Medical Aid for Palestinians: Politicizing Medicine, Inflaming Conflict
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Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is a significant UK-based charity with major British public figures serving on its board.Founded in 1984 by Dr. Swee Ang Chai, itoperates medical clinics in the West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon. The group claims to be “non-political” with the exception of working with “politicians and policy makers to ensure that Palestinians get access to the healthcare that they need.”
MAP’s advocacy, however, goes far beyond the stated limits of its mission. MAP promotes a polarizing anti-Israel narrative under the guise of medical expertise and facts. MAP lobbies policy makers and legislators in Britain, the European Union and other international institutions to sanction Israel. MAP’s tactics in this effort include “fact finding ” visits, biased and misleading publications, and panels at British political party conferences.
Furthermore, antisemitic statements have been made at MAP events and are also evident on MAP’s website. Indeed, during the 2014 Gaza war, MAP founder Swee Ang promoted an antisemitic video made by American white supremacist David Duke. At a 2013 MAP event, Sir Iain Chalmers complained how “Zionists” have “control in so many different domains.”
MAP utilizes politicized language accusing Israel of “indiscriminate attacks” and “ collective punishment” against Palestinians while alleging that Israeli defensive measures are “arbitrary.” MAP also holds ongoing programs where Israel is consistently demonized. A central theme in its work is describing the founding of the State of Israel as the “nakba” (catastrophe) thereby using Palestinian nationalist references.
MAP is a partner with The Lancet medical journal in The Lancet-Palestinian Health Alliance (LPHA). The Lancet provides MAP with a platform for its anti-Israel political views.
MAP’s 2014 Gaza relief partners include the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health (MoH) and IDEALS, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) funded by Interpal, which is designated as a terrorist entity by the United States .
MAP’s finances are non-transparent. Its annual budget in 2014 was £3.1 million. Direct and indirect governmental donors include the UK, EU, the Netherlands, Australia, and Ireland.
- MAP’s total income in 2014 was £3.1million. The group’s financial transparency is lacking as it does not list donors or amounts in its 2014 annual report, and only mentions a few isolated instances in the 2014 financial review.
- In 2013, however, MAP listed many private and public donors on its “ Thank You” page:
- MAP’s direct and indirect government donors include:
- Direct Governmental Funders
- Big Lottery Fund (UK)
- European Commission
- Indirect Governmental Funders
- OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID)
- Trocaire (Ireland)
- UN Central Emergency Response Fund
- Private Funding Includes:
- ABC International Bank plc
- Cambridge Applied Physics
- Cambridge Overseas Trading ltd
- CCC Ltd
- Europe Arab Bank
- Inter Firm Islamic Societies
- Mosen Ltd.
- Trust and Foundation Funding Includes:
- B & P Glasser Charitable Trust
- CB & HH Taylor 1984 Trust
- Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust
- Hilda & Alice Clark Charitable Settlement
- Hugh Symons Charitable Trust
- International Arab Charity
- Jerrahi Order of America
- Lily Matthews Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland
- Orkney Friends of Palestine
- Perdana Global Peace Foundation
- Portrack Charitable Trust
- Roger and Sarah Bancroft Clark Charitable Trust
- Said Foundation
- The Asfari Foundation
- The Barham Charitable Trust
- The Bruce Trust
- The Buckland Charitable Trust
- The Evan Cornish Foundation
- The Leonard Chadwick Charitable Trust
- The Linbury Trust
- The Mactaggart Third Fund
- The Mirianog Trust
- The Munib R Masri Development Foundation
- University of Genoa “Call for children of Gaza.”
- Walter Guinness Charitable Trust
- Not all logos in the 2013 annual report are legible, particularly the Arabic-language ones, rendering MAP’s efforts at transparency highly inadequate.
- MAP’s 2014 Gaza relief program continues to be funded by the British government. MAP’s partner in its relief efforts is IDEALS, an NGO that is funded by Interpal, a UK charity designated as a terrorist entity by the United States . This project also includes collaboration between MAP and the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, controlled by Hamas. It is possible, then, that British taxpayer funding is being channeled to Hamas.
|European Commission||€237,527 (2010) (not listed in Echo1 funding reports)|
|Irish Aid||Undisclosed (2010-2013)|
|OCHA||250,000.15 (2014) (No currency provided)|
Indirect Government Funding
- MAP “Ethical Fundraising Policy” is no longer available online. The policy set out strict guidelines for potential donors. In addition to emphasizing “accountability, transparency, and effectiveness,” the policy stated,
We will not accept donations that promote political, partisan, sectarian individuals or organizations. We are a strictly non-profit organization that is based on non-political, non-partisan, non-sectarian policy. We do not take any political side or [sic] the conflicts between Palestine and other countries. We believe that every individual has rights to have access to health. We are always clear who we are and what we do. We only accept donations from donors who understand our policy and terms.
