The Lancet’s Latest Abuse of Medicine for Political Ends

Media Objectivity First Aid for The Lancet

UK medical journal The Lancet has a history of politicizing medicine in the cause of bashing Israel. In 2010, the journal employed active supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel as supposedly expert commentators on the situation, which earned it a 2010 Dishonest Reporter Award. Lancet editor Richard Horton even posted a snide response aimed at HonestReporting. A further examination in 2013 revealed more anti-Israel bias. So, in the midst of an Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, The Lancet’s publication of an “open letter for the people in Gaza” comes as no surprise. That radical Israel hater and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Mads Gilbert is one of the signatories is enough to signal just how politicized the letter is:

We are doctors and scientists, who spend our lives developing means to care and protect health and lives. We are also informed people; we teach the ethics of our professions, together with the knowledge and practice of it. We all have worked in and known the situation of Gaza for years.

 

On the basis of our ethics and practice, we are denouncing what we witness in the aggression of Gaza by Israel.

 

We ask our colleagues, old and young professionals, to denounce this Israeli aggression. We challenge the perversity of a propaganda that justifies the creation of an emergency to masquerade a massacre, a so-called “defensive aggression”. In reality it is a ruthless assault of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity. We wish to report the facts as we see them and their implications on the lives of the people.

That The Lancet includes a link at the end of the letter to another open letter to Israeli academics hosted on an openly anti-Israel website merely confirms that the medical journal is more concerned with campaigning against Israel rather than medical norms.

 

As for the contents and charges laid out in the letter itself, these are well answered in The Times of Israel by doctors Hillel S. Maresky MD, Sigal Tal MD, Anna Ben Ely MD, Boris Macogan MD, and Laurian Copel MD of Israel’s Assaf Harofeh Medical Center:

In keeping with our ethics and practice, we denounce the July 23, 2014 publication in The Lancet Early Online Publication of the piece authored by “Manduca, Chalmers, et al.” This “article” was not only non-scientific, but inflammatory and political as well. There is no place in any medical and scientific journal for such slanted and politically charged drivel.

 

We were flabbergasted that such an established Journal as The Lancet, under the auspices of Elsevier Ltd, would print an article written by Mads Gilbert, who was quoted in 2001 as supporting the terrorist acts of 9/11 against the United States, and when asked whether or not he supports terror acts, responded “Terror is a poor weapon, but my answer is yes, within the context I have mentioned.”

 

. . .

 

We are urging the informed Lancet reader not to be complicit in this crime against the intellect and not to subscribe to the mindless and hateful hokum of these terrorist sympathizers, which has so unfortunately been published by The Lancet. We urge The Lancet not to publish this internet letter in print, as not to insult our humanity, intelligence, and dignity. This literary massacre committed against The Lancet’s integrity highlights the impotence of the scientific community to adhere to the Hippocratic Oath it swears to “preserve the purity of my life and my arts.”

Read the full article in The Times of Israel.

Image: CC BY-SA HonestReporting, flickr/Eric Schmuttenmaer

 

If you are a certified medical professional, please administer a dose of medicine by sending your considered comments to The Lancet’s Ombudsman, Wisia Wedzicha –ombudsman@lancet.com

 


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