Financial Times downplays antisemitism of Lancet letter writer

A Financial Times interview last month with Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal Lancet, on Britain’s response to coronavirus (“Richard Horton: ‘It’s the biggest science policy failure in a generation’”, April 24) included the following paragraphs.

Horton has to be one of Britain’s longest-serving editors. He joined The Lancet in 1990 and was appointed editor-in-chief five years later, aged just 33. He makes no apology for being overtly political….The idea you can strip out politics from medicine or health is historically ignorant. The medical establishment should be much more politicised, not less, in attacking issues like health inequalities and poor access to care.”

Accordingly, Horton has shone the light of The Lancet on a range of political causes: he has praised the climate protest group Extinction Rebellion, urging healthcare workers to join non-violent protest; he published an emotively worded letter in support of the people of Gaza penned by a geneticist in Italy later accused of having anti-Semitic sympathies;

Leaving aside Horton’s extremely telling belief that the medical establishment should be “more politicised”, note that two of the signatories weren’t merely “accused” of having antisemitic sympathies, as the FT journalist writes.  As we’ll demonstrate, they clearly demonstrated antisemitic sympathies.

Further, the way the sentence is worded, readers could reach the false conclusion that ‘accusations’ of antisemitism stemmed from their pro-Gaza letter, when, in fact, the row concerning two of the signatories, Dr Paola Manduca and Dr Swee Ang, centered around the fact they had shared antisemitic conspiracy videos.

Here’s what the Telegraph reported at the time:

“…cache of emails openly available in Google groups show that two of the authors, Dr Paola Manduca and Dr Swee Ang, have sympathies with the views of David Duke, a white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard.

Dr Swee Ang, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Dr Manduca, a professor of genetics at the University of Genoa in Italy – who are both members of pro-Palestine NGOs – sent round-robin emails to their contacts promoting a video entitled “CNN Goldman Sachs & the Zio Matrix”.

The video features an extended anti-Semitic rant by Duke, in which he claims that “the Zionist Matrix of Power controls Media, Politics and Banking” and that “some of the Jewish elite practices racism and tribalism to advance their supremacist agenda”.

Dr Ang wrote: “This is a shocking video please watch. This is not about Palestine – it is about all of us!”

In another email, Dr Manduca forwarded a message alleging that the Boston marathon bombings were in fact carried out by Jews. “Let us hope that someone in the FBI us smart enough to look more carefully at the clues in Boston and find the real culprits behind these bombings instead of buying the Zionist spin”, it said.

Elsewhere, she shared an article comparing the Jewish state to a “strangler fig”, which grows around other trees and takes their sunlight, often resulting in the death of the original trees.

If sharing material advancing classic antisemitic conspiracy theories of a notorious white supremacist isn’t unambiguous evidence of antisemitism, then nothing is.

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