- It is unclear why MAP removed this policy from its website and administrative reports. However, MAP’s fundraising standards have never remained within these boundaries. The group has repeatedly accepted money from individuals and proceeds from events whose anti-Israel rhetoric has been denounced by other NGOs and reputable public figures.
- In October 2002, MAP accepted the proceeds of the book After the Terror that argued for the legitimacy of Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians. After the Terror declares,
Those Palestinians who have resorted to violence have been right to try to free their people, and those who have killed themselves in the cause of their people have indeed sanctified themselves. This seems to me a terrible truth, a truth that overcomes what we must remember about all terrorism, and also overcomes the thought of hideousness and monstrosity.”
- The author, Ted Honderich, is a professor of philosophy at University College London. After Oxfam rejected his offer to donate his book’s advanced royalties of £5,000 he turned to MAP. Unlike Oxfam, MAP accepted Honderich’s gift. MAP’s chief executive Belinda Coote defended MAP’s decision describing Honderich as “a moral philosopher.”
- A similar incident occurred the previous year on November 26, 2008, when MAP received the proceeds from an anti-Israel Christmas campaign organized by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods. “Bethlehem Now: Nine Alternative Lessons and Carols for Palestine,” an event that offered an “alternative carol service,” to “highlight current reality in the Holy Land,” was held at Anglican St. James Church in Piccadilly, London. The alternative carols demonized Israel,including “Twelve Days of Christmas,” which was sung as, “Twelve assassinations/Eleven homes demolished/Ten wells obstructed/Nine sniper towers/Eight gunships firing/Seven checkpoints blocking/Six tanks a-rolling/Five settlement rings. Four falling bombs/Three trench guns/ Two trampled doves/And an uprooted olive tree.”
- Lord Carey of Clifton, former Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke out against the event, arguing that it demonstrated that “anti-Semitism and hostility to Jews still lurked beneath the surface in Christian circles in Britain.” Referring to the carol service, he added: “Such actions strengthen an anti-Israeli agenda, trivialize the political issues and nourish an anti-Semitic culture.”
- Nevertheless, MAP’s founder Swee Ang attended the carol service, and MAP accepted the proceeds from the donations.
- In 2015, MAP accepted proceeds from the book launch for Families of the Nakba. The purpose of the book is to raise funds and awareness for MAP, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and MAP’s local partner, Beit Atfal as Summoud. The book features families in which “the oldest members can recall leaving Palestine in 1948 after al-Nakba, The Catastrophe, when 750,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes and off their land.”
MAP’s Political Agenda
- MAP exploits its primary medicine and health agenda to push a highly politicized agenda. Its “ Advocacy Department,” currently led by Aimee Shalan, provides clear evidence of the organization’s parallel goal of promoting the Palestinian political stance. Shalan said, “We address political issues because humanitarian aid must come hand-in-hand with a strong advocacy platform.”
- MAP utilizes highly biased and politicized language, accusing Israel of “indiscriminate attacks” and “ collective punishment” against the Palestinian population. MAP alleges that Israeli defensive measures are “arbitrary,” reflecting its primary political orientation.
- In a statement on July 21, 2011, MAP reiterated its stance:
The things that concern me most right now are the arbitrary controls on movement and the divisive permit system, which leave many Palestinians in the West Bank without swift access to emergency treatment.
The use of the terms “arbitrary” is misleading. There is no consideration of the security context and the numerous mass terror attacks that led Israel to enact protective measures, such as checkpoints and the security barrier. Extensive evidence showing that the barrier has been successful in protecting the rights of Israelis, in particular the “right to life,” is also entirely omitted. Moreover, despite the need for such security measures, thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank aretreated in Israeli hospitals each year ( 219,464 in 2013). The Civil Administration facilitates mobile clinics that bring health care to isolated villages.
- MAP’s agenda can also be understood through the articles it posts on its website. Examples include:
- A transcript of a talk by Sir Vincent Fean, former UK Consul-General in Jerusalem, “ Israel/Palestine – does recognising both states make a difference? ” in which he accuses Israel of “collective punishment” and calls for ICC prosecution and other “serious consequences for the illegal settler enterprise.” He said, “the 7 (sic) year closure of Gaza by Israel” is illegal, but withheld that judgment for Egypt, which also has closed its border with Gaza.
