The damage, as with all slander, is done at the moment of intimation, accusation, and defamation. And could it be that online incitement might have a hand in motivating offline terror such as Monday’s tragic mass murder at a school in Toulouse? The facts of that story are still being investigated. But the road from libel to acts of violence is a short one. Too much Jewish blood has indeed been spilled in the shadow of anti-Semitic vitriol disseminated through media, in every age.
But despite the damage already done in the case of Badawi, deterrence is the sword we wield best in a rough neighborhood. And the Jewish people have only recently had the capacity to defend and deter.
For every Badawi, there are thousands of militant anti-Semites, armed with keyboards (and little else above the waist). A fair few of them serve institutions and NGOs; others work in public positions and welfare offices.
All will closely watch how Badawi’s case plays out.
After spending an uncomfortable week in silence despite the media and UN scrutiny, Badawi tweeted a correction – and nothing more. No apology, no expression of regret, no acceptance of responsibility. She even had the audacity to insist her comments were from her personal Twitter account. As if that negated the consequence of defaming Israel.
You can be sure that the fuzzy line between private life and a person’s employment will come into question. That is a very real achievement for those of us campaigning at this time, on this issue. Let those who want to defame and spread venom think at least about losing their jobs, if not their moral worth by their actions.
Certainly if their Blood Libel 2.0 reflects on their Work 1.0.