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Ralph Nader > Special Features > Letter to Medical Societies on Gaza

March 1, 2024

Dear Medical Society leadership,

The feature article in Sunday’s Washington Post (Feb. 25, 2024) titled “A Gaza doctor’s fear: Displacement, detention or death” (In print as “Gaza’s Doctors Face Prospect of Israeli Detention”) by Miriam Berger and “Witness to Genocide: Doctors Describe Horrors in Gaza’s Hospitals” by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan are just a sample of the accurate reports reaching the American people regarding Israeli war crimes perpetrated against hospitals, health clinics, medical personnel, ambulances and injured, sick and dying defenseless civilians – two thirds of whom are children and women.

This campaign by the government of Israel is being carried out with U.S. weapons and U.S. taxpayer dollars. American physicians of great bravery have been doing harrowing tours of duty there.

Thus far your professional society has declined to join Doctors Without Borders, the American Public Health Association and the American Medical Student Association in calling for a permanent ceasefire and the immediate entry of crucial humanitarian aid into Gaza. The truck convoys of aid are being paid for by U.S. taxpayers, and President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are urging the Israeli government to permit them entry. Without a ceasefire, this aid, obstructed by the Israeli army, cannot reach the desperate Palestinians and their bombarded health care facilities and medical personnel.

You do not need to be reminded of the medical ethics and humanitarian principles which should oblige you to take a stand for your professional sisters and brothers risking or losing their lives in the midst of this unfolding genocide. We are enclosing an open letter to President Biden, sent December 13, 2023 by sixteen Israeli human rights groups, led by B’Tselem, titled “Re: The humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip.”

We are sending copies of this letter to interested parties and some government officials in the hope that they will urge you to speak out. Given the massive lethal conditions reported daily in the tiny Gaza Strip, history will judge your silence as a serious failure of professional duty and conscience.

Do not repeat the failure of the American Psychological Association in refusing to condemn President George W. Bush’s torture program for alleged terrorist detainees.

We welcome your response. We can do without any form letters you may have sent weeks ago to similar requests. As you well know, there is a huge undercount of casualties, with so many thousands of innocents lost under the rubble and mounting mortalities and injuries/diseases uncounted because of the scale of the destruction of civilian and public infrastructure.

We await your considered response.


Ralph Nader

Bruce Fein

Louis Fisher

Francesco DeSantis

RoseAnne DeMoro, Former Executive Director National Nurses United

Susan Rogers, MD, FACP, Former President Physicians for a National Health Program

Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH, MA (hon.Harvard), David U. Himmelstein, MD, FACP, Distinguished Professors, City University of New York, Lecturers in Medicine Harvard Medical School

This letter was sent to

The American Medical Association

The American College of Surgeons

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Academy of Family Physicians

The American Association for the Surgery of Trauma