Medical professionals under attack from Zionist witch-hunters in Australia: A conversation with Dr Zewlan Moor

The World Socialist Web Site spoke last week with Dr Zewlan Moor, a Queensland general practitioner, about the ongoing doxxing and victimisation of medical practitioners by Zionist organisations amid the Israeli assault on Gaza.

Dr Zewlan Moor with one of her books. [Photo by @fotofox]

Moor, who is also a children’s book author (Nothing Alike and The Bill Dup), was one of scores of doctors and other health workers targeted by these pro-war elements for speaking out against Israel’s murderous ethnic-cleansing operation. At least 39 health workers are currently being investigated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) after being falsely accused of antisemitism.

The Albanese Labor government aggressively supports Israel’s genocidal attacks in Gaza and is fully aware of the victimisations of the pro-Palestine health workers. Its close relations with the pro-Zionist lobby in Australia and its pro-Israel rhetoric provide a fertile breeding ground for the anti-democratic assaults on medical practitioners.

Confronting deep-seated opposition to its unwavering support for Israel, the Labor government last week seized on the public exposure of the activities of “J.E.W.I.S.H Australian creatives and academics,” a secret WhatsApp group that targets and threaten the careers and livelihoods of public figures opposing the Gaza genocide.

Labor has falsely and hysterically deemed the exposure of this group as “antisemitic” and is currently preparing so-called “anti-doxxing” laws.

Whatever their final form, these laws will be used, not against the online Zionist bullies, but pro-Palestinian activists who expose the witch-hunting activities of these reactionary formations. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus told the Age newspaper yesterday that the new laws will criminalise doxxing and result in jail time for those charged and found guilty.

On January 17, a meeting of the Health Workers Rank-and-File Committee in Australia unanimously passed a resolution pledging to defend the victimised medical practitioners and to alert other health workers in Australia and internationally about this serious attack on basic democratic rights.

Dr Moor’s edited interview is a contribution to this campaign.

The WSWS has already published support statements from the Health Workers Action Committee in Sri Lanka, NHS Fightback in Britain, the convenor of the Pathology Rank-and-File Workers group in Australia, the Australian and New Zealand Doctors for Palestine organisation and individual doctors, nurses, and medical scientists in Australia. The HWRFC urges all medical practitioners to speak out against the victimisation of their colleagues and to send statements and letters of support here.

Richard Phillips: Why did you decide to speak out against the Gaza genocide and what have been the consequences for you?

Dr Zewlan Moor: Being able to speak out against genocide is a democratic right and should be a bipartisan issue. In fact, it’s a duty and obligation for citizens of countries that are signatories to the Genocide Convention to point out if another country is not abiding by international law and the rules of the Convention.

I believe it’s a political responsibility to do this in order to uphold international law and to remind Australia and its government of its responsibilities. What is going on in Gaza are war crimes. If our government has now decided that it doesn’t believe in the principles of the Genocide Convention and will not fight for them, then they should not be signatories any longer.

RP: Were you shocked when you heard about what had happened to doctors and other colleagues who had opposed the Gaza genocide?

ZM: Yes, I was surprised, but then discovered after someone contacted me, that I’d also been doxxed and was featured with others on the “notmydoctor48” social media page, one of the main pro-Israel harassment groups. The account basically used some of our social media posts, often taking our comments out of context or even doctoring posts to look as if we had said something we had not. Then they added a caption of damaging and false allegations of antisemitism, alongside calls for action against us.

These calls for action were “reminders” that people could make complaints against doctors via AHPRA, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. There were prompts to report us to AHPRA, stating that Jewish patients would not feel safe seeing us.

The pro-Zionist "notmydoctor1948" published this image of Dr Moor, including her regional location in Queensland. The group falsely accused her of antisemitism, along with calls for her to be reported to AHPRA and sent to Gaza. [Photo: Instagram]

Claims that our statements were antisemitic are false. Our comments were anti-apartheid, anti-genocide and anti-fascist. We were simply expressing our opposition to the Israeli state’s war crimes and its apartheid policies.

There was no antisemitic content, but instead we’ve been harassed, accused of being terrorist supporters and had threats made against our families. We’ve also been threatened with deregistration. This has happened while some of our colleagues, who are Palestinians, are grieving over the loss of family members.

Several doctors have been featured many times on the account’s different iterations. Although I appeared quite late, there are others who have been fighting against this since December. When I originally saw the post about me, it was on a public page. They have now made it private after complaints made to the media. Initially it was not as openly defamatory of me, but it was still disturbing and I’ve been subjected to continuous trolling. A more recent post on the private page was doctored and implied that I held bigoted views aligned with “Jewish cabal” conspiracy theories. This is completely incorrect.

