The installment in question — which aired on Feb. 9 in the states — featured a scene in which a young Orthodox Jewish patient named Israel is informed by a doctor that he will require a bone graft for his injured leg. The procedure requires surgically inserting a part of a cadaver’s leg into the patient, prompting remarks from Israel and his father.
“You want to put a dead leg inside of me?!” Israel asks.
“A dead goyim leg — from anyone. An Arab, a woman,” his father points out.
After that, Israel refuses the treatment. “It’s God who heals what he creates,” he explains.
“The writers of this scene check all the boxes of ignorance and pernicious negative stereotypes right down to the name of the patient, Israel — paiyous and all,” the Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a statement. “In one scene, NBC has insulted and demonized religious Jews and Judaism.”
“Orthodox Jews are targeted for violent hate crimes in the city of New York. Jews are [the] number one target of hate crimes in the U.S.,” the organization added. “This is no slip of the tongue. It was a vile, cheap attack masquerading as TV drama. What’s NBC going to do about it?”
Meanwhile, Michael Mostyn, the CEO of Jewish Human Rights organization B’nai Brith Canada, released the following statement: “The disturbing stereotypes present in this episode of Nurses are deeply damaging to Jews, especially Orthodox practitioners. We call on the producers to act responsibly and take accountability for this outrage.”
Nurses‘ Season 1 finale aired on NBC last night, Feb. 23. The medical drama is broadcast on Global in Canada, where it has already been renewed for Season 2.