[Note by Tom Gross]
The publication today by Israel's second highest circulation newspaper, Ma'ariv, in English, on its website, of the news that an unnamed French government official claims that an unnamed Jewish doctor treated Yasser Arafat in Paris, may turn out to be highly irresponsible.
Those of us who closely monitor the Arab media notice now many Arab publications scour Israeli media, in particular the English-language online versions of Ha'aretz and Ma'ariv, in order to reprint stories which can be used to portray Israel in a bad light. (Certain Ha'aretz journalists provide one of the main sources of Israel-bashing stories for the more extreme Arab media.)
This Ma'ariv story (copied below) will no doubt be picked up in the next few days by the Arab press, further fueling the baseless rumors that Arafat was poisoned by Israel.
Journalists on this email list, both those working for western and Middle Eastern publications, who intend to write about this, might like to bear in mind the following:
Unlike some people, who teach their children to grow up to become suicide bombers, Jewish parents often encourage their children to go into medicine to save lives, and therefore it comes as little surprise that one of the team of leading French medical experts who treated Arafat may have been Jewish.
Jewish doctors have a long tradition worldwide of tending the sick, whoever they may be, as well as making world-class breakthroughs in medicine, for the benefit of all mankind – even though academics in London and elsewhere are presently campaigning to ban Israeli doctors and Israeli Nobel prize winning scientists.
-- Tom Gross
[With thanks to Ben Green for his research assistance.]
FRENCH JEWISH DOCTOR TREATED ARAFAT IN PARIS
French Jewish doctor treated Arafat in Paris
By Or Heler, Paris
December 15, 2004
A senior French government official told Maariv. Associates of the doctor said that despite his loyalty to Israel, he refused to divulge information to Israeli officials.
A French Jewish doctor was one of the senior physicians who treated Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, while he was admitted at the French military hospital south of Paris, a senior French government official has revealed.
The doctor was updated about Arafat's condition even when the Palestinian leader was still at the Mukata in Ramallah. He was also one of the doctors who were summoned to Arafat's bed in the night when the PA chairman dove into an irreversible coma.
"He was called to treat Arafat because of his qualifications, as every different specialist made his own diagnosis", the source told Ma'ariv. "However, it is a sensitive matter that should not be discussed at length".
The doctor asked not to be identified, close associates of the doctor said. They added that despite his Jewish identity, his loyalty to the State of Israel and his wish to assist Israel in any way he can, he refused to divulge any information on Arafat's condition to Israeli officials.