A group of anti-Zionist Jews called the Jewish Council of Australia, including a lawyer, have begun speaking out for Palestine. This is a very courageous and important thing to do, so I responded in support of one of their posts on their Instagram page “jewishcouncil.” Within an hour the “notmydoctor1948” platform had replied to me with a very personal remark, more or less telling me to shut up.

The “jewishcouncil” account has hidden those comments but I am happy to provide the details. It’s important for people to know what’s going on with the incredible energy and unremitting nature of this trolling because the mainstream media is still favourably biased towards these groups and what they’re doing. They are reported as “support groups,” but they’re actually quite malicious and focussed on ruining people’s livelihoods for their advocacy for human rights.

One example of the sort of threatening responses sent to doctors: This sinister and potentially criminal comment was posted underneath a photo of Dr Moor’s son on one of her social media pages. [Photo: Instagram]

RP: Can you speak about the leaking of the chat transcript from the J.E.W.I.S.H. creatives and artists WhatsApp group and the government’s response?

ZM: First of all, I want to be clear that I have a lot of empathy for the Jewish people and the persecution they have suffered, and I hope that I would have been one of the people to speak up against their genocide during the Holocaust. Second of all, I condemn the actions of Hamas on October 7 and look forward to an appropriate investigation and trial of the perpetrators at the International Criminal Court. However, I am aware that their actions need to be understood in the context of a more than 75-year history of colonial displacement, illegal occupation and apartheid. Also, I agree with many international law and humanitarian agencies that the retaliation of the Israeli state against Palestinian civilians has been disproportionate and has violated international law.

While the Sydney Morning Herald wrote about the leaking of the J.E.W.I.S.H. creatives and academics group chat, its story was completely biased and suggested that the members of the WhatsApp group were being subjected to antisemitic persecution. It makes out the group is a support group for Jewish creatives who were feeling vulnerable after October 7. This is just not the case.

I’ve read a lot of the transcript—it’s very long—and it’s scary and very focussed. One of the chats explains how to use a special app where you can upload links from people’s social media posts, give them a green tick as antisemitic, according to their false definition, and this information is then relayed straight to the Israeli Secret Service.

This is like McCarthyism and just unbelievable, but according to the Sydney Morning Herald, these people have been victimised and outed and this is a violation of their privacy. I just can’t believe the bias in this article. Many of the people in the group signed an open letter making clear what their aims were, so their names are already public. Anyone who hears about this issue and Googles it will end with the Sydney Morning Herald version of the story, which means they’ll have a very biased view of what the WhatsApp group is really doing.

You can see how these groups work and how they forced the journalist Antoinette Lattouf out of her job at the ABC. She was targeted in a highly organised operation by the so-called Lawyers for Israel group. It had links to people in very high places—in ABC management and elsewhere—and could get things done very quickly.

Everyone knows that Israel is committing war crimes in Gaza. We know that it’s a war crime to target civilians, including doctors, health workers and hospitals. Doctors and health workers are being killed because Israel doesn’t want the Palestinian health system to recover.

Journalists are being targeted in Gaza to prevent the truth being communicated. They are being killed at a rate of one in ten, compared to the one in a hundred rate for the general civilian population. Writers and academics and their families are being targeted for their political beliefs.

All this is happening in Gaza for all the world to see but Israel and its supporters don’t want the truth of this getting out. And that’s the situation here. We are not being killed but Israel and its supporters here in Australia are trying to silence doctors and health workers because we have a certain authority in the community.

RP: What do you think about the silence of all the medical associations and the health workers unions to this genocide, and their refusal to defend you and your colleagues?

ZM: I’m very disappointed that they haven’t supported us or our healthcare colleagues in Gaza, but I can’t say that I’m shocked. They just go along with what the mainstream media and the government says without any critical analysis or any awareness of the history of the situation.

Palestinians bury the bodies of people who were killed by the Israeli military, during a mass funeral in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. [AP Photo/Fatima Shbair]

All this basic information about the situation in Gaza and the West Bank can be gleaned by reading a couple of reports. It is all freely available in official material from organisations like Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem and Amnesty International, or by listening to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories Francesca Albanese’s address to the National Press Club of Australia. The history can be gleaned from YouTube interviews with historians, such as Rashid Khalidi and Norman Finkelstein, and journalists, such as Gideon Levy and Antony Loewenstein. Three out of four of these are Israeli or Jewish themselves.

The AMA and the health unions are not doing anything to educate their members or counteract all the government and media lies. People who are seeing the truth from eyewitness accounts on the ground are protesting all over the world against the Gaza genocide—they don’t agree with it. But for many Westerners there are barriers due to media indoctrination and often unacknowledged implicit biases, including anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia. The false conflation of antisemitism and anti-Zionism is also a deliberate barrier to stifle criticism of Israeli state policies. The general public needs to be told the truth. That’s why I appreciate what you and other independent media are doing.