UK medical journal editor’s visit generates controversy

During Operation Protective Edge The Lancet published a letter accusing Israel of “cruel” and “vicious war crimes.”

September 30, 2014 18:48
1 minute read.
gaza air strike

A Palestinian man looks through a broken window at the rubble of a mosque, which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, in the central Gaza Strip July 12, 2014. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

A visit to Israel this week by the editor of the British medical journal The Lancet has generated controversy due to views aired in the prestigious publication critical of the Jewish state.

During Operation Protective Edge, The Lancet published a letter accusing Israel of war crimes and a “military onslaught on civilians in Gaza under the guise of punishing terrorists.”

Prof. Richard Horton, The Lancet’s editor, is being hosted by Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center and is meeting with medical professionals throughout the country.

According to the hospital, the purpose of the visit is to “provide a venue for academic discussions and meetings in Israel’s multicultural medical institutions that have strong medical cooperation agreements with the Palestinian Authority to treat people from the West Bank and Gaza,” as well as to discuss the role of politics in scientific journals.

Rambam director Prof. Rafi Beyar said that he believes that Horton will be “quite impressed and will learn that Israel’s public health system does its very best to genuinely care for its neighbors.”

Mads Gilbert, one of the authors of the open letter, is well-known for making statements justifying the September 11 attacks in New York, stating that “the oppressed also have a moral right to attack the USA with any weapon they can come up with.”

Drs. Paola Manduca and Swee Ang, two other signatories to the letter, have been accused of sending emails promoting videos by American white supremacist David Duke by NGO Monitor, an Israeli watchdog organization.

The Lancet has previously published PA-financed research linking Palestinian domestic violence with Israel’s military control of the West Bank.

“The trip will not provide Horton immunity from the justifiable moral outrage of Israelis, the Jewish community, and medical professionals,” NGO Monitor’s Yitzhak Santis said on Tuesday. “Nor will it absolve Horton of his responsibility to correct his politicized, non-scientific editorial distortions.

If he cannot do so, he should resign.”

“Horton has tweeted that he aims ‘to listen and to learn.

And, quietly, to explain.’ But, there can be no ‘explaining’ or justifying repeatedly turning The Lancet into a platform for individuals who promote anti-Semitic propaganda and other conspiracy theories. His reputation, along with that of a long-respected medical journal, has been destroyed, and a visit to Israel cannot undo this lasting damage,” he said.

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