Dear DARA supporter,

Please take time to read the accompanying letter from a colleague and sign the petition if you agree.

DARA executive

August 3, 2014

As scientists, researchers, and medical practitioners, we were shocked and astounded to read the “Open letter for the people in Gaza” by Manduca et al in the 23 July issue of The Lancet. The article, written by a group of highly biased individuals who falsely claimed to have no conflicts of interest, accused Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The article is rife with political propaganda, is one-sided, and factually inaccurate. It even went so far as to suggest that Israel used ”gas” in Gaza, a claim even Hamas has not made.  It is obvious that this highly biased commentary was not subject to appropriate peer review let alone basic fact checking. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) provides guidance which Lancet supports that “editors must make an effort to screen discourteous, inaccurate, or libelous comments.” This letter should therefore never have been published in the Lancet, a medical journal dedicated to intellectual honesty, impartiality, and equal treatment for all peoples.Elsevier has stated that the responsibility for the decision to accept the open letter by Manduca et al rests with the Editor-in- Chief, Mr. Richard Horton. We fully agree. Richard Horton, the Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, has a long and public history of anti-Israeli views and activism on behalf of various Palestinian causes (see ). He is, of course, entitled to his political opinions.  What is not acceptable is the hijacking of a prestigious medical journal in advancement of a personal political agenda.

For Elsevier and the Lancet, organizations which profess to uphold the principle of unbiased scientific reporting, the publication of this highly biased political piece represents an affront to all decent people, and is contrary to the core principles of the practice of medicine. Elsevier, as the publisher, bears ultimate responsibility for the publication of this prejudiced and defamatory piece, which is contrary to Elsevier’s own stated policy of publishing high quality information that avoids bias, defamation and conflict of interest.

Publication of this letter in the Lancet has generated outraged discourse among thousands of physicians and academicians who are considering various options available directed at Elsevier and The Lancet should matters not be corrected, including withdrawing as reviewers and editorialists; boycotting any future submissions to the journal; cancelling personal subscriptions; and engaging the media.

There is sufficient evidence that Mr. Horton has abused his position as Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet to advance his own political agenda. These actions are not commensurate with the ethics claimed by Elsevier and The Lancet and have severely tarnished the reputation of the journal.

We call on Elsevier to fully investigate the role played by Mr. Horton in the decision to publish the letter by Manduca et al and to take such actions as are appropriate directed at Mr. Horton, who we strongly believe should be dismissed as Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet.

Unless and until that occurs, we the undersigned (many of whom are active Lancet contributors), advise that we will not submit our scholarly work to The Lancet, will avoid citing articles from The Lancet in our publications, and will pledge not to serve as reviewers for the journal. Moreover, we will continue to mobilize the worldwide “free thinking” medical scientific community against The Lancet’s practice of publishing prejudicial political articles and thus indirectly supporting terrorist organizations.
The Lancet and your readers deserve better.

Jack L. Arbiser, M.D., Ph.D
Thomas J. Lawley Professor of Dermatology
Department of Dermatology
Emory University School of Medicine
Winship Cancer Institute
Atlanta Veterans Administration Health Center
101 Woodruff Circle
Atlanta, GA 30322
Tel 404 727 5063
Fax 404 727 5897

There are quite a few efforts going on at the moment, one of which I’m attaching below – an attempt at removing Dr. Horton from his position, which we believe he’s been abusing for far too long. If you agree, it would be great if you could forward the note to your network so that many more sign up at My colleagues hope to reach a critical mass before submitting their request to Elsevier and we need as much support as we can muster.
Jack L. Arbiser, M.D., Ph.D