- An article by the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency, “ Israel failed to minimize civilian toll in Gaza war ,” which presents a politicized narrative of Israeli guilt and Palestinian victimhood.
- Promotion of the petition “Let Mads Gilbert Back Into Gaza,” which claims the “Israeli government [is] attempting to silence him for speaking out about the atrocities that he witnessed first hand.”
- MAP focuses on the “nakba” (catastrophe) as a central theme in its work. For the “65th nakba anniversary,” MAP dedicatednewsletters, reflections, and several articles on the topic. In 2014, MAP published a recount of the talk “The Invisible Damage of Life Under Occupation,” which described understanding “nakba” as the first step to giving an “overview of the picture of mental health in occupied Palestine.” Chair of MAP’s Board of Trustees Alan Waddams emphasizes British responsibility for the situation.
- As a part of the “MAP Films” project, an exhibition by Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar, “ Whole in the Wall,” made its debut performance at London’s Ayyam Gallery. The exhibit aims “to get Westerners to sense the wall’s physical and mental brutality, and to think about its daily impact on life for Palestinians.”
- In a response to the 2014 Gaza war, Fikr Shalltoot, MAP’s Gaza Director of Programmes stated: “I’m not sure why the children in Gaza have become a target… We hear that the British Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has called the Israeli attacks a ‘deliberately disproportionate form of collective punishment’. But it is actions we need not words alone.”
Ruling against MAP by UK Advertising Standards Authority
- In 2014, the UK Advertising Standards Authority found MAP responsible for misleading advertising, after the UK Lawyers for Israel filed a complaint against a regional press ad:
What if you needed a permit to get to hospital in Oxford … but were denied?… Last year in occupied Palestine 39,280 patients, companions and visitors did not make it to hospital because their permits were denied by the Israeli authorities. This is life under Israeli military control. [emphasis added]
This statement was determined by the ASA as misleading because the “figure included companions and family members.” Similarly misleading rhetoric was used in MAP’s fundraising materials.
New Statesman Conference: An Exercise in Bias
- MAP sponsored a 2014 conference with the New Statesman titled “ Israel and Palestine: Is the two-state solution dead?” This discussion featured several MPs and prominent figures, including known anti-Zionist Ilan Pappé. The dialogue focused on what the participants felt should be a “paradigm shift” away from a two-state framework and towards the “five million refugees struggle for basic rights and necessities in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
- At one point the discussion turned to the question, “Could the Jews ever accept a state in which the Palestinians had a majority?” MP Jack Straw responded,
How do we persuade Israelis by whatever means to change their minds – from where we are now, which is a comfortable place for the Jewish community, to where we think they ought to be? [emphasis added]
- A key word search of the New Statesman’s conference report yielded these results:
|"settler" or "settlements"||10|
|"occupier" or "occupation"||10|
|"boycotts, divestments and sanctions"||1|
|"terror" or "terrorism"||0|
|"rockets" or "missles"||0|
Joint NGO Reports
- In 2012, MAP and the Save the Children produced a publication, “ Gaza’s Children: Falling behind .” The report focuses on “the extensive restrictions placed on the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza” and campaigns for “free flow of goods, people and services.” There is no mention of Israel’s border security, the role of Hamas in stealing aid for civilians, or political divisions among Palestinian factions that lead to infrastructure failure.
- In 2010, MAP and 21 other NGOs including Amnesty, Oxfam, Save the Children-UK, Trocaire, FIDH, Christian Aid, Diakonia, and ICCO, issued the report “ Dashed Hopes: Continuation of the Gaza Blockade .” “Dashed Hopes” uncritically quotes other NGO allegations, erases the context of terror, and ignores evidence that does not support its biased conclusions. For instance, the growing number of rocket attacks against Israeli civilians is only mentioned in the report’s last footnote. The NGOs also repeat the false legal claim that “the primary responsibility for ensuring the welfare of Palestinian civilians lies with Israel as the occupying power.”
Lobbying and Other Political Action
- MAP’s advocacy policy includes a concerted effort to lobby policy makers and legislators. The MAP 2010 Programme Report explained that “advocacy work can sometimes be public and involve the media, while at other times it can be more effective lobbying governments and policy makers behind the scenes.”
- MAP uses a veneer of medicine and health to disseminate an anti-Israel narrative to British parliamentarians, journalists, and EU politicians through “fact finding” visits. In 2010 and 2011 MAP organized “fact-finding” visits, together with the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu) lobby group.
