Muslim nurse in New York fired after calling Israel’s war in Gaza ‘genocide’


By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A New York City hospital fired a Palestinian American Muslim nurse after she called Israel’s war in Gaza a “genocide” during an acceptance speech for an award for her work with bereaved mothers who lost their children during pregnancy and childbirth.

A spokesperson of the hospital, NYU Langone Health, said on Thursday that labor and delivery nurse Hesen Jabr had previously been warned not to bring her views “on this divisive and charged issue into the workplace.”

Jabr posted on Instagram that she was awarded on May 7, when she made her remarks, adding that she was handed a termination letter later in the month.

In a portion of her acceptance speech, she spoke about mothers who had lost babies during the war in Gaza, saying the award was “deeply personal” to her.

“It pains me to see the women from my country going through unimaginable losses themselves during the current genocide in Gaza,” Jabr said in the video of her speech that she posted online.

The hospital’s spokesperson in an email said Jabr had been warned in December, “following a previous incident, not to bring her views on this divisive and charged issue into the workplace.

“She instead chose not to heed that at a recent employee recognition event that was widely attended by her colleagues, some of whom were upset after her comments,” the spokesperson said without providing details about the earlier incident.

“As a result, Jabr is no longer an NYU Langone employee.”

Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza has left over 36,000 dead in the past eight months, the local health ministry says. The war has also caused widespread hunger in the narrow coastal enclave and displaced nearly its entire 2.3 million population.

The conflict, which has led to rising Islamophobia and antisemitism and widespread demonstrations in the U.S. and elsewhere, began when the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which governs Gaza, attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 and taking more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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