New York, NY, August 5, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today strongly condemned an “open letter” on Gaza printed in what is considered to be one of the world’s leading medical journals. The letter, which charged Israel and Israeli physicians with full culpability for the situation in Gaza, appears in The Lancet online medical journal, a publication of Elsevier Ltd.
“The Lancet has failed its readership and sullied its reputation by publishing a one-sided perspective on the recent hostilities resulting from Hamas’s indiscriminate firing of missiles and rockets at millions of Israeli civilians,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “The open letter is unabashedly propagandistic, charging Israel with full culpability for the situation in Gaza and failing to even reference Hamas actions. The outrageousness of this editorial choice was compounded by the editor’s decision to allow their web site to be used to collect more than 20,000 signatures in support of the letter and suggests The Lancet itself was part of this hideous campaign.”
Posted on July 23, “An open letter for the people in Gaza” was initially signed by 24 individuals who identified themselves as “doctors and scientists, who spend our lives developing means to care and protect health and lives. While referring to Israeli “aggression” in Gaza and “a ruthless assault of unlimited duration, extent and intensity,” the open letter made no reference to the 3,000 rockets Hamas has fired at Israeli cities or the dozens of terrorist tunnels constructed by Hamas for the purpose of attacking Israeli civilians.
In a letter to Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet, ADL questioned the decision for a leading medical journal to take a one-sided position on a political conflict and to allow their journal to become a vehicle for partisan, highly politicized screeds.
“Running the letter without an accompanying statement from others with opposing perspectives, such as Israeli physicians or others with experience on the ground highlighting conditions in Israel, is contrary to the basic elements of fairness,” Mr. Foxman said.
The letter appeared on The Lancet website without any counter-perspective and, initially, the publication was encouraging readers to add their names. As of July 30, the website had garnered 20,000 signatures before the signing function was shut down. The Lancet has since posted a handful of letters in response to the Gaza open letter on its website.