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NYU Medical Cancer Doctor Fired For Sharing This Brilliant 2014 Legal Insurrection Cartoon About Hamas

NYU Medical Cancer Doctor Fired For Sharing This Brilliant 2014 Legal Insurrection Cartoon About Hamas

Whatever your thoughts on institutions firing people for social media outrage, any institution that cannot distinguish support for Hamas butchery from opposition to Hamas butchery is morally bankrupt.

A cartoon about Hamas, John Kerry, and Benjamin Netanyahu was prepared by Legal Insurrection cartoonist(*) Tony Branco in July 2014, in the midst of the Israeli-Hamas fighting after Hamas kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens.

It perfectly captured Hamas’ goal to exterminate the Jews (which is in its charter), John Kerry’s fecklessness, and the international pressure on Israel in seeking compromise with the Hamas death cult. It was and remains by far the most shared of our cartoons, and it rocketed around the world in 2014 and remains a favorite because it reflects the same Hamas death cult, same U.S. diplomatic fecklessness, and same Israeli dilemma, and is being widely shared again:

The cartoon once again hits a nerve and is going viral:

The cartoon stood the test of time, but it couldn’t withstand despicable administrators at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. As the NY Post reports, this was one of the cartoons shared by renowned Oncologist Dr. Benjamin Neel

A renowned Manhattan cancer doctor says he was “unceremoniously dumped” from a prestigious director position at NYU Langone for supporting Israel on social media in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack, according to a lawsuit filed against the hospital Thursday.

Benjamin Neel, a Jewish doctor, was first suspended on Oct. 31 and then fired on Nov. 10 as the director of the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone after he posted five tweets about the war in Israel.

Neel — who’d held the director role for nine years — is still a tenured professor at the university but he no longer sees patients.

The 67-year-old oncologist says the termination breached his contract that was set to run through the end of 2024 — and which he was also verbally assured would be extended through 2025, according to a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.

The sacking was religious discrimination, since “Jews who speak out in support of their ancestral connection to Israel and care about the survival of the Jewish people are expressing a religious and ethnic component of their Jewish identity,” the suit alleges….

Among the retweets were three satiric cartoons, including one that took aim at Greta Thunberg for giving her opinion on the war in Israel. Another showed a group of protesters holding signs including one that says “BEHEADING IS RESISTANCE” and “I HEART HAMAS.”

A third retweet is a cartoon of negotiations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a member of Hamas who is holding a piece of paper saying: “DEMANDS — DEATH TO ALL JEWS.”

Another repost included a list of the names of people who died in Gaza, according to the Gaza health ministry, with the caption, “Hamas wrote names on a piece of paper so it’s definitely accurate.”

And finally, the last retweet was of a Brooklyn protest with a demonstrator flying a flag representing Palestine and LGBTQ+, which Neel commented was “an oxymoron.”

Neel says his posts were “far more temperate” than messages coming from the hospital executives including an email from Kenneth Langone and Dr. Robert Grossman condemning Hamas for slaughtering 1,200 Israelis on Oct. 7.

At the same time that Neel was suspended, Dr. Zaki Masoud, a resident at NYU Langone Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, Long Island, was put on the chopping block before he was also fired for making antisemitic statements.

In fact, Neel was a “sacrificial lamb” because the hospital needed to justify Masoud’s termination, the suit claims.

“Dr. Neel became a political casualty of NYULH’s effort to terminate Dr. Masoud and other physicians: Dr. Neel was offered up as sacrificial lamb so that NYULH could feign impartiality in its effort to curb political and religious expression,” the filing claims.

I can’t identify the Greta Thunberg-related tweeted shared by Dr. Neel, if someone figures it out, please put in comments. The Messenger describes it as:

The posts included a repost of a cartoon that showed “an image of well-known environmental advocate Greta Thunberg, chasing a man who is holding a butcher’s knife in one hand and a plastic garbage bag labeled ‘Israeli babies’ in the other,” the suit states.


The social media of the pro-Hamas doctor was quite different. Whereas Dr. Neel criticized Hamas’ killing spree, the other doctor, according to The Messenger, embraced the Hamas butchery:

Masoud, a resident at NYU Langone Winthrop Hospital on Long Island, called the Oct. 7 attacks “liberation” and “revolution” in an Instagram post last week. His post was highlighted by the X account StopAntisemitism.

The hospital, in a post to X, said Masoud had “been removed from service” and that “a process leading to termination has commenced.”

Added NYU Langone Health: “We will not tolerate reprehensible statements condoning hatred or violence, which have no place at our institution. All employees are held to this high standard.”

This appears to be the post by Masoud praising October 7:

Here is the press release by Dr. Neel’s lawyers about the lawsuit:

NEW YORK, Nov. 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — oday, the law firm of Walden Macht & Haran LLP served New York University and NYU Langone Health with a lawsuit in “response to the precipitous and unlawful decision to terminate” Benjamin Neel’s, MD, PhD (“Dr. Neel”) “contract to serve as the Director of the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center (PCC) – a subdivision of NYU Langone Health (“NYULH”).”

