Royal Society of Medicine under organised pressure over Dr. Summerfield

Report by Derek Summerfield
Published: 08/10/07

Just as a point of information, no less than the venerable Royal Society of Medicine has been sustaining organised and persistent pressure and intimidation because I am speaking at a conference there on Oct 9 (the conference, organised months ago, is on Religion, Spirituality and Mental Health, and I am to speak on the role of health profs in conflict zones- using Is/Pal as main, but not only, example). The intimidation included threats that a challenge could be mounted to the RSM constitution- indeed its charitable status- if they allowed a “political” activist lacking balance etc etc to speak. The RSM Dean called an anti-semite for his pains. The RSM held firm but after 3 weeks of this decided that either I had to be asked to drop out or the whole conference cancelled. In the event, and after various discussions, the RSM are now trying to hold their nerve and carry on with everything as planned.

I’m sure this is unprecedented for a medically organised conference in UK, and certainly for the RSM, but is a reminder that the new McCarthyism evident in US- conferences, indeed whole universities threatened, lecturers dismissed, professors losing tenure etc as a result of organised and unbridled pressure brought to bear by pro-Israel groups- can grow here too.

The story may not be over. More anon.

On a completely different note, the campaigning journalist John Pilger has sent us a message of solidarity.

Cheers Derek S