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A Qualified Victory over Anti-Semites at Britain’s Most Prestigious Medical Journal

Sept. 13 2017

Between 2001 and 2014, the Lancet, one of the world’s oldest scientific journals, published 264 articles on Palestinians or the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Instead of reporting on any medical research, most libelously blamed the Jewish state for medical problems among Palestinians. This stopped abruptly in 2014 when, after extended pressure, the editor, Richard Horton, visited Israel, spending time at a Haifa hospital and meeting with physicians. At the end of his visit, he gave a speech expressing “regret” over one particularly grotesque open letter during that year’s Gaza war and acknowledging that he had greatly misunderstood Israel—although he has yet to apologize explicitly or retract any of the malicious articles that previously appeared. Gerald Steinberg examines this story and what lesson can be drawn from it:

[T]he publication of the [2014] Gaza letter and the criticism of its crudely anti-Semitic dimensions made the systematic demonization of Israel and support for the Palestinian cause too costly. The effort led by major medical and scientific figures to convince Reed Elsevier, the Lancet’s publisher, to remove Horton as editor was a tangible threat that had continued for a number of years. The attempts by his old allies to counter this pressure were insufficient, and Horton apparently realized that to maintain his position, he had to reverse course. . . .

In looking beyond Horton to other cases in which scientific and medical professionals abuse their positions to promote anti-Semitism and false allegations that demonize Israel, “naming and shaming” can play a central role when there is sufficient leverage. Horton’s public reputation was important to him, and as soon as he saw that this reputation was endangered, he moved to limit the damage.

In contrast, Steven Rose—a British professor of biology and a leader of the anti-Israel academic boycott—embraced his radical reputation, including demonization of Israel. There was no source of leverage on Rose—he could not be forced out of his position over his political actions. . . .

[Thus], while naming and shaming worked in the case of the Lancet, particularly because of Horton’s lack of due diligence in vetting crudely anti-Semitic authors, . . . it is difficult to extend the same approach to other examples. The case of Horton and the Lancet are important for understanding political warfare, but at the same time, the ability to apply the relevant tactics and strategy is limited.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Israel & Zionism, Lancet

Germany’s Bid to Keep Israel off the UN Security Council

March 21 2018

The Jewish state has never held a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. For the first 50 years of its existence, it was denied membership in any of the UN’s regional groups, which control candidacies for these rotating seats. Then it was finally admitted to the Western European and Others Group, which promptly agreed to wait another twenty years before approving Jerusalem for a Security Council candidacy. Now, Benny Avni notes, Germany is poised to block action:

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More about: Germany, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-German relations, United Nations