Ending The Lancet's Role in Demonization: Analysis of Editor Dr. Richard Horton's Visit to Israel
As Dr. Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet medical journal, completes his visit to Israel, and following his statement made this morning at Rambam Medical Center (Haifa), NGO Monitor released the following statement:
Dr. Richard Horton came to Israel following intense criticism of his activities as editor of The Lancet. In this visit, he has expressed regret, condemned the contributors to The Lancet who promoted explicitly antisemitic materials, articulated a new understanding of Israeli realities, particularly the complexities of the Arab-Israel conflict, and pledged a new relationship with Israel.
On this basis, and in light of the revelations regarding antisemitic comments and materials disseminated by Drs. Manduca and Swee Ang, it is urgent that the July 2014 “An Open Letter for the People of Gaza” be removed from The Lancet’s website and a formal retraction and apology be published prominently, both on the website and the next hard copy issue.
Furthermore, in examining the past decade of Dr. Horton’s practices at The Lancet and looking forward, it is vitally important that unambiguous guidelines be established and fully implemented, to prevent further instances of the following:
- Publication of authors who have endorsed racism and antisemitism, as in the case of Drs. Manduca and Swee Ang, with specific reference to their promotion of the David Duke video and other antisemitic materials;
- Publication of non-scientific opinion letters, articles, and other material that demonizes Israel and grossly distorts the Arab-Israeli conflict, such as the July 2014 “An Open Letter for the People of Gaza”;
- Publication of scientific articles and abstracts referring to Israel 1 in the absence of a blind peer review process;
- Sponsorship and publication in any form of activities and related material, including those involving political advocacy NGOs, from which professionally qualified Israelis are excluded.
In addition, it is important that The Lancet undertake positive initiatives to accurately inform the medical community of Israel’s contributions to medicine, as well as the close cooperation that takes place between different sectors of the population.
In order to accomplish these criteria and ensure their implementation, we urge the establishment of cooperative follow-up mechanisms regarding issues related to Israel and The Lancet, in order to prevent a return to the demonization of the past. In addition, it is important to review Lancet articles related to Israel published since 1 January 2001, determine whether and which articles fail to meet established scientific standards, and to issue retractions.