The appointment of Donald Berwick, who is heavily involved in the anti-Israel Physicians for Human Rights organization, was made without going through the usual process of securing confirmation by the Senate. Opposition to his appointment was strengthened after it was discovered that Dr. Berwick said in a speech two years ago that the British system of socialized medicine is superior to the American health system.
Republican senators accused President Obama of bypassing the Senate to hide Berwick’s views, but White House spokesman Robert Gibbs responded, “There are aspects of the health care law that have to be implemented on a timeline that I’m sure many who oppose Dr. Berwick for political reasons didn’t want to see implemented.”
However, even some Democrats are against the appointment of Berwick as the administrator for Medicare, including Senate Finance Committee chairman Sen. Max Baucus of Montana. Senate confirmation “is an essential process prescribed by the Constitution that serves as a check on executive power and protects Montanans and all Americans by ensuring that crucial questions are asked of the nominee — and answered,” he said.
Berwick’s backing of the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) group dates back to the year 2000, when he donated thousands of dollars to the organization after the outbreak of the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War.
Part of PHR’s mission was to conduct “a medical and forensic investigation in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] from October 20-27, 2000 to investigate allegations of excessive use of force, including the use of prohibited ammunition in the current conflict between Israeli forces and Palestinian demonstrators and authorities.”
In its probe of the IDF’s counter terrorist operation in Jenin in 2002, the physicians’ group issued seven reports critical of Israel while totally ignoring the fact that the civilians were asked to leave Jenin and that 11 IDF soldiers were killed in hand to hand combat in a residential area infested by snipers. This heavy price was paid as the IDF refrained from prior bombing so as to avoid civilian casualties. They also made no mention of human rights violations in Iran and Iraq. PHR also gav an award to a Gaza activist who justified bombings of Israelis afterwards.
In 2008, Dr. Berwick joined the board of PHR, joining Richard Goldstone, who later authored the United Nations report accusing Israel of war crimes in the three-week Operation Cast Lead against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009, while barely mentioning the prior nine years of rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.
A statement by the PHR was part of the basis of the Goldstone Report. PHR director Frank Donaghue stated about Gaza, ignoring the traumatized children of the Israeli town of Sderot and the Israeli communities near Gaza, “The parties to this horrific conflict are choking an entire population — threatening access to food, shelter, medical care, and creating daily terror and insecurity. No military objectives can justify this.” (IsraelNationalNews.com)