Sir Michael Marmot – President of the WMA – Colluding in Israeli Torture
Letter from Sir Michael Marmiot to IMA Confirming a Refusal to Examine Evidence of Torture
The World Medical Association Supports the
Israeli Medical Association’s Endorsement of Torture
Like the CIA’s
doctors, who oversaw the physical and psychological torture of detainees,  Israel’s doctors have, for a very long time, been integrally involved in the
torture of Palestinian prisoners.  The
Israeli Medical Association has been actively complicit in protecting
them.  Their response to those who accuse
them of a gross dereliction of their duty is to accuse them of ‘lies’.  At no stage has the IMA investigated the
involvement of Israeli doctors in the torture and ill-treatment of
prisoners.  They routinely refuse to
accept the testimony of Palestinians who have been tortured and they are quite
explicit about this.
Dr Derek Summerfield
and Dr Chris Burns Cox and 69 other doctors wrote to the World Medical
Association recently asking them to take up the issue of torture in Israel and
the complicity of the IMA.  The
correspondence below shows that once again, the WMA have refused to investigate
the matter despite copious evidence having been submitted to them.
The only conclusion
one can draw is that the WMA is deliberately turning a blind eye to the
involvement of Israeli doctors in the torture of detainees, in much the same way as
they have been complicit in the involvement of American doctors in CIA torture.
Tony Greenstein
Israeli Medical Association – Covers Up for Torture in Israel
 2 Feb 2016
Dear Sir Michael Marmot

We write as lead signatory and convenor on behalf of 69 other UK medical
signatories. Barely 2 weeks ago we submitted to you as WMA President a
substantive evidence-based case on the systemic complicity with torture of
WMA-member the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) and individual Israeli doctors
attached to interrogation units. We received a brief email from you on the 18th
January to say “I did receive your letter and have forwarded it
“.  We sent the dossier to your UK academic address because of our
experiences in the past with the WMA secretariat, who had never responded and
had simply shielded the IMA.

We and others observing the WMA on this issue are staggered to see a letter
written by you (and attached here for other parties) dated 25 January- just 7
days after your emailed acknowledgement of receipt- to Dr Shimon Samuels,
Director for International Relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. In it you
appear to offer unconditional exoneration of the IMA. You write that when the
WMA has asked the IMA to respond to allegations in the past, “investigations
have revealed no wrong doing or mishandling of the cases by the Israeli Medical
.” Naturally, when asked the IMA would say this, which is why
we call for a transparent examination by neutral parties. See attachment 2
(part of our submission 2 weeks ago) for an example of an IMA ‘investigation’,
which was no more than a blanket refusal to even consider the testimonies of
Palestinian detaineees. 

Israeli Hospital Mt. Scopus
You go on to say to the Wiesenthal Centre that “we
have trust that our Israeli colleagues will stand firm on our values and the
protection of human rights. They have repeatedly affirmed their commitment to
the policies and positions taken by the WMA
“. The IMA have indeed
repeatedly affirmed such things but the evidence says that actual practice is
otherwise, and consistently so over many years. You then go on to say that the
IMA are against force feeding, which has nothing to do with our case. 
letter has been widely quoted on the Internet as a rejection of our case and
affirmation of the probity of the IMA. You appear to endorse Dr Zeev Feldman,
chairman of the IMA World Fellowship who told a Knesset Science and Technology
Committee last week that our charges were “lies“. We also note that
Dr Feldman misrepresented us as claiming that Israeli doctors carried out
medical torture” (sic), a strategic move no doubt since this
conjures up a fantastical and inherently unbelievable image.
A medic looks at blood stain of a Palestinian man who was killed by Israeli undercover forces during a raid at Al-Ahly hospital in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on November 12, 2015. (Reuters)

Your email acknowledgement to us that you had forwarded our dossier to the WMA
secretariat appears to make it clear that there has been no examination of the
evidence we submitted (much of it from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, an
exemplary body) of any kind has taken place. Did you  read the evidence?
You make no mention of due process and indeed we would ask you to tell us what
the due process is in this situation, given that the WMA is mandated to ensure
its members are not themselves in violation of its tenets- in this case the
anti-torture Declaration of Tokyo. We are in the era of evidence-based medicine
yet the evidence we attached cannot have been examined properly in a few
days.  You have instantly accorded the Israeli Medical Association the
support and approval of the WMA, and of yourself as its President. This puts
the WMA itself in collusion with these practices. We find this extraordinary.
We are looking to you as a medical academic of international standing to offer
the moral leadership that would change all this.

Israeli Doctors Collude in Torture

 WMA affirmation of the IMA strengthens its will to maintain the policy position
(unconditional support for the State in all its actions) they have held for
many years; you are endorsing the appalling ethical example the IMA offers
individual Israeli doctors posted to interrogation units; you are bolstering
the impunity which interrogators enjoy in their treatment of Palestinian
detainees.  Physicians of Human Rights-Israel have long said that if
Israeli doctors were withdrawn from interrogation units, torture as state
policy in Israeli could not continue.  The nearby presence of doctors confers
moral and medical legitimacy on what is happening in the interrogation rooms.

