Swedish surgeon accused of bullying Jewish employees

Simon Wiesenthal Center says Karolinska University Hospital near Stockholm, which awards the Nobel Prize in Medicine, has failed to act on complaints

New Karolinska Solna University Hospital can be seen under construction in December 2016. (Wikipedia / Holger.Ellgaard / CC BY-SA)
New Karolinska Solna University Hospital can be seen under construction in December 2016. (Wikipedia / Holger.Ellgaard / CC BY-SA)

A senior physician from the Swedish university that awards the Nobel Prize in Medicine is accused of bullying Jewish employees with impunity.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center made the accusation against the surgeon in a letter its dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, sent Karolinska University Hospital near Stockholm last month, the Aftonbladet daily reported Wednesday.

Management at Karolinska knew about the “obvious and open anti-Semitism” expressed by the physician to at least one Jewish employee since February, but the complaints were “ignored,” Cooper wrote in the letter, obtained by JTA. At least two other Jewish employees quit until only the one mentioned by the Simon Wiesenthal Center remained, Cooper said.

Annika Tibell, the hospital’s director, told Aftonbladet that the institution has a “zero tolerance for all types of harassment and offensive treatment.” She also said that “relevant investigative measures” are being taken when “misunderstandings arise.” According to Aftonbladet, Karolinska has launched an internal investigation and asked outside counsel to review the complaints.

But Cooper told JTA that he has “near zero confidence” in the hospital’s handling of the complaint. “They first received complaints months ago and nothing happened. They are not transparent about what measures they are taking now.”

The report in Aftonbladet did not elaborate on the alleged harassment. Cooper said he wasn’t at liberty to recount it to protect the identity of the alleged victim, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Svante Weyler, chairman of the Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism, said the senior physician accused of abusing the Jewish employee posted anti-Semitic texts on Facebook.

“It shows an extremely bad judgment, they are quite obviously anti-Semitic. If they are also part of a larger context, it is an issue,” he told Aftonbladet.

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