Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Doctors squabble over editorial on Gaza

The August 2 The Lancet, published online July 28  (prominent medical journal) carried an editorial, not only supporting Hamas, but condemning Israel. Now there is a petition circulating to dismiss Richard Horton as Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet .

Here is a sampling of comments from subscribers and readers of Medpage,  where I noticed the controversy, which asked readers to comment on whether medical journals should be political.  The editors of Medpage also seemed to miss the bias—being political isn’t the problem.  Hating Jews and Israel definitely is:

“The editor is an ignoramus-Gaza and Hamas are daggers poised as Israeli's jugular vein. Hamas has declared it will destroy Israeli and all Jews. This idiot sitting behind a desk at a safe distance has the nerve to comment on the ability of a free people to defend itself. For 1800 years western Europe raped, murdered , and vilified Jews. The best of you turned your heads from the slaughter. The worst said so what. Anti-semitism is bred in your marrow. But not this time. Kill one of us and we will kill 1000 of you. No slight will go unanswered. If you want to wallow in blood and slaughter than so be it. OUR LEADERS HAVE SAID IT-NEVER AGAIN!”

“This is a rather prejudiced and hypocritical article, to say the least. Israel is indeed, far from perfect. But Israel is too small and outnumbered, surrounded as she is by enemies funded by Iran, to allow herself to be destroyed. (Like the Yazidis in Iraq). The terror tunnels, built over the past 5 or 6 years, ironically with cement that came from Israel, posed a direct threat to Israel's survival. 500 Hamas terrorists were preparing to launch a huge Mumbai style attack on Israeli civilians this Yom Kippor. There may be tunnels to the north as well, built by Hezbollah and coming from Lebanon. This is being investigated now. The editor might save some of his anger for the UN, who has permitted Hamas to build tunnels on UN premises, and who allows poisonous anti-Semitic lessons to be taught in UN schools in both Gaza and East Jerusalem. The editor might also reflect on Britain's history of anti-Semitism, going back to the the 13th Century in York and elsewhere. Not to mention British soldiers who armed Arabs while simultaneously disarming the Jews in 1948 when the State of Israel was declared a nation. I suggest this editor might want to widen his outlook by reading Brendan O'Neill's excellent online article in Spiked, "There's Something Ugly in This Rage Against Israel."

‘'I strongly suggest you read the balanced response from the Chair of the Israel Medical Association and the Director of the Israel Ministry of Health to the letter recently published in the Lancet. http://www.ima.org.il/Ima/FormStorage/Type8/response.pdf This issue should be of interest to readers of Retraction Watch - not just the dismay felt by medical academics at the political hijack of the Lancet by supporters of Hamas but also the lack of editorial discretion and the non-disclosure of conflict of interest - where the authors of the letter did not acknowledge their long-standing activism against Israel and in favor of Hamas - including apparently the support of some of them for acts of international terrorism: http://townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/2014/08/05/lancet-a-home-for-evils-useful-idiots-n1874715/page/full. It is a very nasty and dangerous world we live in. There comes a point where you have to stand up and speak up.’'

Being political about moral issues is nothing new in medical journals, from climate change to abortion to causes of poverty. Apparently everything medical is also political.  Reminds me of my career field.  Librarianship leans left perhaps because it is so dependent on government largesse.    Getting published outside the approved opinion or research direction is difficult.

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