NATIONAL NEWS

A nurse honored for compassion is fired after referring in speech to Gaza ‘genocide’

May 29, 2024, 10:45 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — A nurse was fired by a New York City hospital after she referred to Israel’s war in Gaza as “genocide” during a speech accepting an award.

Labor and delivery nurse Hesen Jabr, who is Palestinian American, was being honored by NYU Langone Health for her compassion in caring for mothers who had lost babies when she drew a link between her work and the suffering of mothers in Gaza.

“It pains me to see the women from my country going through unimaginable losses themselves during the current genocide in Gaza,” Jabr said, according to a video of the May 7 speech that she posted on social media. ”This award is deeply personal to me for those reasons.”

Hesen wrote on Instagram that she arrived at work on May 22 for her first shift back after receiving the award when she was summoned to a meeting with the hospital’s president and vice president of nursing “to discuss how I ‘put others at risk’ and ‘ruined the ceremony’ and ‘offended people’ because a small part of my speech was a tribute towards the grieving mothers in my country.”

She wrote that after working most of her shift she was “dragged once again to an office” where she was read her termination letter and then escorted out of the building.

A spokesperson for NYU Langone, Steve Ritea, confirmed that Jabr was fired following her speech and said there had been “a previous incident as well.”

“Hesen Jabr was warned in December, following a previous incident, not to bring her views on this divisive and charged issue into the workplace,” Mr. Ritea said in a statement. “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. As a result, Jabr is no longer an NYU Langone employee.”

Ritea did not provide any details of the previous incident.

Jabr defended her speech in an interview with The New York Times and said talking about the war “was so relevant” given the nature of the award she had won.

“It was an award for bereavement; it was for grieving mothers,” she said.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health says that more than 36,000 people have been killed in the territory during the war that started with the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. Around 80% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million has been displaced and U.N. officials say parts of the territory are experiencing famine.

Critics say Israel’s military campaign amounts to genocide, and the government of South Africa formally accused the country of genocide in January when it asked the United Nations’ top court to order a halt to Israeli military operations in Gaza.

Israel has denied the genocide charge and told the International Court of Justice it is doing everything it can to protect Gaza’s civilian population.

Jabr is not the first employee at the hospital, which was renamed from NYU Medical Center after a major donation from Republican Party donor and billionaire Kenneth Langone, to be fired over comments about the Mideast conflict.

A prominent researcher who directed the hospital’s cancer center was fired after he posted anti-Hamas political cartoons including caricatures of Arab people. That researcher, biologist Benjamin Neel, has since filed suit against the hospital.

Jabr’s firing also was not her first time in the spotlight. When she was an 11-year-old in Louisiana, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on her behalf after she was forced to accept a Bible from the principal of her public school.

“This is not my first rodeo,” she told the Times.

National News

Image: With protesters in the audience, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun takes his seat to testify before th...

Associated Press

Boeing CEO apologizes to relatives of 737 Max crash victims, defends firm’s safety record

Lawmakers grilled the Boeing CEO about the firm's plans to fix its manufacturing issues and its willingness to heed whistleblowers' warnings.

46 minutes ago

Associated Press

Man who followed woman into her NYC apartment and stabbed her to death pleads guilty to murder

NEW YORK (AP) — A man pleaded guilty to murder on Tuesday for stabbing a woman to death after following her from the street into her lower Manhattan apartment building. Assamad Nash, 27, also pleaded guilty to burglary as a sexually motivated felony in the Feb. 13, 2022, attack on 35-year-old Christina Yuna Lee. “Today […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Vermont lawmaker apologizes for repeatedly pouring water in her colleague’s bag

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A Republican state lawmaker from Vermont has apologized for repeatedly pouring water into a Democratic colleague’s bag, after he caught her doing it on video. State Rep. Mary Morrissey publicly apologized to state Rep. Jim Carroll, colleagues and the citizens of Vermont from the House floor on Monday. Both are from […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Google to invest another $2.3 billion into Ohio data centers

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Google will invest an additional $2.3 billion to support three data center campuses in central Ohio, the company announced Tuesday. The tech giant has centers in New Albany and Lancaster and one under construction in Columbus to help power its services such as search, Gmail, maps, cloud and YouTube for users […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Massachusetts suffers statewide outage of its 911 services

BOSTON (AP) — The 911 system across Massachusetts went down Tuesday afternoon, making it impossible for anyone to reach emergency services. “The State 911 Department is aware of a disruption to the 911 system and is investigating the cause,” the state’s Office of Public Safety and Security said in a statement. Boston Police Commissioner Michael […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

15-year-old girl shot to death hours before her middle school graduation, authorities say

LOWELL, Mass. (AP) — A 21-year-old man has been arrested and charged with fatally shooting a 15-year-old girl hours before she was scheduled to attend her middle school graduation in Massachusetts, authorities said. Not guilty pleas were entered in court Tuesday on behalf of Trevor Bady. He was arraigned on charges of of murder, armed […]

4 hours ago

A nurse honored for compassion is fired after referring in speech to Gaza ‘genocide’