The “occupation” of medical journals by pro-Israel professionals without any “preoccupation” about health issues
I am the author, with 23 other health and science professionals, of an Open Letter for the People in Gaza (1) published in The Lancet on 22 July 2014. The letter prompted friends of Israel in the medical profession to demand the dismissal of the magazine’s editor, Dr Richard Horton and the withdrawal of the publication; there was also a defamation campaign against the authors.
Neither of the first two demands succeeded, but a smear campaign against the letter’s signatories continues. A recent letter by a group of doctors led by Dr M Pepys (2) unleashed again the defamatory accusation against myself and my fellow signatories as well as Dr Horton. An invited comment by J Yudkin and J Leaning (3) in the British Medical Journal supported the decision by The Lancet to publish and was followed by a number of smear letters in the BMJ against us (referenced as responses in 4), taking advantage of the duty for the journal to publish responses.
Here I will write about facts and the lack of facts, and the absence of intellectual, moral and professional adequacy. First, though, some context behind the original letter.
My main concern in asking colleagues to co-author the open letter, after the first 10 days of Israel’s attacks on Gaza last summer, was to draw attention to what was the predictable great loss of civilians lives and damage to health in the already fragile situation that the Palestinians in Gaza find themselves in.