(JTA) — The Lancet will not retract a letter slamming Israeli policy in Gaza in light of evidence tying two of the authors to support for white supremacist David Duke.
The British medical journal’s editor, Dr. Richard Horton, dismissed evidence that two of the five authors of “An open letter for the people of Gaza,” published in the August issue, had distributed a video by Duke, according to The Telegraph. Horton called the revelations “utterly irrelevant” and “a smear campaign.”
The letter described Israel’s Gaza campaign as “a massacre” and “a ruthless assault.”
NGO Monitor, a media watchdog, unearthed emails of Dr. Paola Manduca, a geneticist at the University of Genoa, and Dr. Swee Ang, an orthopedic surgeon, forwarding a video titled “CNN, Goldman Sachs, and the Zio Matrix” in which Duke accuses Jewish banking, media and political figures of conspiring to create “an unholy tribal alliance.” Duke has had ties to the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups.
In her email, Ang writes, “This is shocking video please watch. This is not about Palestine — it is about all of us!”
Manduca also forwarded an article suggesting that a Jewish conspiracy may have been behind the Boston Marathon bombings.
In response to questions from the Telegraph, Manduca denied being anti-Semitic, but added, “I legitimately use my right of freedom of opinion and do not agree or value the politics of the government of Israel, nor of many others, including Jews in and out of Israel.”
Ang, in turn, told the Telegraph, “I didn’t know who David Duke was, or that he was connected to the Ku Klux Klan. I am concerned that if there is any truth in the video, that Jews control the media, politics and banking, what on earth is going on? I was worried.”
Lancet’s refusal to withdraw the letter in light of the new information has drawn condemnations from respected figures in the British medical establishment.
Mark Pepys, director of the Wolfson Drug Discovery Unit at University College London, wrote that “Horton’s behavior in this case is consistent with his longstanding and wholly inappropriate use of The Lancet as a vehicle for his own extreme political views,” according to the Telegraph.
Pepys added, “It has greatly detracted from the former high standing of the journal.”
Horton dismissed the criticism.
“I don’t honestly see what all this has to do with the Gaza letter,” he told the Telegraph. “I have no plans to retract the letter, and I would not retract the letter even if it was found to be substantiated.”