JERUSALEM — The editor of the British medical journal The Lancet, which ran an open letter accusing Israel of a “massacre” in Gaza, said on a visit to Israel that he will publish a retraction.
Dr. Richard Horton made a statement Oct. 2 during Grand Rounds at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, which he also visited earlier in the week.
Horton reportedly said during his statement that he “deeply, deeply regrets” publishing the letter to the people of Gaza in The Lancet during this summer’s conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. Several dozen physicians from the West signed the letter, which also accused Israel of “cruel” and “vicious war crimes.” Physicians, researchers and Israeli officials decried the letter.
NGO Monitor last week unearthed evidence tying two of the letters’ authors to support for white supremacist David Duke.
During his statement at Rambam on Thursday, Horton reportedly condemned the contributors to The Lancet who promote explicitly anti-Semitic materials, expressed a new understanding of Israeli realities including the complexities of the Arab-Israel conflict, and pledged a new relationship with Israel.
He also invited Israelis to “tell the Israeli health story” in The Lancet, in parallel to the Palestinians’.
"“I don’t think it’s appropriate for medicine, for science, to be exploited for politicking and for the promotion of hate, and for me that’s what crossed the line in this instance,” one of the letter's co-authors, University of Toronto resident physician Nathan Stall, told The CJN at the time.
Following Horton’s remarks, NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute which monitors non-governmental organizations, said in a statement that it is “urgent that the July 2014 “An Open Letter for the People of Gaza” be removed from The Lancet’s website and a formal retraction and apology be published prominently, both on the website and the next hard copy issue.”
NGO Monitor also called on The Lancet to “undertake positive initiatives to accurately inform the medical community of Israel’s contributions to medicine, as well as the close cooperation that takes place between different sectors of the population.”