Representatives of the Canadian Medical Association announced Saturday that the group would resign from the World Medical Association after accusing its new president – Israel Medical Association chief Prof. Leonid Edelman – of plagiarizing parts of his inaugural speech to the world body. IMA sources denied the charge.
The Canadians say parts of the speech Edelman gave at the opening of the WMA’s convention in Reykjavik, Iceland on Friday were copied without credit word for word from a speech by the previous head of the international medical body, Dr. Chris Simpson, in 2014.
The Canadians also said many other parts of Edelman’s speech were copied without attribution from blogs and new articles. After the CMA’s demand for Edelman’s resignation was rejected, the organization said it could no longer take part in the organization and would find other ways to contribute to global health issues.
CMA President Dr. Gigi Osler said that the WMA had not met its own standards of medical ethics, and that the organization could not in good conscience remain a member of such an organization.
According to IMA sources, Edelman’s speech was originally written in Hebrew and translated into English and was not copied from other sources. Other IMA officials said it was no coincidence that only the CMA came out against Edelman, saying it was connected to the poor state of ties between the Israeli and the Canadian organization, especially over the stand on euthanasia, which the IMA does not support.
Edelman, an intensive care specialist and anesthesiologist, headed the anesthesiology department at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva and was chairman of the IMA and chairman of the medical division of the hospitals belonging to the Clalit health maintenance organization. He was elected a year ago to the presidency of the WMO and officially assumed his post on Friday.
“After examining all the facts, the CMA’s demand that Prof. Edelman step down as president of the WMA was supported by no member country except Canada,” said an IMA source. “This is another sorry attempt by the CMA to promote an ongoing agenda in which they are asking that physicians be allowed to end life/put humans to death – an agenda to which the IMA is vehemently opposed. Most of the medical associations that are members of the WMA expressed their support for Prof. Leonid Edelman, president of the WMA.”
Dr. Zeev Feldman, chairman of the Israel Medical Association – World Fellowship, who attended the convention in Reykjavik, says a 26-member committee examined the claims raised by the Canadians and rejected them after concluding they were baseless.