AN investigation by Monash Health into an antisemitic incident involving employee Dr Arthur Nasis has issued him with a “first and final warning”. The senior cardiologist had earlier apologised for an offensive email he sent.
In July, Nasis advised his sister on a rent negotiation with her tenants Paul Micmacher and his sister Susannah Swiatlo, who are Jewish, emailing that if she sold the property, she should tell the tenant “to pack his jew bags and f**k off”. The email inadvertently remained in a chain read by Swiatlo, who approached the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC).
Monash Health chief executive Andrew Stripp this week noted an independent external investigation was completed and Nasis was interviewed. Nasis “has expressed deep regret for the incident and the hurt he caused” and “has apologised to the victim, the Jewish community, his colleagues, and Monash Health”.
Stripp said Nasis has now “spent considerable time learning about Jewish history and culture from a range of people including Dr Jack Green, president of the Australasian Jewish Medical Federation (Victoria), a Holocaust educator in Jerusalem associated with Yad Vashem, meeting staff at Courage to Care, and talking to people at the Jewish Museum of Australia. In addition, he has spoken with several other Jewish organisations and individuals, offering his apology and seeking guidance and opportunities for dialogue”.
Monash Health has given Nasis “a first and final warning, understanding that any repeat in behaviour would result in the immediate termination of his employment. It has also been agreed that he will take a period of extended leave to continue to reflect and educate himself on the harm caused by his remarks.”
Stripp thanked Swiatlo for her courage in raising the issue, and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and other Jewish organisations and individuals for advice which “encouraged a disciplinary action that is just, balanced and provides an opportunity for learning”.
ADC chair Dvir Abramovich said, “We hope that this extended period of leave will be fruitful in helping Dr Nasis come to terms with the disease of prejudice he revealed … Whether his apology and meetings will be enough to earn his colleagues and patients’ trust and respect, only time will tell.”
JCCV president Dr Andre Oboler and executive director Judy Fetter jointly stated, “We must support those who become victims of antisemitism. We are not, however, a vindictive community. Except in the absolute worst of cases, those who make mistakes, learn from them and are genuinely remorseful, should have a path to redemption.”