A few positive developments have occurred over the past few weeks that are worth noting. For starters, due to the hard work of many of our colleagues at the Modern Language Association (MLA), the association voted by a significant margin to reject the call to boycott Israeli universities.
Consequently, MLA members voted 1,954 to 885 to “refrain from endorsing the boycott” of Israeli academic institutions advocated by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
Secondly, the British medical journal The Lancet published a special issue on health in Israel, outlining its achievements in striving for universal health coverage for its diverse population while a the same time acknowledging the challenges that remain as a result of the conflict.
Our colleague Prof. Mark Clarfield from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev was one of the driving forces behind the series. Clarfield states that, “Israel has made strong progress on health, but challenges remain…The slow, but increasing privatization of services, and stagnating national expenditure on health must be addressed so as to ensure the country is able to continue providing good quality health care for its citizens. Given that health care delivery and representation in the health professions represent areas of the greatest equality among population sectors in Israel, residual troublesome disparities in health outcomes among population and regional groups reflect inequalities in the socioeconomic underpinnings of health and well-being.”
Historically, the issue’s series of articles was imagined back 2014, after Lancet’s editor in chief Richard Horton published an open letter that accused Israel of a “massacre” in Gaza. Horton later wrote that he regretted the polarization it caused, but did not retract it.
As always, we welcome your feedback and article submissions.
Asaf Romirowsky, PhD