The Lancet: A Biased and Shameful Medical Journal

March 11, 2012 5:06 pm 7 comments

First edition of The Lancet.

“The Lancet” is a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, which is described on parent company Elsevier’s, website as “the world’s leading independent general medical journal”, and as “stringently edited and peer-reviewed to ensure the scientific merit and clinical relevance of its diverse content.” Yet, on March 5 and 6, The Lancet hosted a two-day conference entitled “Health of Palestinians Inside and Outside the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” at The American University in Beirut, Lebanon – bias against Israel at its finest.

One wonders if The Lancet invited its many Jewish readers to the conference – and if they advised American participants that if they had an Israeli stamp in their passports, the Lebanese government wouldn’t permit their entrance into the country – as part of their peer review process. Lancet Editor Richard Horton presented the opening remarks where he “discussed research as a tool for social justice, equity and as means of addressing power and inequity in Palestine, in the refugee camps around the region,” and throughout the world.

Here is a list of some of the topics presented at this “independent” conference which is “peer-reviewed”:

  • “Effect of training counseling program on psychological stress among amputees in Gaza governorates, Palestine, during Gaza war.”
  • “Dignity and its components among Palestinian youth.”
  • “Physical and mental health of long-term Palestinian political prisoners”

The following suggested topics for the conference, may have brought a semblance of balance to the agenda:

  • “Psychological stress of families of suicide bombers induced to kill themselves by terrorist organizations.”
  • “Dignity and its components of Israeli victims of Arab terror”
  • “Physical and mental health of Palestinians tortured by Palestinians.”

During this conference there was not a mention of Israel’s top-notch medical and healthcare programs, nor of Israeli and Arab collaborations on medical programs in Israel. The full conference agenda may be found here.

Let’s look at some recent tweets by journal Editor Richard Horton, who can be found on twitter at: @richardhorton1

  • “800 000 Palestinians have been imprisoned on political grounds since 1967. Often on no charge and with no trial. And this is justice?”
  • “The Palestinian cry: ‘We want our country.’ For those of us who take our nations for granted, how can we be silent when we hear this plea?”

With woefully biased tweets like these, one wonders why this man is editing a medical journal rather than a political publication – and how Elsevier can permit the Editor of Lancet to host a biased conference, which woefully misrepresents the truth. Horton simply uses the Journal as a platform to express his personal opinions on Israel.

Some of the “peers” participating in the conference include:

  • Rema Afifi: Signatory to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to Choir of Clare College, Cambridge urging it to reconsider performing in Israel.
  • Majdi Ashour: A supporter of the Third Annual Palestine Solidarity and Divestment Conference at Rutgers, and a signatory to a petition which spoke of the Palestinian fight “against apartheid all over historic Palestine occupied in 1948″ and “ethnic supremacy and pursuit of purity” being carried out by Israel.

Owning a leading NY PR agency, with a number of healthcare clients publishing peer-related journals, I understand that a fundamental component of peer-reviewed journals is freedom from bias. Conferences and articles aren’t promoted or published without a clear declaration of conflict of interest by its authors or promoters. Why is it that Lancet publishes no such declarations, and why are they so openly biased against Israel’s existence?

One wonders why a medical publication would lower its bar to host a conference, which is so politically anti-Israel, biased against the Jewish state, and so far beyond the field of medicine. Why would they employ an Editor who tweets about political prisoners, and the “Palestinian cry for Justice?”

Anyone curious should contact the owners of Lancet and ask them and their advertisers if a medical journal should be anti-Israel:

Bill Godfrey is the Chief Information Officer: b.godfrey@elsevier.com, 212-633-3100

Anne Rosenthal is the Head of Public Relations: a.rosenthal@elsevier.com, 212-633-3812

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR agency and author of “For Immediate Release”, a PR book.

7 Comments

  • In the meantime Arabs are treated in Israeli Hospitals and The Arab Hospitals are free of Jews for your knowledge George T.

  • Shame on you Lancet you should be banned there is no such a thing as a PALESTINIAN objective research it is all biased

  • Can Algemeiner please explain why vocalizing the need for dignity and justice and good health of Palestinian amputees, children, and prisoners reveals an open bias against Israel’s existence? I am an American and I want dignity, justice, and good health for children of minorities, wounded vets from various wars that I consider unjust, and for prisoners who I believe are illegally held in Guantanamo Bay. My wanting these things does not, in my mind, bias me against the existence of the United States. I would like see the wrongs the United States has done redressed, just as I would like to see the wrongs done to the Palestinians redressed.

    Does seeking justice for one people necessarily mean threatening the existence of another?

    • Dr. Bella Ceruza

      Publishing the fate of Palestinians is not biased. However – by definition – if the following is not included in the same article it is biased –
      1. mentioning that Israel treats, trains and co-operates with all its neighbours, offers emergency aid in disasters, irrespective of politics is biased,
      2. failing to mention that Palestinians have received more international aid per capita than any group in history, but their leaders spend it on war and line their personal coffers with it,
      3. failing to mention the Palestinian patients treated gratis in Israeli hospitals have repaid Israel by returning as suicide bombers – eg Wafaa al Bass, a 21 yo female who return in 2005 with a bomb, intended for the outpatients dept of the hospital whose members saved her life and yet despite this,
      4. 180,000 Palestinians were treated in Israeli hospitals in one year,
      5. decrying the fate of Arab refugees without mentioning an equal number of Jews expelled from Arab lands as a result of the establishment of Israel, is biased,

  • obviously Mr. Torossian did not attend the conference,but excercising his divine right to zero tolerance to anything related to the Palestinians. The conference was a purely medical affair and of a high caliber at that.It dealt with the health status of the Palestinians. However you cannot dissociate that from the environment.It is an undisputable fact that the Palestinians are the last people on earth under occupation ,and yes ,check points, closure and siege do affect access to health care. The conference dealt with the role of NGO’S, PA, UNRWA etc in delivery of health care.
    And I was there

  • Horton hear who? Horton hears Hamas!

  • I just emailed Elsevier and emailed this to 400 people – Lancet is clearly biased and Anti-Israel and will ask Jewish doctors worldwide to act on this.

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