A nurse was dismissed for labeling the Gaza war as “genocide” during a compassion award acceptance speech. (The original sentence implies that the nurse was fired for making this statement while accepting the compassion award.)

A Palestinian American nurse, Hesen Jabr, was terminated from her position at NYU Langone Health in New York City after referring to Israel’s war in Gaza as a “genocide” during a speech accepting a compassion award. The award recognized Jabr’s work as a labor and delivery nurse, particularly her empathy towards mothers who had lost babies.

In her speech on May 7, Jabr drew a connection between her work and the suffering of mothers in Gaza, stating, “It pains me to see the women from my country going through unimaginable losses themselves during the current genocide in Gaza.” She posted a video of the speech on social media.

Upon her return to work on May 22, Jabr was called to a meeting with the hospital’s president and vice president of nursing. She was accused of putting others at risk, ruining the ceremony, and offending people due to her speech. After working most of her shift, she was summoned again and terminated.

NYU Langone’s spokesperson, Steve Ritea, confirmed Jabr’s termination and stated that she had been warned not to discuss the issue in the workplace following a previous incident. He did not provide details about the previous incident.

Jabr defended her speech, stating that it was relevant given the nature of the award she had received. The Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza reports that over 36,000 people have been killed in Gaza during the war that began with a Hamas attack on Israel in October. Critics accuse Israel’s military campaign in Gaza of being genocide, while Israel denies these charges.

This is not the first time an employee at the hospital, previously known as NYU Medical Center, has been fired over comments related to the Middle East conflict. In 2014, a prominent researcher who directed the hospital’s cancer center was fired after posting anti-Hamas political cartoons. The researcher, biologist Benjamin Neel, has since sued the hospital.

Jabr’s termination is not her first time in the spotlight. When she was an 11-year-old in Louisiana, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on her behalf after she was forced to accept a Bible from her public school principal. Jabr commented, “This is not my first rodeo.”