An NYU cancer doc fired over Israel-Hamas war posts accuses the medical center of using him as a 'sacrificial lamb'

  • An NYU Langone Health cancer doctor has filed a lawsuit against the medical center.

  • Benjamin Neel alleges that he was wrongly fired over posts he made related to the Israel-Hamas war.

  • The medical center said it "stands by" its decision terminate Neel.

A renowned Jewish cancer biologist who was recently fired from NYU Langone Health has filed a lawsuit against the medical center, alleging that it used him as a "sacrificial lamb" by axing him over posts he made on social media related to the Israel-Hamas war.

Benjamin Neel, a doctor who ran the Perlmutter Cancer Center at the New York City medical facility, alleges in the suit that he was "unceremoniously dumped" by NYU after he reposted tweets to X (formerly known as Twitter) that "criticized people who supported the violence toward and the death of Israelis" in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas.

The civil lawsuit — which was filed late Thursday in New York State Supreme Court and also names New York University as a defendant — alleges the 67-year-old doctor "became a casualty" of the medical center's "ill-considered plan to feign the appearance of even-handedness."

NYU Langone Health spokesman Steve Ritea told Business Insider in a statement Friday in response to the suit that the medical facility "stands by" its decision to terminate Neel and said that it "looks forward to defending our decision in court."

"As an institution dedicated to healing, NYU Langone remains committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment, free of discrimination, for all of our employees and patients," Ritea said, explaining that "several times" since last month the institution reminded all employees of its "high standards" and its social media policy.

"Nonetheless, Dr. Ben Neel, as a leader at our institution, disregarded these standards in a series of public social media posts and later locked his Twitter/X account," Ritea said.

Neel's lawsuit says that the doctor was initially suspended over his posts and later fired on Nov. 10 in breach of his employee agreement, leaving his reputation in "tatters."

The suit is seeking a trial by jury and at least $500,000 in damages.

"Dr. Neel was offered up as sacrificial lamb so that NYULH could feign impartiality in its effort to curb political and religious expression," the lawsuit says, noting that another NYU physician was ousted over "pro-Hamas" posts.

According to the suit, Neel made three reposts on X, including one of a cartoon that depicted climate activist 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."

"Thunberg is carrying a sign that displays the Palestinian flag and includes on the flag the text 'HASHTAG FREE PALESTINE,' " the suit says. "Thunberg is shown yelling: 'HOW DARE YOU...USE PLASTIC BAGS?? WE NEED TO SAVE THE WORLD!' "

Another was a tweet that read: "Anti-Israel protesters brought a combined Palestine/LGBTQ+ flag to the demonstration in Brooklyn, New York City today to show the solidarity between the queer community and Palestine," and Neel included the caption, "Talk about an oxymoron…," according to the lawsuit.

An attorney for Neel, Milton Williams, said in a statement, "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 duped."

"We believe Dr. Neel is the first person to lose their job and have their reputations 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," Williams said.

Read the original article on Business Insider