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

In Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Can Learn from Ronald Reagan

When Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981, the consensus was that, with regard to the Soviet Union, two responsible policy choices presented themselves: détente, or a return to the Truman-era policy of containment. Reagan, however, insisted that the USSR’s influence could not just be checked but rolled back, and without massive bloodshed. A decade later, the Soviet empire collapsed entirely. In crafting a policy toward the Islamic Republic today, David Ignatius urges the current president to draw on Reagan’s success:

A serious strategy to roll back Iran would begin with Syria. The U.S. would maintain the strong military position it has established east of the Euphrates and enhance its garrison at Tanf and other points in southern Syria. Trump’s public comments suggest, however, that he wants to pull these troops out, the sooner the better. This would all but assure continued Iranian power in Syria.

Iraq is another key pressure point. The victory of militant Iraqi nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr in [last week’s] elections should worry Tehran as much as Washington. Sadr has quietly developed good relations with Saudi Arabia, and his movement may offer the best chance of maintaining an Arab Iraq as opposed to a Persian-dominated one. But again, that’s assuming that Washington is serious about backing the Saudis in checking Iran’s regional ambitions. . . .

The Arabs, [however], want the U.S. (or Israel) to do the fighting this time. That’s a bad idea for America, for many reasons, but the biggest is that there’s no U.S. political support for a war against Iran. . . .

Rolling back an aggressive rival seems impossible, until someone dares to try it.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Cold War, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy