Suspension of Dr. Ben Thomson by Mackenzie Health

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On October 13, 2023, Dr. Ben Thomson, a nephrologist at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital was given a one-month suspension without pay following social media posts he made in support of Palestine. In his tweet, Thomson was warning against the danger of spreading misinformation that is used to dehumanize Palestinians and justify Israel’s genocide in Gaza.[1] The tweets made by Thomson received criticism from colleagues and anonymous individuals online who labelled Thomson antisemitic and called for him to be fired.[2]

Thomson was harassed through death threats, the doxing of his home address and a threat to bomb the hospital if he was not fired. Thomson was also publicly defamed and harassed through comments on X (formerly Twitter), the Mackenzie Health Facebook page, and his RateMD professional page.

On the same day, Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital announced in a statement that they are “addressing social media posts from a few physicians and staff that do not reflect our views or values.”[3] They also stated that they “unequivocally condemn hate, violence, human rights violations and terrorism in any form.”[4]

Why is this incident considered Anti-Palestinian Racism (APR)?

Characterizing Thomson’s criticism of Israel’s war crimes and genocide against Palestinians as “antisemitic” is a classic example of Anti-Palestinian Racism (APR). The Arab Canadian Lawyers Association (ACLA) defines APR as a form of racism that seeks to defame Palestinians and their allies with slander such as being inherently antisemitic.[5] His suspension without a fair investigation – and the presumption that his posts were inherently antisemitic because they sought to humanize Palestinians – represents the larger issue that Palestinians and their allies face when criticizing Israel and its actions against Palestinians. Yet, Thomson’s tweet did not incite hate nor target anyone based on their religious belief, ethnicity, or race but sought to correct misinformation and oppose language that justified violence against Palestinians.

Pro-Israel supporters like to use the controversial IHRA definition to suggest that criticism of Israel is automatically antisemitic.[6] This definition, however, has been criticized by many for its attempts to silence and conflate criticism of Israel with antisemitism.[7] Therefore, Thomson’s suspension for rightly expressing his opinion on Israel’s actions in Gaza demonstrates the censorship and professional consequences that Palestinians and their allies face when publicly criticizing Israel.

Additional Background to the Incident

A petition was also launched by Thomson’s friends and colleagues advocating for his reinstatement. The petition requested that the decision to suspend Thomson be reversed immediately and that Mackenzie Health “make a clear public apology, and an unequivocal statement of commitment to ensuring his safety against bullying and outright threats.” Within their petition, they emphasized that Thomson’s suspension undermines the commitment to due process and is contrary to the hospital’s claims of inclusivity and diversity.[8]

Shortly after Thomson’s suspension, Mackenzie Health revealed that they were working with York Regional Police to ensure that “additional security measures have been put in place as a precaution” but denied commenting about whether Thomson’s suspension was related to his tweet.

An email campaign was also launched in opposition to Thomson’s suspension by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME). The campaign received over 14,000 signatures and demanded that Thomson be immediately reinstated at Mackenzie Health, stating that Thomson was suspended “without a fair and thorough investigation and failed to offer him adequate support at a time when his safety and livelihood were compromised.”

On October 26th, Thomson released a statement stating that he did “not intend for these consequences when I posted on social media” and that the threats made against him, and the hospital were unacceptable. He stated that he is committed to working with Mackenzie Hospital to resume his work and return to his patients. Mackenzie Health likewise released a statement, confirming that they are “working with Dr. Thomson on his plan to return to work once it is deemed safe to do so.”


On November 15th Thomson was reinstated in his position at Mackenzie Health.

Last Updated


[1] Thomson, B. [@BenNephrology]. (2023, October 10). No babies were beheaded, there have been no confirmed reports of rapes. You repeat this nonsense out of racism [Tweet]. X.

[2] Basu, Brishti, “Ontario doctor suspended, his address published after pro-Palestinian social media posts,” Oct. 20, 2023, CBC News, accessed Mar. 14, 2024 at

[3] Mackenzie Health, “A Statement from Mackenzie Health,” media release, Oct. 13, 2023,

[4] Mackenzie Health, “A Statement from Mackenzie Health,” media release, Oct. 13, 2023,

[5] “Anti-Palestinian Racism: Naming, Framing and Manifestations,” April 25, 2022, Arab-Canadian Lawyers Association, accessed Mar. 12, 2024 at

[6] Al Jazeera, “Rights groups urge UN not to adopt IHRA anti-Semitism definition,” Apr. 4, 2023, Al Jazeera News, accessed Mar. 15, 2024, at

[7] Al Jazeera, “Rights groups urge UN not to adopt IHRA anti-Semitism definition,” Apr. 4, 2023, Al Jazeera News, accessed Mar. 15, 2024, at

[8] Wallace, Melissa, “Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital says doctor’s suspension not over views on Israel-Hamas conflict,” Oct. 25, 2023, Richmond Hill Liberal, accessed Mar. 15, 2024 at

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