In the weeks since the terrorist group Hamas’ October 7th attack on Israel, in which at least 1300 innocent people were killed and at least 230 were kidnapped, workplaces, schools, and other organizations have suspended or fired employees for antisemitic, pro-Hamas or egregiously anti-Israel social media posts. Dr. Neel may be the first fired for pro-Israel and anti-antisemitic re-posts on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter. Dr. Neel’s re-posts, in particular, demonstrate his disappointment with the Netanyahu government, how universities across the country have responded to Hamas’ attacks, and the drastic increase of antisemitism on campus.

NYULH deprived Dr. Neel of the expected due process in violation of his employment agreement. Dr. Neel had been told he would remain PCC director through the end of 2025. Instead, on October 31, 2023, Dr. Neel was informed that he was to be terminated from his position in response to “patient and employee complaints” received regarding the three social media posts described in the lawsuit.

Walden Macht & Haran partner, Milt Williams, said, “It is a travesty that after a stellar career fighting the battle against cancer, a long-tenured and world-renowned research scientist can be unceremoniously dumped. We believe Dr. Neel is the first person to lose their job and have their reputation besmirched for re-posting content on his private social media account that challenged those individuals who are seemingly celebrating the death of innocent people in Israel.  Moreover, a careful review of Dr. Neel’s social media account would reveal that he has taken balanced positions on Israel-related issues.”

The lawsuit, filed at the Supreme Court of New York’s New York County Commercial Division, accuses NYULH of attempting to appear even-handed by firing Dr. Neel shortly after it fired another physician who had posted original content celebrating Hamas’ attack on Israel. According to the lawsuit, Dr. Neel “became a political casualty of NYULH’s effort to terminate” the physician who posted pro-Hamas content. The lawsuit asserts:

“Dr. Neel was offered up as a sacrificial lamb so that NUYLH could feign impartiality in its efforts to curb political and religious expression. Any purported pretextual ‘cause’ such as an unsupported suggestion that Dr. Neel’s posts may have a detrimental effect upon the reputation, character, or standing of NYULH is an ex-post fabrication to justify an unlawful breach.”

In fact, prior to his termination, NYULH Executive Vice President and Vice Dean for Education, Dr. Steven Abramson, indicated that Dr. Neel’s posts that NYULH’s decision was made, according to the filing, “to justify NYULH’s decision to terminate” the physician who posted pro-Hamas content and as the lawsuit states “ [Abramson] said that Dr. Neel’s posts were ‘making it hard’ to fire ‘people like’” the other physician.

To be sure, the posts NYULH seemingly found problematic were all re-posts of other people’s postings – none were original content. Per the lawsuit, “The re-posts, which Dr. Neel made as a private citizen and are in no way associated with NYU or PCC, are objectively tepid and muted compared to the thousands if not hundreds of thousands of opinions currently circulating on social media sites.” Furthermore, the re-posts expressed sentiments similar to those made publicly and privately by NYU’s chief spokesman, executives, and board members of NYULH.

Dr. Robert L Grossman MD, Dean of NYU Grossman School of Medicine and CEO of NYULH, in response to an article criticizing Stanford University for not condemning Hamas, wrote to Dr. Neel, “It’s a contest. Stanford is really a piece of [expletive], and Penn is similarly feculent.”

Dafna Bar-Sagi, PhD Executive Vice President and Vice Dean for Science, Chief Scientific Officer, in an email to Dr. Neel, described Harvard President Claudine Gray as “so dumb” because she defended the groups who issued a pro-Hamas statement blaming Israel for the Hamas terror attacks.

A joint statement from Dr. Grossman and Kenneth G. Langone, Chair of NYULH’s Board of Trustees and Overseers, perfectly captures Dr. Neel’s thinking. That statement included: “The killings and hostage-taking by the militant group Hamas are barbaric and inexcusable.” Similarly, NYU’s official position articulated by chief spokesperson John Beckman mirrors Dr. Neel’s re-posts and thoughts: “Hamas’ attack on Israel was an act of terrorism. The indiscriminate killing of civilian non-combatants and the taking of children and the elderly as hostages are repugnant acts that are not morally justified.”

Furthermore, the lawsuit accuses NYULH of discriminating against Dr. Neel’s religious views by terminating his contract because of his “private expression concerning his ethnic Jewish identity and his support for the State of Israel.”

Dr. Neel has received support from across the research and medical community.

Partner Milton Williams leads the Walden Macht & Haran team representing Dr. Neel and includes senior counsel Daniel Chirlin and associate James Meehan.

About Benjamin Neel, M.D., PhD
Dr.   Benjamin Neel, MD, PhD, has served as the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health and Professor of Medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine since he arrived in 2015. He previously held positions as the William B. Castle Chair of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Director of Hematology-Oncology Research and Head of the Cancer Biology Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, as Director of Research and Senior Scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Center, and as Canada Research Chair and Professor of the Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Neel received his A.B. degree with distinction from Cornell University in 1977 and his PhD from Rockefeller University in 1982. He received his MD from Cornell University Medical College in 1983 before completing internship and residency training in Medicine at the former Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and postdoctoral training at Harvard University.

