Richard Horton
Richard HortonRambam Hospital

Richard Horton, editor of the medical journal The Lancet, expressed deep regret Thursday for the publication of an "Open Letter for the People in Gaza" that many readers found to be so harsh as to constitute anti-Semitism.

"First,” he told an audience of hundreds at Rambam Hospital, “I deeply, deeply regret the completely unnecessary polarization that publication of the letter by Paolo Manduca caused."

Rambam invited Horton to see up close the Israeli medical world and its policies, which include devoted treatment of injured Palestinian Arabs and Syrians, cooperation between Jewish, Christians and Muslim hospital staffers, and advanced research and biotech.

Horton, it turned out, is a regular visitor to Israel. However, he said, this is the first time that he was “actually invited to visit an Israeli hospital.” He added that for him, the visit has been a turning point in his attitude to Middle East events.

Horton's three-day visit to Rambam included meetings with young Jewish and Arabs doctors, lectures of medical research and technological developments in Israel, and debates on ethics.

Two of the primary authors of the "Open Letter for the People in Gaza" were discovered to have promoted an anti-Semitic video by white supremacist David Duke; NGO Monitor said Horton's choice to visit Israel this week will not give him "immunity from the justifiable moral outrage of Israelis, the Jewish community, and medical professionals."

Rambam Hospital said the purpose of Horton's visit "is to provide a venue for academic Israel’s multicultural medical institutions that have strong medical cooperation agreements with the Palestinian Authority (PA) to treat people from the West Bank and Gaza."

Watch: Richard Horton's lecture at Rambam Hospital