Recently, Lancet published a correspondence, “An Open Letter for the People of Gaza,” a highly partisan, demonstrably inaccurate and defamatory representation of the violence now taking place between the Israel Defense Forces and the terrorist group Hamas (1). The authors declared they had no competing interests but Stall et al, (2) have pointed out that that two of the co-authors have affiliations with pro-Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In fact that barely scratches the surface in terms of the potentially biasing conflicts. For one example, the letter’s first author, Paolo Manduca received funding from several anti-Israel NGOs including Interpal (3), which has been designated as a terrorist entity by the governments of the United States, Canada and Australia (4). US Federal authorities describe the organization as a global clearinghouse channeling money to Hamas and a BBC investigation came to the same conclusion (5 -7). Interpal is a founding member of the so-called “Union of Good,” an umbrella organization, which funds Islamic terrorists in Gaza (8). Its leader, Yussef al- Qaradawi, is a notorious jihadist who has publically lauded Hitler for “putting Jews in their place” and has said of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “We must plant the love of death and the love of martyrdom in the Islamic nation.” The organization actively encourages Palestinian children to become martyrs and suicide bombers (5-7). Manduca not only receives funding from Interpal but also raises money for it (9).
Is it any wonder, therefore, that Manduca is a signatory to the “Appeal for the removal of Hamas from the EU terror list” (10) and that her co-author, Mads Gilbert, is on record for supporting terror attacks against civilians including the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center (11) which took the lives of nearly 3000 innocent civilians? These revelations totally belie the authors’ description of themselves as merely “doctors and scientists, who spend our lives developing means to care and protect health and lives” A least some of them are, in fact, doctors and scientist who have intellectual and financial links to terrorist entities with genocidal agendas. In violating Lancet’s published Declaration of Interests policy (12), Manduca et al, deprived Lancet readers of crucial contextual information with which to judge their polemical correspondence.
In light of these egregious omissions, Lancet must immediately retract the Manduca et al. letter in accordance with its own stated policy on such violations. Anything less would only add to the damage that has been done to Lancet’s credibility by its editorial decision to publish this scurrilous correspondence which has been likened to a blood-libel against the people of Israel (13,14); a decision which also violated both Elsevier’s editorial policy of avoiding material that contains inaccuracy, bias and defamation (15) and the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) – of which Lancet is a member – which states: “editors must make an effort to screen discourteous, inaccurate, or libelous comments” (16).
David Feifel, MD, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry,
University of California, San Diego
Declaration of interest
DF is a member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), a co-founder and Board Member of Southern California Yeshiva, High School and has family members currently serving the Israel Defense Forces.
- Manduca P, Chalmers I, Summerfield D, Gilbert M, Ang S. An open letter for the people in Gaza. Lancet 2014; 384: 397-398.
- Stall NM, Berger PB, Ray JG, Bogler T, Bell, C on behalf of 1234 Canadian physicians. Open letter for the people in Gaza—more than a military conflict Lancet, 2014; 384:398 – 399
- Manduca P, Naim A, Signoriello S. Specific association of teratogen and toxicant metals in hair of newborns with congenital birth defects or developmentally premature birth in a cohort of couples with documented parental exposure to military attacks: observational study at Al Shifa Hospital, Gaza, Palestine. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 May 14;11(5):5208-23..
- U.S. Designates Five Charities Funding Hamas and Six Senior Hamas Leaders as Terrorist Entities, Department of Treasury,8/22/2003 http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js672.aspxPage Content
- Matthew Levitt Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad, Yale Press, p157-164; http://books.google.com/books?id=Min9VpiravsC&pg=PA158&dq=interpal&hl=en&sa=X&ei=DATeU9y3FoSCogTX9YG4BQ&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=interpal&f=false
- US Department of Treasury, Treasury Designates the Union of Good, 11/ 12 /2008 http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/pages/hp1267.aspx
- Appeal for the removal of Hamas from the EU terror list! http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article22138.htm
- The Lancet Information for Authors http://www.thelancet.com/lancet-information-for-authors/statements-permissions-signatures#conflicts-of-interest
- Israel advocates get little space to respond to epistle in ‘The Lancet’ Jersusalem Post, http://www.jpost.com/Health-and-Science/Israel-advocates-get-little-space-to-respond-to-epistle-in-The-Lancet-369648
- Cravatts, R, Academic Lies and Distortions in the Cognitive War Against Israel, SPME http://spme.org/spme-research/academic-lies-distortions-cognitive-war-israel/18116/ | SPME
- Reed Elsevier Editorial Policy http://www.reedelsevier.com/corporateresponsibility/Documents/policies/reed-elsevier-editorial-policy.pdf
- Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication, Updated February 2006; International Committee of Medical Journal Editors http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/archives/2006_urm.pdf