Neel’s research focuses on cellular signaling, particularly the biology and regulation of protein-tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs), the RAS/ERK pathway in cancer, and the biology of ovarian cancer. He is generally viewed as a co-founder of the PTP field. He has authored >260 primary papers and 38 reviews, many in leading journals including Cell, Molecular Cell, Developmental Cell, Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, and Nature Genetics, and has >60,000 citations. Eighteen students have completed PhDs in his group, and he has trained more than 60 post-doctoral fellows. He is an elected member of the American Association of Physicians, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society of Canada (International Fellow), was the inaugural winner of the Gertrude Elion Award of the AACR and the FASEB Lifetime Phosphatase Achievement award and received the Premier of Ontario’s Summit Award, the highest scientific prize in the province.

Neel previously served as Program Chair of the Annual Meeting and Member of the Board of Directors of AACR was a Member of the Board of Directors of AACI, served full terms on two NIH study sections, and has been an ad hoc reviewer for cancer centers, program project grants, NCI-Frederick, the California Lung/Breast Cancer Research Programs, and many foundations. He served on the editorial boards of JBC, VirologyJEMMCB, and Science Signaling, was an MCB Editor for ten years, and is currently on the editorial boards of Cancer Cell, Cancer Discovery, Molecular Cell, JEM, and JCI. He has(co-) chaired Gordon Conferences, FASEB meetings, the CSH Phosphorylation Meeting (1995-2009), the AACR Annual Meeting (2012) and Ovarian Cancer Conference (in 2015, 2021, 2023), and the CSH Cancer Meeting (2014-2022). He also co-founded Northern Biologics, Navire Pharmaceuticals, Lighthorse Therapeutics, and Aethon Therapeutics, two of which currently have drugs in clinical trials.

You can read the Complaint here.

Whatever your thoughts on institutions firing people for social media outrage, any institution that cannot distinguish support for Hamas butchery from opposition to Hamas butchery is morally bankrupt.

Tony Branco’s cartoon should be celebrated, and widely shared. So should these others by Tony in 2014:


(*) Tony stopped publishing cartoons for Legal Insurrection over a year ago, just short of his 10th Anniversary with us. His workload as a syndicated cartoonist became too heavy. We parted on amicable terms, and remain friends.


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“What’s amazing is that this cartoon is 10 years old.”

Cox & Forkum have hundreds of cartoons 2 decades old detailing the islamists’ savagery.

Yet, the open border West continues to flood their counties with these intractable hordes who embrace this murderous ideology under the naive notion of tolerance, and somehow ‘muh freedom’ will entice them to assimilate.

Wake up. They hate us.

Don’t know what is in his employment contract. But it doesn’t look like fire-able offense on the surface. They could give him “warning” and have him remove any social media posts that the employer considers “controversial”. Other employers would have handled this differently. If that is the only reason he lost his job, he could get hired somewhere else at equal or even higher pay with that resume.

    alaskabob in reply to smooth. | November 19, 2023 at 1:19 pm

    Nothing in the cartoon is false. The stated objectives and recent verbal reassurances from Hamas explicitly state destruction of Israel… further ..eliminating the “Saturday People”and then the Sunday People. (7th Day Adventists get lumped in with Jews). Fired for telling the truth….how novel…. how Orwellian.

    Speaking of Orwell, I didn’t know until now that he coined the term “Cold War”. We are in Cold War II, and it’s no going to be a simple replay of CD-I. How many Chinese and Pro-Hamas people are in this country (along with illegally entered Quds, Chinese, Russian forces?)

NYU has become toxic woke trash dumpster fire.

Its all about conformity nowadays to CRT, DEI, BLM, LGBT.

That cartoon is basically the foreign policy of most of the world on Israel

I didn’t know Branco had gone separate ways

Too bad

ChrisPeters | November 19, 2023 at 7:03 pm

Seriously, I cannot understand how John Kerry has not yet been put in prison, at the very least.

As the firing makes it rounds throughout the community, maybe it will give other pause as to how they’ve been voting.
If the left is willing to toss someone like Dr. Neel no one is safe.

Peter Floyd | November 20, 2023 at 8:13 am

Forget f*****lawsuits! Where’s the Jewish Defense League when we need them? Maybe a lone wolf alone needs to act?

Rich Rostrom | November 20, 2023 at 1:30 pm

This is very weird. Langone, the billionaire who is a huge donor to NYU Medical and head of the board of trustees, is a solid Republican. The quoted e-mails show that NYU Medical’s top officers are pro-Israel and anti-Hamas, and they canned Dr. Masoud almost immediately.

So why the heck pick on Dr. Neel? Was it some mid-level admins trying to atone to the Left for firing Masoud? And what were they thinking? That Neel would not fight back, and only the Left would notice?

CincyJan | November 21, 2023 at 9:10 pm

Bizarre that a noted cancer doctor has been fired for protesting Hamas savagery. Maybe they’ve had a decline in cancer patients …

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