Editorials

Politics, medical journals, the medical profession and the Israel lobby

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h2377 (Published 12 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2377
  1. John S Yudkin, emeritus professor of medicine1,
  2. Jennifer Leaning, director2
  1. 1University College London, London, UK
  2. 2François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA
  1. Correspondence to: J S Yudkin jyudkin{at}clara.co.uk

Criticism of the Israeli government does not necessarily equate with antisemitism

In April, Reed Elsevier, publishers of the Lancet, received a complaint written by Professor Mark Pepys and signed by 396 physicians and scientists, including five Nobel Laureates.1 They protested that the Lancet was being used for political purposes and for “publication of deliberately false material which deepens polarization between Israelis and Palestinians.”

The most recent example of what was termed this “political vendetta” was the July publication, during the latest Israeli assault on Gaza, of an “Open letter for the people in Gaza.”2 They wrote that the letter “contains false assertions and unverifiable dishonest ‘facts,’ many of them libellous,” and that its authors had failed to declare possible conflicts of interest. The complaint insisted that the July letter be retracted (disagreeing with the Lancet ombudsman’s decision3) and that it contravened the code of the Committee on Publication Ethics (disagreeing with a former chair of the committee4). It asked for the support of all scientists and clinicians “on whom they [Reed Elsevier] depend for their business,” adding “none of us is under any obligation to submit and review material for publication in their journals or to serve on their editorial or advisory boards.”

An email chain soliciting support for this complaint was more explicit.5 In it Pepys accused the July letter of “viciously attacking Israel with blood libels echoing those used for a thousand years to …

View Full Text

Sign in

Log in through your institution

Free trial

Register for a free trial to thebmj.com to receive unlimited access to all content on thebmj.com for 14 days.
Sign up for a free trial

Subscribe