As editor of the Dearborn Historian, veteran Detroit journalist Bill McGraw four years ago wrote a feature entitled, “Henry Ford and ‘The International Jew’: His Century-old Anti-Semitism Thrives in the 21st Century.” McGraw’s 11-page spread was a detailed analysis of how the founder of Ford Motor Co. used the Dearborn Independent as a mouthpiece for his virulent anti-Semitism. McGraw wrote his feature to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of Ford’s purchase of the publication.
“Ford’s salvos,” McGraw wrote, “were likely the most sustained printed attack on Jews the world had ever seen.”
As the saying goes, “those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it.” McGraw thought it important to remember Dearborn’s history as ground zero of American Jewish hatred.
“While a lot of people in the Detroit area have learned that Henry Ford was an antisemite, most people don’t know all the details. It did seem like one of those times, because of antisemitic incidents, [that cries] out for people who aren’t Jews to react in a way that’s positive for the whole community,” McGraw told The Forward, a Jewish publication focused on public affairs and culture.
McGraw’s piece never saw the light of day, at least not in the Dearborn Historian. Dearborn’s then mayor, John B. O’Reilly, objected to McGraw’s feature and directed that he be fired. It was published in Deadline Detroit, a publication McGraw co-founded with my friend Allan Lengel, whose parents were Holocaust survivors. I’m a regular contributor to Deadline Detroit.
History is repeating itself in Dearborn. If Henry Ford were alive, he’d be mighty proud of Dr. Majd Aburabia, the medical director of the Karen Wilson Smithbauer Comprehenssive Center for Breast Care at Corewell Health’s Dearborn hospital. He’d also be delighted seeing the photo of a healthcare worker wearing a sweatshirt bearing the name of the hospital he founded carrying a placard calling for the killing of all Israelis at a rally sponsored by the Michigan branch of the Arab American Medical Association.
Aburabia on Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists entered Israel and massacred, mutilated, and terrorized some 1,400 citizens, posted on Facebook under the name Majd Majjoda a picture of characters from the musical “Oklahoma!” with this note: “Oh what a beautiful morningggg, oh what a beautifuly dayyy! #IFYYK, which means if you know, you know.” The posting was first called out by StopAntimistism, a nonprofit watchdog organization.
“This is abhorrent @Corewell Health – your Jewish patients deserve to be treated by someone that does not support terrorists butchering babies, women, and the elderly!” the watchdog group tweeted.
Following Aburabia’s seeming Facebook celebration, the Arab American Medical Association (AAMA) held a demonstration in front of Corewell’s Royal Oak hospital in suburban Detroit, once a nationally respected surgical center whose reputation suffered a major decline under the previous management. The Royal Oak facility was part of an eight-hospital network owned by Beaumont Health, which was taken over by Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health more than a year ago. The merged Spectrum and Beaumont operations were rebranded as Corewell Health. Corewell is Michigan’s biggest hospital system as well as the state’s biggest employer.
Dozens of protesters attended the AAMA’s demonstration, where they shouted “Intifada, Intifada! Long live the Intifada!” One protester wearing a Henry Ford Health jersey was photographed with a “From The River To The Sea Palestine Will Bill Free” placard. Henry Ford founded the hospital system that bears his name.
“From the River to the Sea” is a war cry for a Palestinian state extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, which means the destruction of Israel. Calls for an Intifada refers to a violent overthrow of Israel. Hamas terrorists have gleefully shown the world what they have in mind.
Most of the AAMA protesters were dressed in hospital lab coats or scrubs, which a flyer for the event encouraged them to do. The AAMA apparently wanted it readily apparent that the protestors worked in the healthcare industry.
Physicians celebrating or calling for the murder of people strikes me as a violation of the Hippocratic Oath requiring them to do no harm, and that includes even to convicted murderers. The American Medical Association (AMA) prohibits physicians from abetting capital punishments.
“An individual’s opinion on capital punishment is the personal moral decision of the individual,” the AMA’s code of ethics states. “However, as a member of a profession dedicated to preserving life when there is hope of doing so, a physician must not participate in a legally authorized execution (emphasis mine).
Other U.S. hospitals and healthcare facilities reacted swiftly and terminated Arab American physicians and dentists who celebrated the Hamas attacks, including New York’s Lenox Hill hospital, which promptly fired emergency room doctor Dana Diab for applauding Hamas’ massacre at a music festival in southern Israel, saying the attacks gave Israelis “a taste of their own medicine.”
Detroit’s Jewish population of 71,500 people, while comparatively small in comparison to other major U.S. cities, is among the most vibrant in America. Most of the Jews live in the northern suburbs served by Corewell’s Royal Oak and Farmington Hills hospitals. Videos of the AAMA’s demonstration calling for the destruction of Israel quickly circulated among Detroit’s Jewish community, causing great anger and anguish. Some Corewell Jewish doctors protested Aburabia’s seeming celebration of Hamas’ Israel massacre.
