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October 20, 2014

The Lancet Editor Reconsiders Israel

In a significant about face, Dr. Richard Horton, the editor of the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, published an article on October 11 reflecting on his recent visit to Israel and announcing several policy initiatives the journal will now undertake which will more accurately reflect the Israeli medical system and deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Horton’s visit to Israel and his written reflections came in the aftermath of a firestorm that met The Lancet’s posting on July 23 of a highly one-sided, propagandistic  “Open Letter for the People of Gaza,”  condemning Israeli “aggression” in Gaza and charging Israel and Israeli physicians with full culpability for the situation in Gaza.    The letter, signed by 24 individuals who identified themselves as “doctors and scientists, who spend our lives developing means to care and protect health and lives” (many of whom have been strongly critical of Israel for a long time), appeared on The Lancet website without any counter-perspective and, initially, the publication encouraged readers to add their names. As of July 30, the website had garnered 20,000 signatures before the signing function was shut down. The Lancet later posted a handful of letters in response to the Gaza open letter on its website, including many by Israeli physicians and medical professionals.

Controversy over the letter raged at the height of the Israel-Hamas conflict, with many, including ADL, calling into questions Dr. Horton’s decision to feature such a “partisan” and “highly politicized screed.”

In September, Horton, invited by Professor Karl Skorecki of the Rambam Hospital in Haifa, decided to visit Israel for the first time. (See a video of his speech at Rambam below.)   The reality of Israel apparently took Dr. Horton by surprise.  He writes:

At Rambam I saw an inspiring model of partnership between Jews and Arabs in a part of Israel where 40% of the population is Arab. I saw Rambam offering an open hand, gladly grasped by families from Gaza, the West Bank, and Syria, who were living with life-threatening health-care needs. I saw Rambam as one example of a vision for a peaceful and productive future between peoples, which I learned exists throughout Israel’s hospitals.

Significantly, Dr. Horton admitted :  “I have seen for myself that what was written in the Manduca et al letter does not describe the full reality.”

He also laid out new guidelines for the editors to more thoroughly review the “interests” of authors, as well as consider how to approach potentially divisive and polarizing content, and announced plans for a Lancet series on Israel’s health and medical system.

In a letter to Dr. Horton, ADL commended his article and statements and requested that a link to it appear prominently alongside the “Open Letter” which can still be found on The Lancet website.   ADL also noted that:

In your October 11 article you state that “…The Lancet opposes all forms of boycott.”   You may be aware that numerous anti-Israel resolutions presented in universities, professional associations and the like – including those calling for boycotts of and divestment from Israel – cite material from The Lancet in bolstering their advocacy.  We urge you to speak out against all efforts to link The Lancet to advocacy in favor of boycotting Israel, its academics and professionals.

Dr. Horton says he will return to Israel in January 2015.  Medical professional around the world will watch with interest what might result from this new awareness and openness to Israel.


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October 8, 2014

Moroccan Islamic Union-Mail Now Hacking For ISIS

The Moroccan Islamic Union-Mail hacker group, which targeted Jew­ish web­sites in the United States in support of Hamas during Operation Protective Edge, has claimed credit for hacking into the Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s website on Monday.moroccan-union -islamic-electronic-mail-google

Visitors to the academy website were redirected to a site that featured an image of an apparent cemetery for American soldiers with a message that reads: “Iraq is the graveyard of America. Welcome to the death that awaits you at the hand of the Mujahedeen in Iraq.” The site also includes an audio clip of an Islamic Jihadist song that glorified Islamic conquests.

In August, the Moroccan Islamic Union-Mail’s Facebook page included statements threatening the U.S .with cyber-attacks in response to the American military operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The statement read:

After focusing on Israeli targets during the aggression on Gaza, the Moroccan Islamic Union-mail declares targeting important websites in America in support of the Iraqi people and in response to the American airstrikes.

The Facebook page, which has since been removed, featured various comments and images expressing solidarity with ISIS and condemning military intervention in Iraq.

The group uses various online platforms to claim responsibility for its hacks and to promote its views, including an Arabic-language blog, a YouTube channel and various Facebook pages that claim to be affiliated.

ADL first exposed the group’s hacking efforts in July after several Jewish institutional websites were hacked by the group.

The group has also claimed responsibility for hacking the website of the Nepalese embassy in the U.S. Its claim of responsibility read: “The Moroccan Islamic Union-mail hacks the embassy of Nepal in America and pulls several data. We will attack the interests of America worldwide, with God’s willing, to respond to the American air strikes against the Iraqi people.”

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August 28, 2014

Ferguson = Gaza: Manufacturing A False Comparison


Protesters on the Manhattan Bridge

See also: Ferguson = Gaza: The Continued Invocation Of A False Comparison

As events in Gaza and high profile police brutality cases have continued to dominate recent headlines, a number of groups and individuals have tried to find a connection between these unrelated events in an attempt to bring attention to their activism.

Several anti-Israel groups have couched their hostility towards Israel in social justice terms by linking the conflict in Gaza to the events in Ferguson in an attempt to appeal to a broader base of support. For example:

  • Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine advertised a September 2 event on Facebook: “From Ferguson to Palestine, racism, injustice and human rights violations are being committed against people of color.”
  • The Ohio Palestine Solidarity Group sponsored an August 25 demonstration at Ohio State University’s African American and African Studies Community Extension Center, “to show our love and support for members of our Columbus community who have lost innocent loved ones in Gaza in recent Israeli attacks, to stand in solidarity with Michael Brown, John Crawford, and victims of racism and police brutality all over the US…”
  • At protests in Oakland on August 23, anti-Israel protesters reportedly shouted, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” co-opting the chant used at Ferguson protests
  • An advertisement for an August 22 Indiana Palestine Solidarity event on Facebook read: “The disregard and disrespect for black bodies and black life is endemic to the white supremacist system that rules the land. Your struggles through the ages have been an inspiration to us as we fight daily for the most basic human dignities in our own homeland against the racist Zionist regime that considers us less human.”
  • On August 20, the Palestinian BDS National Committee issued a statement saying, “We recognize those tactics being used in Ferguson and the mentality behind them…the methods of unbri dled violence and control being used by security forces are all too familiar to Palestinians living under Israel’s decade-old occupation.”
  • On August 20, protesters on the Manhattan Bridge chanted, “From Ferguson to Palestine, occupation has got to go.” At least one protester held a sign that read “We are FERGUSON We are GAZA, because We are Human.”
  • In an August 20 press release, Jewish Voice for Peace stated, “We recognize that the devaluing of African-American lives built into the fabric of US government and society is mirrored in Israel’s unequal treatment of Palestinians…It’s also not surprising to see the similarity in the tactics and technologies of repression against those who are rising up nonviolently in both places.”

Protest in Staten Island

While some are simply trying to rouse support for an anti-Israel agenda by attracting like-minded activists, others have gone so far as to imply that Israel is to blame for the violence in Ferguson.

This allegation surfaced in a tweet by Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). On August 14, Parsi tweeted, “Wondering why the excessive police violence? Here’s a guess: #Ferguson police chief got training in Israel…#Gaza.” An August 15 article from San Francisco Bay View titled “Israel-trained police ‘occupy’ Missouri after killing of Black youth” echoed this sentiment.

Similar comparisons have appeared at protests regarding other high profile police brutality cases, such as at an August 23 rally calling for justice in the death of Eric Garner, who was unarmed when killed by an NYPD officer earlier this summer. Among the posters seen at the protest were “Google It!!! Israel trains the NYPD.”

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