August 05, 2014
Mr. Richard Horton
Ms. Rebecca Cooney
North American Editor
Dear Mr. Horton and Ms. Cooney:
The Lancet has failed its readership and sullied its reputation by publishing a one-sided perspective of the recent hostilities resulting from Hamas’s indiscriminate firing of thousands of missiles and rockets at millions of Israeli civilians in “An Open Letter for the People of Gaza” (July 23).
The “Letter,” is unabashedly propagandistic, charging Israel – including Israeli physicians – with full culpability for the situation in Gaza. Its failure to even reference Hamas actions, much less the 3,000 rockets it has fired at Israeli cities, and the diversion of tens of millions of dollars and material that should have gone to improve the lives of Gazans to build dozens of tunnels for the sole purpose of attacking Israeli civilians, speaks to its obvious bias.
Certainly, as editors of The Lancet you have the right to determine if you wish your journal to become a vehicle for partisan, highly politicized screeds on the issues of the day. However, we believe that when you choose to do so, you have a responsibility to your readers to provide some context, and some balance. 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.
The subsequent posting of “related correspondence” certainly does not give the respondents the same important platform and visibility as the original posting.
Abraham H. Foxman