“The Jewish community that I represent is shocked and frightened by what we saw and heard,” wrote one Jewish leader to Corewell Health CEO Tina Freese Decker. “Many of my members, and myself personally, have family and friends who are currently in harm’s way in Israel. We are all deeply concerned about their well being. The vociferous calls for genocide and Intifada that emanated from yesterday’s protest were deeply hurtful and frightening.
“We urge Corewell to publicly dissociate itself from yesterday’s protest.”
Freese Decker wasn’t moved by concerns from Jewish leaders and other members of their community. Those who reached out received the same PRspeak response signed by Freese Decker and Darryl Elmouchi, Corewell’s COO who is temporarily overseeing the former Beaumont hospital system because Freese Decker’s chosen executive departed by “mutual agreement” after only about a year on the job.
Freese Decker is a toxic peddler of phony baloney, and her shallow and insensitive response is what I’d expect. Freese Decker previously insinuated she was influenced by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who maintained close relationships with Jewish leaders. The American Jewish Congress served as an ecumenical partner to King in his struggle for civil rights. I doubt that she knows this.
Freese Decker has no medical credentials, but Elmouchi holds a medical degree and MBA from the University of Michigan, from where his spouse, an impressively credentialed pediatrician, also graduated. Corewell’s Detroit area hospitals experienced a rash of physician departures in recent years, and some say that morale is even lower than before Corewell took over the operations.
It seems reasonable to expect that Elmouchi would be sensitive to concerns of Jewish physicians, particularly since the departures under the previous management of a highly respected cardio surgeon and a beloved pediatrician who were both Jewish were regarded as watershed moments in the decline of Corewell’s once nationally respected Royal Oak hospital.
Sources tell me that Corewell is conducting an investigation of Aburabia, who supposedly claims that her celebratory post referred to being named among Metro Detroit’s top doctors a week earlier.
Henry Ford Health has yet to publicly address the photo of a presumed employee carrying the “From The River To The Sea” placard. While the hospital’s founder would no doubt approve, his grandson, Henry Ford II, would likely be outraged because he was an unrelenting Zionist who refused to cave to threats of an Arab boycott.
Detroit’s Jewish community has been a major supporter of Henry Ford Hospital, including the late philanthropist and former WWII fighter pilot Mort Harris, who gave a record $20 million donation to the hospital three years ago.
Bill Ford, a nephew of Henry Ford II and an honorary director of Henry Ford Hospital, and his extended family have given generously to the Detroit Jewish community, including donating a rare 500-year-old Torah scroll to a suburban Detroit synagogue. Ford also is the only Detroit 3 automaker to appoint a Jewish CEO.
Ford vice chair is Jon Huntsman, who has withdrawn financial support for the University of Pennsylvania because of his alma mater’s tolerance of rampant campus antisemitism and its silence about the Hamas attack. Ford also has an impressive record promoting gay and lesbian rights, which aren’t allowed in Gaza.
Henry Ford Hospital’s silence about the AAMA’s demonstration calling for the destruction of Israel is an affront to the Ford family, their business relationships, the company they control, and the causes they support. Ford Motor was until recently embroiled in a nasty UAW strike, so I can’t blame Bill Ford and his company for their silence about recent events.
Ford’s headquarters abuts the district of Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who for years routinely tweeted antisemitic references and slogans, while the mainstream and Detroit media gave her a pass. The Simon Wiesenthal Center ranked Tlaib and her “squad” colleague Rep. Illan Omar among the most rabid and dangerous Jew haters in the world. Tlaib and Omar have repeatedly promoted legislation intended to weaken Israel.
Antisemitism is rife at the University of Michigan. Earlier this year Palestinian supporters marched through the campus shouting, “Intifada, Intifada! Long live the Intifada” without consequences. The accompanying video is of someone on U of M’s campus ripping down posters of children kidnapped by Hamas. If the perpetrator is a U of M student, it doesn’t speak well of the supposedly elite school’s admission standards.
So far, there’s been no outrage in Michigan about Arab American physicians embracing Hamas and other antisemitic activities. There seems to be a feeling that it’s only a Jewish issue, but Michiganders who believe that are deceiving themselves.
Those who support Hamas likely support the terrorist group’s other beliefs and practices. In many Arab countries, including Iran which supports Hamas, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death. Arab countries aren’t known for being champions of woman’s rights. They also don’t have a history of being particularly fond of America and its freedoms.
Michiganders who remain silent best not be surprised if in short order there’s a strong movement to change Michigan’s slogan from “The Great Lakes State” to “From the River to the Sea.”