- MAP and Caabu assert that their lobbying “play[s] a valuable role informing parliamentary debate on the Middle East. Follow-ups to the 2010–11 trips have included a House of Commons Adjournment Debate on access for construction materials to Gaza; a Westminster Hall Debate on the detention of Palestinian children; Parliamentary Questions to the Prime Minister and debates in the House of Lords.”
- MAP’s political agenda was further highlighted by the appointment of Chris Patten as MAP President in 2010. Patten, a senior British politician, served as External Relations Commissioner of the European Union between 1999 and 2004. In this and other positions, Patten has expressed political views that demonize Israel. For example, regarding Israel’s incursion into Jenin in April 2002, Patten condemned Israel, “Israelis can’t trample over the rule of law, over the Geneva conventions, over what are generally regarded as acceptable norms of behaviour without it doing colossal damage to their reputation.” He also stated that one has “to recognise, what is the political context in which young men and women strap bombs to themselves and go out to murder other young men and women.”
- MAP published a 2009 report “ Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses ” together with Amnesty International UK, Trocaire (Ireland),Diakonia (Sweden), Oxfam International,Christian Aid (UK),Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), CAFOD (UK) and others. The report advanced the unsupported legal claim that Gaza remains occupied and the false allegation of “collective punishment” in order to “prove” that “primary responsibility [for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza] lies with Israel.”
- The report disregards the security motives behind Israel’s defensive measures. It declares “The blockade is also in breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1860” while ignoring that resolution’s affirmation of Israel’s right to “ prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition,” the basis of the Israeli blockade.
- The report’s concluding sections list recommendations for state interventions and diplomatic actions, which are consistent with its broader politicized strategy: “The European Union should now take an international lead, alongside the US and other players, to secure an end to the blockade.”
- Addressing the European Union, MAP reiterated its demand for intensive diplomatic pressure, including sanctions, to change Israeli policies unilaterally:
The EU must commit itself to the explicit aim of ending the blockade of Gaza by taking a strong and unified stance and a renewed international lead on the issue. The EU and its Member States should use every opportunity with Israel to issue clear, strong and public calls to demand the full and unconditional end of the blockade on Gaza. The EU should confirm publicly that the upgrading of relations with Israel is put on hold, pending tangible progress in Israel’s respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, which should include its actions with regard to the blockade of Gaza.
- MAP’s report “ Britain and Palestine: A Parliamentary Focus” describes delegations of British parliamentarians that visited Israel and the West Bank. The aim of these trips is to give “British parliamentarians, delegations and political figures… an unforgettable perspective on the practical realities of the situation.” All of the “key issues examined during the recent parliamentary visits” are discussed from the Palestinian perspective: settlements and the “Separation Wall”; Palestinian children in Israeli military courts; restrictions in Area C; the blockade of Gaza, which causes “medical emergencies,” “humanitarian catastrophe,” and “medicine shortage”; and the “continued occupation of the West Bank,” which “has a serious impact on Palestinians’ access to health.”
- At events such as the Liberal Democrats party conference, politicians quote the “knowledge” they gained from these trips: “Mark Pawsey MP recounted his recent trip to occupied Palestine with Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Council for Arab British Understanding. ‘When he arrived,’ he said, ‘he had not expected to see the level of separation between the two communities.’”
- In 2013, MAP attended and held panels at theConservative Party conference, theLabour Party conference and the Liberal Democrats party conference. At these panels, discussions were held with British MPs about “applying the right pressure”; conditioned support; British recognition of the state of Palestine; impact of boycotts and sanctions; engaging “grassroots political movements”; reopening closed borders; the “detrimental impact the checkpoints”; “a lift of restrictions in the region”; aid as a supplement to advocacy; and “colonization.” The claims made at these discussions regarding international law are marked by major omissions and distortions.
- In November 2012, MAP was also one of 22 political advocacy NGOs behind the report “ Trading Away Peace: How Europe helps sustain illegal Israeli settlements ” that called on the EU to “ban imports of settlement products,” “prevent financial transactions to settlements and related activities,” “discourage businesses from purchasing settlement goods and from all other commercial and investment links with settlements,” “exclude settlement products and companies from public procurements tenders and other forms of economic sanctions,” and “issue guidelines for European tour operators to prevent support for settlement businesses.”
