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Anti-Israel Doctor Who Claims To ‘Abhor Violence’ Seems to Have Compared Oct 7 to Ukrainian Resistance

The Sydney Morning Herald has published an op-ed by Dr Kate Ahmad, a Sydney neurologist “with involvement in human rights and environmental advocacy.” In it, she responds to the disturbing incident of the doxxing of more than 600 Jewish-Australian academics, artists and others – and the resultant promise of new laws to prohibit doxxing – by complaining she and some of her colleagues were doxxed for supporting “Palestine.”

Being a doctor committed to medical ethics, to international humanitarian law, and having a responsibility to ease human suffering, I, of course, want this horrific conflict to end, in line with international medical organisations including Medecins Sans Frontieres, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Population Fund. And so I devote my time to advocacy for Palestinians.

I work with Doctors for Palestine, a group of doctors that has grown to 900 members, to push for a ceasefire, to increase aid, to reject violence as a solution, and to recognise the rights of the Palestinian people to freedom and autonomy. We use the legal means at our disposal to push for these goals. We write and have petitions tabled, we attend rallies, we organise vigils, we meet politicians. We support each other in our grief at the loss of human life, culture and security.

We set up this group as talk of Palestine was being banned in our usual medical Facebook groups, or posts about grief or fundraising were being attacked by pro-Israel doctors. The group became an important place for solidarity, the sharing of information and fundraising, events and open letters. I am one of the admins of the group and we do not allow antisemitism or calls for doxxing or targeted harassment.

Trying to be a force for human rights while holding down a full-time job, raising children and processing the news from Palestine is difficult. Still, we do not question our advocacy – it shouldn’t be controversial to oppose violence and to want international law to be upheld.

So it was a shock when, several days before Christmas, I received screenshots of an Instagram page with a photo featuring myself, my husband and a member of the Palestinian community. This post named me, my place and roles of work, and implied that I wasn’t safe to work with Jewish junior doctors and patients. Comments on the post, some from fellow healthcare professionals, suggested I supported Hamas.

Another screenshot posted was one taken out of context from a series of posts I made criticising Israel’s prison system, in which I referred to the thousands of people arrested without charge since the October 7 attack – many of them women, children and elderly – as “Palestinian hostages”. This was presented as if I believed the terrorists who enacted the massacre were “hostages”. The post included a photo of me with my child, their face obscured by a bunny rabbit emoji. I was described as “disgusting” and “horrendous”. As a doctor, I abhor violence against any human – including the more than 1100 people, mostly civilians, killed on October 7. Stopping such violence is the point of my advocacy.

This Instagram page had “profiles” of many of my colleagues and published “stories” where obscene language was used against doctors advocating for the Palestinian cause. Many posts included screenshots obtained from our private Facebook group. We reported the page to Instagram’s parent company Meta, but it was not considered to be against community standards. It continues to be available for public viewing.

I have been featured repeatedly. They use photos of my family and private life lifted from social media. I am called a racist, a Nazi, an antisemite. My workplace and AHPRA, the body responsible for the accreditation of health professionals, are repeatedly tagged. Many comments have suggested my medical licence should be taken away. I have been reported to the Health Care Complaints Commission for my Palestinian advocacy – thankfully, the complaint was dismissed.

The abuse and doxxing of my colleagues followed a similar pattern. Some were notified of complaints to the regulator more than two months ago and are still dealing with the anxiety of not having the complaint finalised.

Some doctors have had threats made to their workplaces; some have received workplace complaints. Many are frightened and have been silenced. All of us are anxious every day about our photos, identifying details and horrific commentary remaining online for anyone to see. We just want the doxxing to stop – neither we nor any member of the Jewish community deserves this treatment.

We have been trying to get assistance with this situation for over two months. Police, AHPRA, politicians, the eSafety Commissioner, and the Australian Human Rights Commission have all been informed. Nobody was able to do anything substantive to assist us.

Imagine, then, how confusing it was to see our prime minister immediately pushing for doxxing law changes in response to the release of the WhatsApp transcript involving 600 people, most of them from the Jewish community. It was shocking to see that the rights of some members of our community seemed more important than others.

We are motivated by our pain at the human suffering in Palestine. This group is not about bullying, harassing or doxxing any person – we don’t have time; the situation in Gaza requires relentless activism directed towards political change, aid, and up-to-date awareness. We don’t want to be distracted by attacks on our character, all of which are untrue and unfounded, yet we recognise the damage that has been done.

We are all scared to some degree, and some are silenced now. Some have sustained irreversible damage to their career progression and professional reputation. Our struggles are barely worth mentioning in the context of an active genocide, but it remains alarming that they were not seen until raised by those defending Israel.

I have not seen the account that supposedly doxxed the doctor and her colleagues, nor have I seen the posts of hers in question. But I did have a look at her Instagram account. And what struck me – besides the constant stream of posts unjustly accusing Israel of genocide and the like – was her reaction to the events of October 7.

Before that fateful days, her posts were mainly related to animals. Then there was a post on Oct 8, followed by an animal post, and then another post related the conflict.

This was what Dr Ahmad posted on October 8, a day after the Hamas massacre:

Screenshot in case deleted

A reasonable person could see this as an endorsement of Hamas’ actions as legitimate “resistance.” True, she writes “no more violence”, but this seems to me to be a call for Israel to not respond. The post certainly seems to make a mockery of her claim in the op-ed that “As a doctor, I abhor violence against any human – including the more than 1100 people, mostly civilians, killed on October 7. Stopping such violence is the point of my advocacy.” If this was the case, how come she did not condemn Hamas’ actions, but rather seemed to compare them to Ukrainian-like resistance? Her post seems more a criticism of people’s condemnation of Hamas than anything else.

Also, if she truly abhors all violence and grieves at the loss of human life, why does this seem confined to that affecting palestinian Arabs only? Where are the posts grieving over the murdered Israelis? Where are the posts calling for Hamas to release the innocent civilian hostages?

And while I did not see any overt antisemitism in her posts (at least the ones I went over), she did make the false claim that footage from the infamous Sydney protest of October was doctored to falsely depict “Gas the Jews” being chanted (police specifically ruled out any doctoring, and the protest had plenty of other antisemitic chants even if you accept this particular one was not there, itself a contentious point).

Screenshot in case deleted

I certainly would not feel comfortable with Dr Ahmad as my doctor, especially if she knew I was pro-Israel. And while I condemn anyone threatening her or her family or even posting about her family, I do believe it is in the public interest to expose what she posted on October 8 and let people make up their own minds about her fitness as their potential health provider.

Updates

19/2/24 7:00: Reader S sent me this screenshot of Ahmad posting to her Instagram story a justification for October 7:

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