Handling Debate by Threatening Legal Action: Anti-Vaccination Activists in Israel

Dorit Reiss has a new op-ed in The Times of Israel describing defamation suits that are being brought in the midst of the vaccination debate. Take a look.

Anti-vaccination activists in Israel have recently resorted to threatening critics with defamation suits over comments in online social-media discussions. This is not a new tactic: In several countries, anti-vaccination activists have brought lawsuits against critics, with very little success in actually winning cases but with a potential chilling effect on the discussion. Such a tactic is inappropriate – both because of its effect on the market of ideas and because the anti-vaccination activists themselves regularly engage in personal attacks on critics. Israeli Courts or disciplinary boards should not support or allow this attempt to silence vaccine advocates, and Israeli citizens and supporters of Israel deserve to know this tactic is used.

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