- In a letter to Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, MAP joined 31 other NGOs in disregarding Israel’s security concerns, encouraging the unity of the PLO and Hamas and reviewing “impeded” humanitarian relief:
Challenge Israel’s illegal implementation of the Separation Policy, recognising the strategic necessity of Gaza to a viable Palestinian State, in accordance with EU policy. In this regard, the EU should demand an end to the blockade, and condition EU bilateral relations with the Government of Israel on progress toward such an end. The EU should also insist that Israel find and implement technical solutions wherever possible for access to and from Gaza, including facilitation of rapid progress on reconstruction, focusing on reversing the impact of the blockade on the civilian population.
- MAP was involved in a church-based divestment campaign, as part of broader anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) initiatives. In 2006, MAP CEO Belinda Coote signed a statement addressed to Anglican Church Commissioners urging divestment from Israeli companies.
- In January 2010, MAP trustee Prof. Graham Watt urged the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond to cancel a trade mission and boycott Israel instead.
The Lancet-Palestinian Health Alliance (LPHA)
- The LPHA was launched in 2009 as a partnership between The Lancet, the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University, and MAP.
- LPHA is led by The Lancet’s editor-in-chief Richard Horton. MAP has been a consistent organizational contributor to the LPHA since its onset in2009 and remained a funding partner in2010,2011,2012, and2013. 3
- The LPHA has been used as a platform for anti-Israel political views. In December 2013, The Lancet launched the 2013 LPHA research series in association with MAP. Many research abstracts reveal a political slant , reflecting the authors’ subjective anti-Israel prejudices.
- For example, in a contribution titled “ Emergency preparedness and response of the Palestinian health system to an Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, occupied Palestinian territory, in 2012: a qualitative assessment ,” the authors blame “Israeli violence” entirely, failing to consider the role of terror groups operating within civilian areas in Gaza that necessitate Israel’s self-defense measures. Two of the authors, Ghassan Zaqout and Aed Yaghi, are affiliated with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), a highly biased NGO that repeatedly claims that Israel violates “human rights,” employs methods of “collective punishment,” and “deploys non-conventional weapons against civilians.”
- While speaking at a 2012 MAP event , “Pitching for Palestine,” The Lancet’s editor Horton described an invented situation in which Palestinians have no access to health care whatsoever, blamed Israel, and called for a global “uprising” against Israel:
And when the world sees the reality of Palestinian society, right now, today, this second, there will be an uprising. And there will be shame and horribles (sic) on Israel.
- Horton describes MAP trustee Prof. Graham Watt as a central element to the LPHA. In a MAP-sponsored lecture, Watt dismissed the reality of Palestinian terrorism, stating, “What is it that maintains that mentality in which power has to be used excessively… one of the things that keep that mentality alive is the thought system or a pattern of ideas which sustains it and it is kind of a cartoon of reality in which Palestinians are portrayed as terrorists.”
- Horton wrote the forward to MAP’s 2010 “Programme Report.” In it, he emphasized the importance of international advocacy and “collaboration between Palestinian and international researchers; health agencies and professionals, and community organisations” in the face of a situation where
Gaza has been plunged into a deepening humanitarian crisis, marked by displacement, destruction of property, lingering insecurity and, overarching all these factors, a consistent violation of human rights.
- Richard Horton has also partnered with MAP on non-medical issues. Horton was one of 50 signatories on MAP’s petition to “end to Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes.”
The Lancet’s “Open Letter for the People in Gaza” Controversy
- The Lancet ’s role in demonizing Israel was highlighted in July 2014 during the Gaza conflict, when it published a highly politicized and biased piece under the headline, “ Open Letter for the People in Gaza .” The letter accused Israel of “war crimes” and of carrying out a “massacre” and an “aggression.” It omitted the thousands of rockets and missiles fired by Hamas at Israeli civilians.
- Primary signatories included founder of MAP Swee Ang, Paola Manduca, Iain Chalmers, Derek Summerfield, and Mads Gilbert. Each has made extreme anti-Israel, and in some cases overtly antisemitic, statements or promoted antisemitic materials.
- In the Open Letter, the authors’ claims included calling the IDF’s response to Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli populations centers “the creation of an emergency to masquerade a massacre.” The letter also attacked the Israeli medical community: “…we are tempted to conclude that with the exception of this 5%, the rest of the Israeli academics are complicit in the massacre and destruction of Gaza.”
- NGO Monitor researchers subsequently uncovered emails circulated by two of the Gaza letter’s main authors (Drs. Paola Manduca and Swee Ang) promoting a virulent antisemitic video by white supremacist David Duke. Dr. Paola Manduca forwarded an email from Dr. Swee Ang with the subject line “ CNN Goldman Sachs & the Zio Matrix ” to the Italian Google group Sempre Contro la Guerra. The video reflects a shocking, pathological antisemitism. Duke was expelled from Italy in 2013 for “ allegedly trying to establish a pan-European neo-Nazi group .”
