We are healers, health workers, and activists accompanying communities affected by state sanctioned violence in our collective struggle for health, dignity, and sovereignty. Health is a human right and as health workers we have a collective duty to eradicate systems of oppression which threaten that right.
-Do No Harm Coalition Manifesto
-Do No Harm Coalition Manifesto
We are a collective of physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers who recognize all state violence – such as the realities of settler colonialism– as an impediment to the health of the communities we serve, and ultimately, the health of all. We recognize the genocide that Israel is commiting against the people of Palestine, and we call for an immediate ceasefire and to end the occupation of Palestine.
We denounce the killings. At the time of this statement (October 29, 2023), there are 7,028 Palestinians killed, including 2,913 children since Israel started its rampage. It is estimated that thousands of children, elders and entire families are under the rubble. Israel has bombed clinics, homes, hospitals, schools, and even the designated “safe” zone in the South of Gaza. We denounce the US questioning of the number of casualties as documented by the Gaza Health Ministry, which has a long track record of accurate reporting.
We understand Zionism in its historic context: as a settler colonial project as defined by its founding ideologists. We understand that many peoples are Indigenous to this region, including Jewish people. Claims of Indigeneity do not sanctify colonialism and the ethnic cleansing of historic neighbors. We recognize the crimes against humanity that Israel has engaged in since its inception in 1948–from the program of depopulation of Palestinians from their ancestral villages–in the past and present, to poisoning their wells, to tearing up ancestral olive trees, to preventing food sovereignty, to the ongoing occupation of Palestine, with its open air prison, state-supported settler violence and apartheid state. We understand the impact of settler colonialism has led to health disparities where Palestinians suffer a greater burden of chronic disease in their homelands.
We reject Zionist strategies to silence criticism, erase historical framing, and label those who call for accountability for Israel’s violence as ‘anti-Semitic.’ We vehemently oppose any discrimination and denounce violence towards any group of people based on identity, including discrimination against Jews and Muslims. We see the fracturing of groups based on identity as a colonial tactic of divide and conquer. We understand that dynamics of coloniality will emphasize these divisions to maintain a world order based on militarism and capitalist accumulation of wealth. We work to build solidarity to advance liberation struggles to build a lasting peace.
We reject the fascist ideologies that were inspired by the genocide of the Native people of Turtle Island, committed by Europe and the US. These supremacist ideologies include White Nationalism, Nazism, Zionism and Hindutva. We witness how mass populations are dehumanized and harmed in these contexts. The word “Zionism” cannot be removed from its precise historic framing and foundations which involve land theft, ethnic cleansing, biological warfare, and brutal oppression of Palestinians in order to clear land for Israeli occupation and a society of Jewish supremacy. We believe Jewish people–and all people–deserve a homeland free from persecution, but not at the expense of persecuting others. We commend our Jewish colleagues who are active in the movement to create a lasting peace that upholds all ties to homeland with equal dignity, rights and honor, and invite others to join.
We call for the release of all hostages and political prisoners, including 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners, 5,200 of whom were arrested since October 7th. We denounce the longstanding practice of medical mistreatment and torture of Palestinians in Israeli confinement and the imprisonment of any children.
We denounce militarism and damaging our Mother Earth through the more than 6,000 bombs that have been dropped on the land in Gaza as well as the use of incendiary weapons such as white phosphorus.
We denounce religious fanaticism as a tool to whip populations into nationalist violence. Christian fervor decimated Indigenous people across the globe, and we are still recovering from that ongoing erasure. That violence came from settlers supported by the state, and we recognize Israeli settler violence and state violence as indistinguishable. We support spiritual practices that bring humanity together and rehumanize those who have been cast as undesirable.
We denounce the purposeful attacks on the healthcare system in Gaza, from bombing sites of healthcare delivery and the residences of physicians and nurses to the cutting off of food, electricity, fuel, medicine, water and other critical supplies needed for healthcare. We stand with the healthcare workers in Gaza who are being harmed and killed while tending to the wounded. Israel’s complete siege coupled with active air strikes has ensured debilitation of healthcare delivery, amplifying the enormity of human suffering. This is a violation of International Humanitarian Law. This is a tactic of genocide. Our colleagues in Gaza–with whom we communicate daily–are currently performing surgery without anesthesia, pain medication, antibiotics and critical care instruments needed to care for patients safely.
We denounce the US and Western Europe’s support of this genocide and see it through the long lens of state actors who historically use acts of mass violence with language of liberal democracy to justify their aggression. We name this charade and urge all people to push for liberation from militarism and state violence through disciplined organizing, principled struggle and building mass movements to end participation in this state sponsored violence.
We denounce the attacks on and intimidation of students, trainees, staff, and faculty at medical institutions who are speaking out against this genocide. It is our moral and professional obligation as a community committed to health to interrupt all acts of violence and to diagnose the cause.
We understand the root cause of this violence; we provide our prescription for a lasting peace. The diagnosis is settler colonialism. The treatment is decolonization.
We call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the occupation of Palestine. We call on all our elected officials to stop encouraging, supporting, and financing the genocide of the Palestinian people. We ask you to call your representatives to demand a ceasefire.
We urge people to get involved and support the BDS movement.
We recommend ongoing learning/unlearning in decolonization struggles.