The Board posted the blog earlier this month, in response to ‘a number of letters and emails’ it had received about Gaza, in which, among other things, it was asked to take a position on the situation. The staff members also called for a minute’s silence for the victims and for medical aid to be sent to the war zone. EM was able to see the internal message.

In the message, the Board wrote: “Because we are a hospital, we attach great importance to Erasmus MC being an inclusive environment and an open, safe and accessible place for everyone. We treat every patient regardless of their ethnicity, religion or political views. And the same goes for our students and staff; everyone is a member of the Erasmus MC community and no one is excluded. Erasmus MC therefore takes no position in this war.”

Ukrainian flag

About the contrasting fact that following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Erasmus MC did raise the Ukrainian flag, the Board stated: “Indeed we did, following the example set by many other organisations in the Netherlands. Even the Erasmus Bridge was lit in blue and yellow at that time. But afterwards, we heard that our colleagues and patients from Russia were uncomfortable with it. We did not sufficiently realise that at the time.”

Nonetheless, the Board did speak out against the violence in Gaza: “Our sincere sympathies go out to all those affected in any way by violence and oppression. The violence and the large number of victims is truly appalling…” The Board didn’t address the demands made by staff who feel that especially a large and important hospital like Erasmus MC should take to a stand against Israel’s attacks, which are also affecting health care in Gaza.


Erasmus MC staff posted over fifty responses to the message on the intranet, the network only accessible to people working for Erasmus MC. EM was able to see some of the responses. While there were messages expressing appreciation and understanding for the Board’s position, other responses where critical.

A staff member wrote the following about the Board’s policy to restrict public commemorations with a minute’s silence to serious internal events, such as Fouad L.’s attack on Erasmus MC at the end of September: “You mention the events of 28 September. It is terrible that such a thing happened in a hospital. A hospital is a place that is supposed to be safe for everyone. In Gaza, this is not the case at the moment. (…) I think the Erasmus Medical Center should speak out about this.” The comment was liked over sixty times.

Standing up for health care

In its message on intranet, the Board also wrote: “If the government asks us to provide care to war victims, we will do so immediately. We are ready to respond to any requests for assistance by the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders. But it is not our role to provide support on the ground in Gaza.”

One of the comments showed that some staff are disappointed by this position: “Regrettably, what is also lacking is a professional view of the situation, namely that we must stand up for the protection of health care and health care providers under all circumstances.” A group of concerned Erasmus MC staff have come together and are organising lunch meetings for ‘a constructive conversation with each other about the impact of this situation’.

Not a political institution

However, the comments also show that there is a group of staff who feel that Erasmus MC should indeed not take a position: “We work in a hospital, not at a political institution. Let’s keep it that way. (…) You come here to work, to learn, not to force your opinions on others.”

In response to this article, an Erasmus MC spokesperson said: “As in many other places around the world, the situation in Gaza and Israel is being debated at Erasmus MC, in this case in responses to the blog by the Executive Board. As with any debate, there are proponents and opponents and those who take a position somewhere between these two poles of the debate. That is possible and allowed at Erasmus MC. It is nice to see that the people responding are also looking for common ground and are in agreement about the impact of this situation.”

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