Friday, 1 August 2014

Re: Exposing the Fig Leaf Covering Anti-Semitism - 3: Victor Khabie's Rebuttal

Courtesy of R Eli Kohl -
«Thanks, Mr. Horton, for your continued willingness to discuss with me this matter.  I appreciate your engagement and the seriousness of the matter at hand for the world community.

In your reply, in which you provided a litany of Palestinian grievances, I'm afraid that you've missed my point (and, indeed THE point) by failing to separate the message from the forum in which it was delivered.

Expressing the points of view contained in your article in LANCET seems contrary to the express mission of the publication.  In particular, LANCET's is supposed to be a publication that is "independent, without affiliation to a medical or scientific organization [that] seek[s] to publish high-quality clinical trials that will alter medical practice…" The mission further asserts that LANCET is committed to "critical appraisal of research".

I wonder what research you've done, from a medical perspective, upon all unfortunate souls caught up in this tragedy.  An article that is written without fealty to the point of view of one combatant group, that is truly independent, would not focus solely upon the adverse effects of warfare on that one combatant group.  If, as the LANCET editor, you truly exhibited "a zeal to counter the forces that undermine the values of medicine, be they political, social, or commercial", you would have been forced to take into consideration all of the human aspects of this terrible tragedy. However, your article does not address the psychological impact on a population that has been shelled over 2,000 times over the last two weeks by a terrorist organization which, as part of its charter, vows to wipe Israel off the map. Which also targets civilians and has detonated numerous suicide bombs over the years.
Such a one-sided article is like writing about a very sick patient in the ICU with multi-system organ failure and focusing on just his renal insufficiency. If you where a specialist (a nephrologist, say), that is all you would focus on.  But if, you were the critical care specialist in charge of that patient's well being, you would focus on the whole patient, not just his kidneys. You are just focusing on one part of this tragic situation while disregarding the events leading up to it. Disregarding rockets being hidden in civilian areas, hidden in UN facilities, in hospitals and schools. As an issue of national security, the tunnels must not only be destroyed, but the ability to create new tunnels must also be neutralized. I could go on and on.....
Reed Elsevier, LANCET's owner, asserts in its mission statement that it helps "scientists make new discoveries…[and] doctors save lives". Choosing to serve as a Western proxy for a contested point of view certainly does not align with that mission.

You've brushed your political point of view with the patina of free expression.  The phrase "freedom of speech" is not to be taken lightly in a country governed by the First Amendment and isn't a silver bullet for the validation of unexamined and one-sided points of view. As I suggested at the beginning of this note, you've confused the message with the forum.  Even our Supreme Court has recognized that the manner, place and time of expression are relevant optics for analyzing whether or not speech can be regulated.  One can't shout "FIRE" in a crowded theater on a lark when there's no fire and escape liability for the physical harm caused by the resulting stampede by shrugging their shoulders while weakly uttering "hey, free speech man".   
The forum IS relevant and LANCET is not the forum for one-sided political speech.

I trust that we both find racism odious.   I also trust that we'd recognize a racist's free speech rights on a soap box in Hyde Park.  But, we'd also both be troubled by their expression, couched in medical jargon, in LANCET. And for this reason, I find that LANCET's legitimacy and credibility are at risk. Certainly, I won't be able to continue to read a medical publication that does not apply equal rigor to all that it chooses to publish.
Victor Khabie, MD, FAAOS, FACS
Somers Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group

Kol Tuv,

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