A brief reminder of some of the evidence we attach:

In the November 2008 annual report to the UN Committee Against Torture, the UAT
Coalition, a coalition of 14 Israeli and Palestinian human rights
organisations, concluded that “since the Committee last reviewed Israel,
the practice of torture and ill-treatment has continued unabated.  The UAT
Coalition wishes to inform the Committee that in its opinion the use of torture
and ill-treatment by Israeli authorities against Palestinians is both
widespread and systematic.  The UAT Coalition has recorded evidence of
acts, omissions and complicities by agents of the State at all levels…..until
this culture of impunity is addressed this situation is unlikely to

Secondly, in  “Doctoring the Evidence, Abandoning the Victim: the
Involvement of Medical Professionals in Torture and Ill-treatment in Israel
(2011), the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel/Physicians for Human
Rights-Israel conclude that “there are serious doubts that the IMA is
willing to enforce these rules: persistently repeated requests by PCATI/PHRI
calling the IMA’s attention to cases arousing suspicion of doctors’ involvement
in torture and cruel or degrading treatment, have not been dealt with
   PCATI/PHRI note that the IMA’s ethical code
contains clauses which do not accord with the fundamental principle of medical
ethics, which is that the well-being of the patient should be the doctor’s sole
concern.  IMA codes require the doctor to respect “the good of
society as a whole and its right to protect itself
“, authorising the
doctor to assist the security authorities upon their request, even when this
may harm the rights of the patient….  “With these clauses, the IMA
enables the needs of the security apparatus to be seen as coming before the
ethical duties of doctors”.
  Detailed case studies follow, outlined
by us in our submission.

We ask you please to confirm to us, and to the editors of the BMJ, and Lancet,
that you will institute a due process to examine the evidence in a matter of
such gravity for the moral reputation of the medical profession, the WMA and
indeed yourself.

Yours sincerely
Dr Chris Burns-Cox, lead signatory
Dr Derek Summerfield, convenor.
And 69 other UK doctors.

Subject: Re: our evidence-based submission on collusion of
IMA/Israeli drs on torture
below further submission to WMA President, concerned with transparency of
process within WMA.
IMA Response to Accusations of Endorsement of Torture – Note the Refusal to Accept the Evidence of Prisoners Who Have Been Tortured Even Though Torture is Now Accept as Standard Interrogation Procedure by Shin Bet
                                                                                                                                                    26 Jan 2016
Sir Michael Marmot
you for your acknowledgement of receipt of our submission backed by 71 UK
doctors (the WMA at no time acknowledged our 2009 submission!). We trust you
also received the newly published paper on sexual torture sent a few days later
as an addition to the archive of evidence to which we point.
are writing regarding the matter of due process at the WMA. We are concerned
that since the IMA is the accused party, they should not be allowed to take
over, manage or divert the due process of examination which the WMA is mandated
to institute. We say this because on a previous occasion 4 years ago, when we
had eventually got the BMA to raise the issue of Israeli doctors and torture at
the WMA, the IMA responded by saying that this was an internal Israeli matter
and they would address it when back home. Nothing of course happened. It is
scandalous that they were allowed to get away from this. We are concerned to
note from an article in the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post of 20 January 2016
(see link below) that Dr Zeev Feldman, stated to be chairman of the IMA World
Fellowship, told a Knesset Science and Technology Committee that the evidence
against the IMA/Israeli doctors regarding torture was “lies“, and
that “we are engaged in a dialogue with the WMA……” The UK medical
signatories are expecting a transparent process conducted at WMA by parties
with no vested interests, parties who owe no loyalty to the IMA and will
soberly examine the evidence we submitted, and we look to you as President to
ensure this. We would appreciate your reassurance on this count.
Feldman betrays more than he intended, which is the fixed and deeply unethical
position the IMA has held for many years on this matter. The evidence he is
calling “lies” comes from the Israeli nongovernmental organisation
Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), and the IMA  has been perfectly
well aware of the publication and dissemination of “Doctoring the Evidence,
Abandoning the Victim”
since 2011. It carries rigorously documented and named
cases (summarised in our submission) and even the names of some of the Israeli
doctors who dealt with these detainees in ways that obviously violate the WMA
Declaration of Tokyo. It is an ethically exemplary piece of work: if such work
counts as insufficient evidence, then no evidence anywhere in the world could
ever count and the international regulation of medical ethics is a dead letter.
The IMA will not act on such evidence because their longstanding position is to
support and shield Israeli government policy, even when this is torture. Thus
their pre-determined position is that documentation proving the use of torture
and complicity of doctors and the IMA must be slated from the outset as
lies” (and when originating from an organisation outside Israel-
like Amnesty or Defence of the Child International- as ‘anti-semitic’ lies).
This has been going on for decades. The IMA condemns itself out of its own
are copying this to Hadas Ziv of PHRI, and to the editors of the BMJ and The
Chris Burns-Cox, lead signatory
Derek Summerfield, convenor
behalf of 69 other UK medical signatories).