT04605159) that was terminated in February 2022. The decision to stop vaccinations was announced more than a year before the article was submitted (1).
    The decision to halt the trial was made following a recommendation from the Independent Data Monitoring Committee based on an observation from a routine safety assessment.
    The GSK safety signal is discussed in the article by Mazur et al (authors’ reference 18).

    The fact that a large trial of a maternal vaccine had been stopped for safety reasons should have been included in this article, and perhaps modified the conclusions.

    (1) https://www.gsk.com/en-gb/media/press-releases/gsk-provides-update-on-ph...

  • nothing evidence based here

    In this era of evidence based medicine, a BMJ Global Health editorial
    should be based on evidence more than opinions. Most if not all of the
    contributors to this article have links to the Palestinians.
    1/ if the root of the violence are settlers, then let`s correct your
    misinterpretation of historical facts. 90% of the Palestinians are
    settlers and have come from neighboring Arab states, especially since
    the end of the 19th century when Israelis developed the country and
    new job opportunities were created.
    See for example https://jpn01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wik...
    "During the first half of the 19th century, there were several waves
    of immigration from Egypt to Palestine. They favored settling in
    already established localities. There used to be 19 villages in the
    southern coastal plains and near Ramla with families of Egyptian
    descent, and to this day, some villages in the northern parts of the
    region of Samaria, especially the...

    Show More
  • Root Colonial Causes: A Comment on the Moral Standards of BMJ

    Drs. Smith, Kwong, Hanbali, Neilson, and Khoury are alarmed by "the latest escalation in "Occupied Palestine", calling for an immediate resolution of its "settler-colonial root causes". While the paper at issue seems timely, its very timeliness – the fact that it intervenes in a loaded conflict literally in the heat of the fighting – calls for meticulous editorial standards, expected in all cases and mandatory in this instance.
    Unfortunately, it is clear that the paper's treatment by the BMJ did not meet these – nor any other acceptable – standards. The basis for the claims made here is lacking. Primary facts are missing, vital points are baseless, and others are outright lies. Given the high sensitivity and responsibility needed, one wonders if this paper fits the professionalism and scientific standards that BMJ claims to cultivate. BMJ's willingness to breach these standards is alarming.
    Crucial facts overlooked: The authors note events occurring in Gaza between the 7th and the 15th of October, reporting the death of Palestinian health workers while ignoring crucial events that happened on October 7th. The following points require the immediate attention and action of BMJ readership:
    1. Over 3000 Palestinians crossed the border to Israel, butchered more than 1400 people, including babies, children, and elders in their beds, raped young teenagers dancing at an outdoor party, and burned villages and whole communities (1...

    Show More
  • Healthcare workers and intstitutions must be protected

    This article contains essential reading. I have worked in humanitarian support for palliative care in Gaza for almost a decade. The medical and clinical staff work under extreme resource constraints and difficulty as they try to offer high quality healthcare to the people of Gaza even before this terrible outbreak of hostilities. Up to 60% of essential medicines are not available and, in my own speciality area, almost no oral morphine is available for cancer pain....can you imagine the suffering? This is all due to the seige conditions over 17years in Gaza. I have also never worked with such values orientated, compassionate, skilled colleagues who seek to serve their people in such dfficult circumstances.
    As my Gaza colleague, Dr Khamis Elessi, said 'we condem the killing of all civilians, including in Israel, but punish those who are responsible and not innocent civilians' . As the UN Chief, Antonio Guterres recently stated 'The grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.'
    We must hear and act on the reality of the barage on our fellow health care workers and settings. Thus far, reported by OCHA, 103 clinical staff have been killed from all areas of healthcare. These represent some of the most senior and skilled and some of those with the most promise for the future. 76 attacks are recorded by WHO on 35...

    Show More
  • Dr Ann Robinson

    A compassionate and balanced editorial would also have expressed sadness and regret for the massacres of Israeli citizens including babies that triggered this current situation. Doctors who fail to recognise our common humanity are not worthy of our profession.

  • Excellent summary of the context to the current flare-up of violence in the Middle East.

    The authors and the editors at BMJ GH should be greatly commended for producing such an honest and informative piece about the context and background to the current flare-up of violence in Palestine. I hope they are able to stay firm, true to their convictions, and withstand the backlash they will inevitably receive from some of their employers/affiliated institutions. Taking a stand for an oppressed and largely voiceless people with little agency is always the right thing to do.

    Kind regards,

    Osman A Dar