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Palestinian American nurse fired after calling Gaza conflict ‘genocide’

NYU Langone Health cited a prior warning given to Jabr in December, advising her not to bring her political views into the workplace.

Hesen Jabr, a Palestinian American Muslim nurse, was terminated from her position at NYU Langone Health after calling Israel’s actions in Gaza a “genocide” during an acceptance speech. Jabr, who worked in the labor and delivery department, received an award on May 7 for her efforts with bereaved mothers who lost their children during pregnancy and childbirth. Her remarks, which highlighted the personal connection she felt due to the conflict affecting women in her home country, led to her dismissal later in the month.

Hospital’s Stance on Workplace Views

NYU Langone Health cited a prior warning given to Jabr in December, advising her not to bring her political views into the workplace. The hospital spokesperson stated that Jabr was cautioned not to discuss the highly charged and divisive issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during work-related events. Despite this warning, Jabr chose to voice her perspective at a widely attended employee recognition event, resulting in her termination.

Read More: Israel reveals when it plans to end war in Gaza

Speech Highlights Gaza’s Humanitarian Crisis

In her acceptance speech, Jabr emphasized the deep personal impact the Gaza conflict had on her. She spoke about the loss and suffering of women in Gaza, drawing parallels to the bereaved mothers she worked with in her professional capacity. “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, which she later posted online.

Impact on the NYU Langone Community

The hospital’s decision to terminate Jabr has sparked discussions about the boundaries of free speech and professional conduct within the workplace. The spokesperson noted that Jabr’s comments had upset some of her colleagues, reflecting the contentious nature of the topic. The hospital emphasized the importance of maintaining a neutral and respectful environment, especially on issues that can deeply divide staff and patients.

Ongoing Conflict and Broader Implications

The conflict in Gaza, which escalated following an attack by the militant group Hamas on Israel in October, has resulted in significant loss of life and displacement. According to local health authorities, over 36,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the conflict began. The war has also exacerbated humanitarian crises, including widespread hunger and displacement affecting nearly the entire population of 2.3 million in the coastal enclave.

Read More: Israel has ‘operational control’ over Gaza’s border with Egypt – IDF

The ongoing violence has led to increased instances of Islamophobia and antisemitism globally, including within the United States. Demonstrations and debates over the conflict have intensified, reflecting deep-seated divisions and strong emotions surrounding the issue. Jabr’s case highlights the challenges faced by individuals and institutions in navigating these complex and sensitive topics in professional settings.

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