defamation |?d?f??me??(?)n|noun [ mass noun ]
the action of damaging the good reputation of someone; slander or libel: she sued him for defamation.
I feel I was defamed in a Facebook comment yesterday by Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times. Her comment has now formed a central plank in direct and unfounded attacks on my character. I am now being accused by others of calling for child murder: in effect a modern blood libel has sprung from her ill thought out comment.
Jodi Rudoren asked me “to refrain from violent, threatening messages.” I made no such threats. Here’s the context.
I would like a public retraction from Jodi Rudoren on Facebook.
Yesterday I followed a link from Facebook to an article in the New York Times. I wrote about that yesterday. I left several comments on the public Facebook post of the NYT’s Israel correspondent, Jodi Rudoren. Here is the first comment I left:
Brian John Thomas Their pride and conceit in attempted murder comes through nicely. As I’ll be driving past his village in a few hours I do hope the “hero” of your piece can be shot and killed someday soon.
It was the second comment on her post. Some of the other commentators accused me of inciting violence. One such example:
Ami Kaufman Brian, way to go! Do you always incite for murder so early in the morning?
In case you don’t know, Ami Kaufman is a founder of the web site +972 that does it’s best to delegitimise Israel and spread the lethal narrative of the poor, oppressed Palestinians.
Ami’s opinions don’t matter much in the world, but, In order to explain my comment more fully (it had been left hastily using an iPad before my kids woke up) I wrote a blog post on Israellycool and added the following comment:
Brian John Thomas No, I was a bit too restrained.
You know what? I am pissed off that he’s being arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night for the umpteenth time. Because he should have been shot and killed already.
This kind of writing, humanising these damn savages with their rock throwing as if its some kind of noble endeavour, sickens me. The only reason they do this with rocks is they know we’d shoot them if they had guns.
Their intent is the same: wound or kill civilians. We should crush them and kill them and break their spirit with overwhelming force.
We stand accused of occupation anyway!
I then directly addressed Ami (I didn’t know him from Adam at this point, I only looked him up after):
Brian John Thomas Ami, killing a self-confessed attempted murderer before he can kill is not murder. It couldn’t be a more clear case of getting up early to kill your avowed enemy before he kills you. I have to deliver a computer to someone right next to his village today. This is not remote or theoretical for me. I’m driving right past where this kid tries to kill people. I want him not to kill me or anyone else. If he has to be buried to stop this, so be it.
At exactly 7:01 I received the following private message from Jodi Rudoren. I did not reply privately though I was completely shocked at her message.
If you continue to post violent, threatening comments, I will delete them.
I then left my last substantive comment on her post.
Brian John Thomas To those accusing me of “incitement”. Who, precisely, am I inciting? My comments are directed completely at the IDF and other security services. I firmly believe that stone throwing (as opposed to suicide bombing or shooting Jews) is the current “resistance du jour” precisely because, for too long, it was treated without a strong enough response.
This piece is full of violence, yet that is fine, I propose a legitimate (you might not like it) response to a deadly and violent act and you suddenly scream incitement? And the huge photo montage and glowing story of how these kids are treated as heroes is not incitement for them to go out and murder again?
Somehow the casual dismissal within this piece of the murder of a little baby and his father is acceptable speech yet you scream for “address” when I write a valid response?
Yes, Jodi did send me a direct message. So I’m being less glib, more reasoned and longer winded. But I’m saying precisely the same thing. If Israeli Defence Forces don’t start shooting these kids instead of arresting them, we’ll never stop this problem and you’ll find many more Israelis think this way than you know and we’re starting not to give a damn for what the rest of the world thinks anyway.
The last paragraph specifically mentions Jodi’s direct message to me which at the time was still private: I did not quote her deliberately because I felt already that her private message was defamatory.
There were many, many other expressions of similar sentiment to mine, especially expressions of shock that the New York Times would be promoting attempted murder as a normal hobby for a child. Of course there were others, who claim to be “pro-Palestinians”, who were still goading Jodi to denounce my comments:
Robin McLaren I for one am still waiting for Jodi to address these comments.
I guess eventually Jodi gave in to the bullying and said this publicly:
Jodi Rudoren I asked Brian John Thomas to refrain from violent, threatening messages.
Now we have a big problem. I have not violently threatened anyone. I have called for a change in security procedures and for Israel’s security forces to enforce the law more firmly, but I certainly did not, do not and will not, ever, call for anyone to murder a child. Look up the definition of murder if you’re not sure about it. I was the only commenter publicly excoriated by Jodi on that comment thread.
I have been accused of making “violent, threatening” comments. I didn’t. Jodi Rudoren, please publish a retraction on Facebook.
Update: From our friends at the IDF Spokesperson’s Blog. Some facts.