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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.

Read more at Tower

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

The Movement to Return Jewish Worship to the Temple Mount Has Gone Mainstream

Sept. 25 2017

During the eruption of violence against Israelis in Jerusalem this summer, and the subsequent struggle over metal detectors, the Islamic authorities briefly boycotted the Temple Mount. As a result, Jewish visitors, normally prohibited from praying there, immediately began to do so. Meir Soloveichik puts the episode in context and describes its meaning:

The Temple Mount is fast becoming a pilgrimage site for religious Jews. In the past, most abstained from visiting out of concern that they might enter a sacred area in a state of ritual impurity, but many now believe that, with a knowledge of the layout, history, and religious laws pertaining to the location, it is permissible to visit certain parts of the Temple Mount plaza. They thus visit the site under religious guidance—immersing first in a ritual bath, or mikveh—and tread only in specific areas. What was once a trickle of pilgrims has become a stream, and this year they numbered in the many thousands. . . .

[Indeed, a] sea change has taken place in the past fifteen years: . . . the segment of Jews visiting the Temple Mount is becoming more and more mainstream, supported by rabbis noted for their liberalism in social or religious affairs. . . .

Visiting Jews were, for a brief and brilliant moment [this summer], able to utter several words of prayer without interference. The Israeli media published photos of a diverse group of Jews standing on the Temple Mount reciting the kaddish, so close to where their ancestors, on Yom Kippur, had once stood listening to the high priest pronounce the Name of God. Soon after this kaddish, the [status quo ante] returned; Jews again were no longer free to pray at the site toward which all Jewish prayer has been directed for thousands of years. But images of that one unimpeded kaddish remain; to study them is to look back on the miraculous and heartbreaking past half-century in Jerusalem, to celebrate what has been achieved, and to mourn what might have been.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Judaism, Palestinian terror, Religion & Holidays, Temple Mount