- Swee Ang wrote, “This is shocking video please watch. This is not about Palestine – it is about all of us!” The email also contained, in bold red lettering, “SEE THIS VIDEO BEFORE IT IS REMOVED FROM CIRCULATION – Please do pass on to others who you think would be interested and would pass on>>>The whole world needs to know.”
- Major mainstream media coverage, particularly in the UK, followed. The story was first released through a Telegraph article “ Lancet hijacked in anti-Israel campaign .” In response to the controversy, Swee Ang stated, “I didn’t know who David Duke was, or that he was connected to the Ku Klux Klan. I am concerned that if there is any truth in the video, that Jews control the media, politics and banking, what on earth is going on? I was worried.” Swee Ang later offered a halfhearted apology.
- An audio recording subsequently emerged in which a third Gaza “open letter” author, Sir Iain Chalmers, made a comment echoing the antisemitism of the Duke video. At a jointMAP-LPHA event held at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health on December 5, 2013 to launch “crucial new research by the LPHA,” Chalmers decried how “Zionists” have “control in so many different domains” and how The Lancet is one publication “they [Zionists] cannot suppress.” Chalmers also mused over the “interesting figure” of “six million” in relation to the number of non-Jews “whose lives” the “Jewish state… controls.”
The Lancet as a Platform for MAP’s Israel Demonization
- On February 2, 2009, founder of MAP Dr. Swee Ang published the introduction from her book The Wounds of Gaza on The Lancet’s “Global Health Network” website. The article, which Swee Ang presented as “well documented,” had no footnotes or references, and was filled with unverifiable anecdotes in order to advance an extensive list of accusations against Israel.
- The entry began with a misrepresentation of two incidents, whose historical veracity are the subject of much scholarly debate: “Are we talking about the Khan Younis massacre of 5,000 in 1956, or the execution of 35,000 prisoners of war by Israel in 1967?” Apparently, Swee Ang arrived at her figures by taking an UNWRA report, which claimed “a large number of civilians were killed,” and inflating the number by a factor of 20.
- Swee Ang speculated that during the 2009 Gaza War, the IDF illegally deployed phosphorus shells and bombs with the intention of harming civilians, citing the testimonies of unnamed “eyewitnesses” as her only evidence.
- Swee Ang also described other incidents based on the testimony of unnamed witnesses she prejudicially describes as “survivors.” Under the section entitled “Executions” she wrote:
Survivors describe Israeli tanks arriving in front of homes demanding residents to come out. Children, old people and women would come forward and as they were lined up they were fired upon and killed. Families have lost tens of their members through such executions. The deliberate targeting of unarmed children and women is well documented by human rights groups in the Gaza Strip over the past month.
- The article remained posted for 28 days until it was removed following widespread criticism. The Lancet explained, “We have taken down the blog post The Wounds of Gaza because of factual inaccuracies.”
- Similar to her endorsement of the Duke video, Swee Ang decried the power of what she termed the “pro-Israel lobby” in a response to the removal of her article claiming, “the intimidation to silence witnesses has to stop.”
- In the same response, Swee Ang speculated that Israel used nuclear weapons in Gaza. She did not cite sources other than an amorphous “some believe” and stated that “there is no proof and it is impossible to tell” in her conjecture. Yet, she nonetheless speculated that Israel used bombs that yielded “4,000 kilotons of explosives.”
- In addition to Swee Ang, Andrea Becker, former director of advocacy and communications of MAP, had a significant presence in The Lancet, although her qualifications to write about medical issues are unknown. As with Swee Ang, Becker’s role in MAP gave her the resources and visibility to promote political attacks on Israel.
- As part of the LPHA series, Becker co-wrote the article “ Keys to Health: Justice, Sovereignty, and Self Determination ” in March 2009. She was also acknowledged for “reading, discussing, and commenting on several drafts” of The Lancet article “ Health Status and Health Services in the Occupied Palestinian Territory ” and the March 2009 article “ Health as Human Security in the Occupied Palestinian Territory .” The Lancet noted Becker’s affiliation with MAP, but recorded that she declared no conflict of interest.
- Becker was quoted yet again in the May 2009 Lancet article “ Health in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” The author, Simon Nadel, cited one of Becker’s other submissions to The Lancet, “Implied as the basis for the series is the premise laid out clearly in the Comment by Andrea Becker and colleagues… ‘Israel’s siege, bombardment, and invasion of the Gaza Strip…[and] a strangulated Palestinian economy, gross restrictions on ordinary movement, and a pervasive environment of intimidation, uncertainty, and insecurity.’” Not only did The Lancet accept Becker’s claims at face value, they did not appear to have questioned whether she was qualified to reach such judgments on complex military, economic, and socio-political issues.
- In a 2011 interview with the BBC (part 1 & 2), MAP founder Dr. Swee Ang discussed wearing a “Hezbollah scarf…to get better treatment” in Lebanon, and revealed her support for colleagues from “Medical Aid” who were “defending their camp” through suicide bombing. She then tried to claim that MAP staff’s Palestinian political inclinations have “nothing to do with the charity.”
- MAP’s 2014 Gaza relief partners include the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health (MoH) and IDEALS, an NGO funded by Interpal, which is designated as a terrorist entity by the United States .
- In 2011, MAP signed the letter “ The EU’s aid to Palestinian institutions and response to Palestinian reconciliation ,” welcoming the possibility of a Palestinian unity agreement with Hamas. The letter dismisses Hamas’ responsibility for terrorism, stating, “international diplomatic and financial boycott of Hamas, the controlling power in Gaza, has facilitated and aggravated this situation.” The letter does not call on Hamas to renounce violence, terrorism, incitement to genocide, and the destruction of Israel. Nor does it acknowledge Security Council Resolution 1373 that prohibits any direct or indirect material or financial support for terror organizations.
- The letter is acknowledged in BBC’s HARDtalk interview with Dr. Swee Ang. When asked why MAP would sign this letter, Swee Ang answers, “The West has not gone out of their way to talk to Hamas.” Interviewer Tim Frank responds, “It’s based on the fact that their charter is palpably antisemitic and they subscribe to violence against Israelis.” To which Swee Ang answers: “Yeah, they will change that eventually I think.”
- MAP has in the past been linked financially to terror groups. According to Harvard academic, Dr. Sara Roy, MAP made payments to the Al-Ihsan Charitable Society, which was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2005 as a “charitable front for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad … [Al-Ihsan] masquerades as a charity, while actually helping to finance Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s acts of terror against the Israeli people and other innocents.”4
MAP’s Toleration and Promotion of Anti-Jewish Stereotyping
MAP Founder Promoted Antisemtic White Supremacist Video
- As described in detail above, MAP founder Dr. Swee Ang promoted an antisemitic video by American white supremacist David Duke.
“Seven Jewish Children”
- On its website, on a page titled “Stage a production of Seven Jewish Children,” MAP encourages the production of this play. The playwright is Caryl Churchill, a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The page also contains links to a video performance of the play and a downloadable script.
- Churchill wrote the play “out of feeling strongly about what’s happening in Gaza – it’s a way of helping the people there. Everyone knows about Gaza, everyone is upset about it, and this play is something they could come to.”
- The play was strongly criticized for its stereotyping of Jews.
- One critic wrote that this “is not a play about Israel… but it is a play explicitly about Jews. [Churchill’s] response to Gaza is to accuse Jews of having undergone a pathological transformation from victims to oppressors… It is Jewish thought and behaviour that links the play together, not Israel. The words Israel, Israelis, Zionism and Zionist are not mentioned once in the play, while Jews are mentioned in the title and in the text itself.”
- Another critic called the play “a blood libel” saying it was “the mainstreaming of the worst anti-Jewish stereotypes – for instance, that Jews glory in the shedding of non-Jewish blood.”
- Another wrote , “Caryl Churchill will argue that her play is about Israelis not Jews, but once you venture on to “chosen people” territory – feeding all the ancient prejudice against that miscomprehended phrase – once you repeat in another form the medieval blood-libel of Jews rejoicing in the murder of little children, you have crossed over [to antisemitism].”
- Playwright Israel Horovitz also responded, “It is possible to criticize Israel without being anti-Semitic, as it is possible to criticize Palestine without being anti-Arab. Those who criticize Jews in the name of criticizing Israel, as Ms. Churchill seems to have done in her play, step over an unacceptable boundary and must be taken to task.”
- In 2009 Churchill waived admission fees for her play, inviting audience members to contribute to MAP instead. The play was publicly condemned for its antisemitic overtones. Despite the controversy and a letter of protest from fifty-nine prominent British Jews arguing that the play “demonises Israelis by reinforcing false stereotypes,” MAP accepted the proceeds.
