Paris, 4 January 2010
In a letter to Dr Paul Philip, Acting Chief Executive of The British General Medical Council (GMC), the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, expressed concern "to learn of a hate campaign reportedly directed, inter alia, by several of your members, against the noted cancer surgeon Professor Michael Baum (Emeritus Professor of Surgery and Visiting Professor of Medical Humanities at University College London)."
On 20 July 2007, Prof. Baum accepted an invitation to participate in a debate on an initiative by UK physicians to boycott Israel. This was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Subsequently, this led to an email assault, including letters sent to subscribers of the BMJ website and to Prof. Baum. On of the most abusive stated: "What kind of doctor is it who, after the Jewish experiences of people like Dr Mengele, approves and covers for Israeli doctors supervising torture sessions? You should be ashamed of yourself Dr. Baum and the GMC should be stripping you off your license to practice..."
Samuels continued, "Prof. Baum - celebrated for his introduction of Tamoxifen as a life saving therapy for breast cancer patients - now became the victim of a concerted campaign within your Council (GMC) to ruin his reputation and disqualify his medical license on grounds of 'scientific misconduct'. The political exploitation of British medicine continued, now targeting Israeli Professor, Dr. Yoram Blachar, to unseat him (on grounds of national origin), from the Presidency of the World Medical Association – to which he had been democratically elected in 2008."
The letter added that "Prof. Baum's right to defend his Israeli colleague was met with aggravated harassment. According to the London Jewish Chronicle of 30 December 2009, the level of antisemitic rhetoric led him to seek security advice as 'he was worried about his and his family's safety'."
Samuels pointed out that, "while Prof. Baum is now dedicating himself to cooperation projects between Israeli and Palestinian physicians through a charity in memory of his late brother, a group of GMC members persists in their stranglehold tactics against freedom of expression and electoral democracy, in violation of the GMC's own Guide to Good Medical Practice:
'Article 46: Respect for Colleagues:
You must treat your colleagues fairly and with respect.
You must not bully or harass them, or unfairly discriminate against them, by allowing your views to affect, adversely your professional relationships with them.
Article 47: You must not make malicious or unfounded criticisms of colleagues' age, colour, culture, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, lifestyle, marital or parental status, race, religion or beliefs, sex, sexual orientation or social or economic status.'"
The Centre urged Dr Philip "to condemn these abuses of the General Medical Council's good services and to investigate those behind the witch-hunt of Prof. Baum - whom they have shamefully called the 'Nazi Jewish doctor Baum'."
The Centre called for them "to be struck off by the GMC and be disqualified from further medical practice for their incitement to hate."
"Antisemitism - or any other form of bigotry - are inimical to the principles of the GMC and can have no place among the British medical community. As its ethical watchdog, the GMC's integrity must not be impugned", concluded Samuels.
The letter was shared with Dr Dana Hanson, 2009 President of the World Medical Association.
For further background, refer to the essay, "Michael Baum, The History of Anti-Semitism and Genocide and its Relevance to the Understanding and Solution of the Israel/ Palestinian Conflict".