What to do about orchestrated email campaigns
Based on his analysis of emails, Sabbagh concludes that the BMJ was the target of an orchestrated campaign to silence criticism of Israel. And that is certainly how it felt. As well as almost 1000 emails to the editor, the BMJ’s website received hundreds of electronic responses to the article itself as well as feedback generally critical of the journal’s decision to publish it. The feedback messages began in earnest three days after publication and then streamed in, almost in alphabetical order of the senders’ names. Their wording was uncannily similar, with some authors seemingly ignorant of the article they were criticising—well described features of orchestrated campaigns.4 5 Some took us to task for covering the difficulties faced by diabetic Palestinians in Gaza; this issue had been raised not by the BMJ but by Diabetes Voice, which has no connection to the BMJ.6 We had been used to unfamiliar voices from unfamiliar places crowding in to debates on the Middle East before, but never on this scale.