- “Seven Jewish Children” was performed at a fundraising event in Dubai, which raised £3,000 for MAP.
- Churchill is also featured on MAP’s YouTube page in a video promoting MAP’s mobile medical van in Area C of the West Bank.
Roger Waters and MAP
- MAP’s William Parry interviewed Roger Waters, formerly of the rock band Pink Floyd. Parry asked Waters, “You spray painted ‘We don’t need no thought control’ on the separation wall in 2006. That can be read on different levels. How did you mean it?” Waters replied:
The pro-Israel lobby in the US controls not just Congress but the Executive branch as well. If a politician, Republican or Democrat, says one word against Israel around Congress or in Washington, that is the end of their political career. This is not democracy and it is entirely counterproductive to the welfare and interests of American citizens. (emphasis added)
- In Counterpunch Waters is clear what he means by “pro-Israel lobby”
The Jewish lobby is extraordinary (sic) powerful here and particularly in the industry that I work in, the music industry and in rock’n roll as they say. I promise you, naming no names, I’ve spoken to people who are terrified that if they stand shoulder to shoulder with me they are going to get f***ed. (emphasis added)
Elsewhere in the Counterpunch interview, Waters ascribes to this “lobby” a
propaganda machine that starts in Israeli schools and that continues through all the Netanyahu’s bluster [that] is poured all over the United States, not just Fox but also CNN and in fact in all the mainstream media.
Conclusions and Recommendations
As demonstrated by MAP’s activities and agenda, the exploitation of the language of human rights standards and international legal norms relating to medical care are a major component of its political warfare campaign aimed solely at one party, Israel.
MAP’s activities and political campaigns are part of a larger global movement led by NGOs that explicitly and singularly targets Israel for delegitimization and BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions). The goals of these campaigns are summed up in the NGO declaration at the 2001 UN Durban Conference, which called for “ a policy of complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state…the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargoes, the full cessation of all links (diplomatic, economic, social, aid, military cooperation and training) between all states and Israel.”
Through distorted narratives of medical expertise and scientific fact, MAP utilizes advocacy as a tool to influence and persuade its audiences. This tactic allows MAP to collect aid relief from the UK and foreign governments 5, totaling £3.1million in 2014, exploiting the system of humanitarian development.
MAP and its representatives have become central players in the political conflict, betraying the provision of medical care on the basis of universality and political neutrality. Ultimately, it is MAPs donors, funders, and supporters that bear the responsibility for its dedication to presenting a biased, inaccurate and politicized representation of Israel.
Based on the analysis detailed in this report, NGO Monitor concludes that
1. MAP’s promotion of a political agenda that, due to its demonization of Israel and other anti-Israel activities, is contrary to and incompatible with the stated policies of MAP’s governmental funders.
2. MAP’s toleration of anti-Jewish stereotyping at its events and on its website is inconsistent with the core values of MAP’s governmental funders.
3. MAP’s minimizing or omitting terrorism against Israeli civilians from most of its discussions on the situation in the Middle East is inconsistent with the policies of MAP’s governmental funders.
As such, we urge the officials of those governments funding MAP to deny future funding to this politicized organization.
- Three out of four mentions of Hamas refer to its reconciliation with the PLO.
- The word “tunnels” appears only in the context of their having been closed and having served as a “lifeline” and a “major artery for supplies, including fuel, and an important source of revenue for the de facto authorities.” There is no mention of the wide scale smuggling of weapons through these tunnels.
- MAP has funded at least three LPHA studies: Dignity and its components in Palestinian adolescents and young people: a pilot study, Zeina Amro, Prof Rita Giacaman , 2012; Insecurity in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon: a pilot study, Rouham Yamout, Sarah Farran, Niveen M E Abu Rmeileh, Dennis Hogan, Rita Giacaman , 2012; Maternal and child health in the occupied Palestinian territory, Dr Hanan F Abdul Rahim et al, 2009. MAP is also mentioned in several Lancet correspondences: Teaching child health in the occupied Palestinian territory, Tony Waterstonemail, Samia Halileh, Jumana Odeh, Mary Rudolf, Patricia Hamilton, 2009; Rapid assessment of the health needs of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon in 1996: a randomised study, Dr Yoga Nathan Velupillai, 2012; Aid shortfall causes agencies to rethink approach in Gaza, Sharmila Devi, 2013
- Roy, Sara (2013-11-10). Hamas and Civil Society in Gaza: Engaging the Islamist Social Sector (Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics) (p. 140). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
- Australia, European Commission, Ireland, Netherlands, United Kingdom