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


Israel’s Economy Thrives While the Middle East Disintegrates

Jan. 19 2018

Now that the data have come in from 2017, it is clear that the Israeli economy had another successful year, expanding at a rate higher than that of any other advanced country. Israel’s per-capita GDP also grew, placing it above those of France and Japan. Daniel Kryger notes some of the implications regarding the Jewish state’s place in the Middle East:

The contrast between first-world Israel and the surrounding third-world Arab states is larger today than ever before. Israel’s GDP per capita is almost twenty times the GDP per capita of impoverished Egypt and five times larger than semi-developed Lebanon.

Like any human project, Israel is a never-ending work in progress and much work remains to integrate ḥaredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into Israel’s knowledge economy. Properly addressing Israel’s high costs of living requires more economic and legislative reforms and breaking up inefficient oligopolies that keep the prices artificially high. However, by any standard, the reborn Jewish state is a remarkable success story. . . .

Much has changed since OPEC launched its oil embargo against the West after the failed Arab aggression against Israel in October 1973. Before the collapse of the pro-Arab Soviet empire, China and India had no official ties with Israel and many Western and Japanese companies avoided doing business with Israel. Collapsing oil prices have dramatically eroded the power of oil-producing countries. It has become obvious that the future belongs to those who innovate, not those who happen to sit on oil. Israel has today strong commercial ties with China and a thriving partnership with India. Business delegations from Jamaica to Japan are eager to do business with Israel and benefit from Israel’s expertise. . . .

[For its part], the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement may bully Jewish and pro-Israel students on Western campuses. However, in real life, BDS stands no chance of succeeding against Israel. The reason is simple: reborn Israel has . . . become too valuable a player in the global economy.

Read more at Mida

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy, Middle East, OPEC