News Release

Health Outcomes in Gaza


On May 21, a physician and author gave a talk at Harvard University on the health and human rights consequences of the war in Gaza. The presentation was sponsored by Harvard Divinity School, the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard, Healthcare Workers for Palestine, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard. 

    Rothchild is a retired OB-GYN, a filmmaker, and an activist. She serves on the Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council. 

Since the start of the war, Rothchild has given frequent talks on the health and human rights consequences of the Gaza war. Her next talk (virtual and in-person) is with Boston Workers Circle today, May 23. Rothchild calls on healthcare workers to work toward a ceasefire. “War is the most significant public health [hazard],” she said. “We are healthcare providers, so this is our job.” 

Rothchild told the Institute for Public Accuracy that her presentations have been “postponed indefinitely at Dartmouth Medical School and cancelled twice at Harvard.” Multiple sponsors from Harvard pulled out of the talk on May 21. Rothchild is offering this basic presentation for “community groups and at medical schools all over the country. [I go over] the predictions made in November by the London School of Hygiene [and Tropical Medicine], and then what actually happened––which is exactly what they predicted. I give the gory numbers, and [discuss] the impact of dismantling UNRWA and… cutting off humanitarian aid and closing Rafah. They’re going to starve to death, which is horrendous. As far as I can tell, this is a live-streamed genocide. I also give a history of what happened at Al-Shifa [Hospital] as an example of what happened to hospitals, which violates multiple international laws. I focus on pregnant women and newborns because they’re a particularly vulnerable group. 

“We knew this was going to happen. So the fact that we knew and then it happened is a failure on the part of the international community and the U.S., which provides [Israel] billions of dollars and political cover and weapons. 

“The powers that be are very threatened talking about the consequences of the war––which they wouldn’t be if [the war were in] Sudan or Central America or any other place––[and] are likely responding to donor pressure, administrative pressure, all the forces [trying] to control the messaging on this topic. They are all succumbing. They’re also afraid of being pulled in front of Congress. [This is] a real failure on the part of the institutions. 

“I am retired, but I have a retired Harvard appointment and worked in the medical school. I’m presenting actual facts from the UN, the WHO, and NGOs. I’m not making numbers up; this is all very data-based. But I also frame [the issue] in terms of settler colonialism and apartheid, since that’s the appropriate frame––and they don’t want to hear that. 

“The university’s position is to help people have safe conversations. I would think they would want to model that, but instead they’re modeling a McCarthyesque attitude. I’m glad I can say what I need to say and that we still have Zoom. People have a right to know this information. You need to go beyond mainstream media and Instagram posts, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of digging to get there.”