Israeli Left Defends the Inalienable Right to Defame

Steven Plaut is a native Philadelphian who teaches business finance and economics at the University of Haifa in Israel.  He holds a PhD in economics from Princeton.  He is author of the David Horowitz Freedom Center booklets about the Hamas  and Jewish Enablers of the War against Israel.


israel-soldiers-46_1241285cOh, dear.  The Radical Left in Israel is all upset again about yet another “fascist assault against democracy” coming from the non-left.   Periodically the Left has conniptions whenever a law is proposed that would rein in the atrocities of the Left.  You will recall how upset the Left got when it was proposed that transparency laws similar to those in effect in the US be introduced to require that anti-Israel NGOs reveal the sources of their funding.   Another “fascist” proposed laws that upset the Left sought to require a pledge of loyalty to the country by those sitting in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.  Another proposed allowing those groups of businesses in Israel injured by the efforts of anti-Israel leftists who organize international boycotts and sanctions against Israel to sue those instigators in Israeli civil court for damages.

In any case, the latest bugaboo of the Fascist Left in Israel is what people are calling the “Jenin Jenin Law.”  As you recall, a slanderous lying propaganda film was made by Mohammed Bakri, entitled Jenin Jenin, accusing Israeli soldiers of conducting genocidal mass murders in the Battle of Jenin in 2002.  In that face-to-face street battle in which Israel attempted to capture and kill wanted terrorists, numerous Israeli soldiers were killed and some 20 Palestinian civilians were killed in the crossfire.   The Israeli army was criticized inside Israel for not using artillery to level the buildings containing the terrorists and thus save Israeli military lives.

Bakri made a Goebbels-like propaganda film, one he himself later admitted was a tissue of lies.  The soldiers involved in the battle filed a defamation lawsuit against Bakri.  Later leftist activist judges on the Supreme Court tossed out their suit as “infringing freedom of speech.”   That is correct, the same Supreme Court that has upheld rulings that criticizing the public political activities of anti-Israel leftist traitors is “libelous” was unwilling to convict Bakri of libel and slander.

Well, many years too late, the Knesset is now considering a new law that would grant the legal standing to sue people making false defamatory claims about the actions of soldiers.  The idea is that if someone claims falsely that Israeli soldiers carried out some sort of atrocity or crime against humanity and it could be proved that the claims are lies and the person making the claims knew they were lies, then the liar could be sued for defamation in civil court.   Anyone who has any evidence of actual misbehavior by any soldier would of course be protected from being sued.  Any soldier or civilian could file civil suit against the liars.

The Israeli fascist Left of course is up in arms and is screaming to high heavens about this new “assault against freedom of speech and democracy.”   This from the very same people who spent recent years cheering on the persecution of rabbis and others for endorsing or recommending a book the Left considered to be racist, or who cheered on the denial of freedom of speech to the Kahanists.

The Left insists that defaming Israeli soldiers is part and parcel of freedom of speech.  The very same far leftists who cheer on the leftwing academics who file fascist SLAPP harassment suits against anyone who dares to criticize them and tell the truth about them are now suddenly all upset about the possibility that leftwing liars could be sued for defamation.

The leftwing Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni, by the way, opposes the law.  Thus demonstrating once again the foolishness of Netanyahu offering her this post.  All the tenured radicals also oppose the bill and the chat lists of the tenured Left are full of shrill denunciations of it.  Some have taken time off from cheering on the tenured leftists who engage in lawfare and who file SLAPP harassment suits against the critics of leftists who dare to exercise freedom of speech.  In a worrisome development, even Yair Lapid, regarded as centrist, shifted to the Left and opposed the bill.

The anti-Israel far-leftist daily Haaretz described the law as “criminalizing” the defamation of soldiers, and as usual Haaretz twists the facts to fit its agenda.  Nothing in the law involves criminalization.  It just defines the defamation of soldiers as a civil tort.

Among those praising the initiative to pass the law is the “Im Tirtzu” Zionist student group.   According to the Jerusalem Post: “Im Tirzu (a political activist group) issued a press release praising the vote, saying that the law implemented ‘the unwritten, but obligatory, contract between the IDF and civilian society and representatives of the public, which dictates that IDF soldiers will be ready to risk their lives so that every Israeli citizen can live and for the State of Israel to continue to exist.”  The statement added that, “as a price for this sacrifice of time, and if necessary, of a soldier’s life” there is a duty to “defend them in the parliamentary, judicial and public arenas.”

According to the text of the bill, “Those who defame Israel, waging a campaign of de-legitimization against it in the international community, who wish to bring about a boycott of the state and its citizens have chosen IDF soldiers as a comfortable target in recent years, fully aware that no legal steps can be taken against them….Though many fabricated claims against IDF soldiers have been exposed over the years, but due to procedural constraints, the soldiers who were trampled and whose reputation was damaged were left without any legal solution.” With any luck, the new law’s passage will bring this practice to an end.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Hoisting up the indefensible is a hallmark of the left, pretending that it is the "holy" grail of liberal ethos. And Israel's left is no exception. In fact, while they tolerate NO dissent, no such forbearance is given to the other side. Free speech for me but not for thee…

    In any event, Israel's left is guilty of many cardinal sins, but it becomes clearer once seen through Daphne Netaynayhu's (the PM's sister-in-law) prism – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/11/27/pm-netanyahus

    Clear as a bell.
    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • Bert

    It is very unfortunate that Israel is still not a Jewish state but rather a secular entity of Jews with corrupt leadership that sneers at Judaism. If Israel was Jewish the ninth commandment to not bear false witness would be the law of the land and judges would be selected based on their moral qualities and their adherence to the Torah. Arrogant secular Jews always ignore Judaic teachings and act with egotism that blinds them to their own faults and limitations. Secular Jews always lose in confronting Arab propaganda because the Arab is passionate in his convictions while the Jew is timid and wracked with guilt at being forced to dominate those 'poor Palestinians'.

    • ziontruth

      There are sell-outs on the religious side, as well as stalwart patriots among the secular in Israel, but over all your point is right. One reason (beside Arab intransigence) that the Israeli Jewish public has shifted rightward is that the past few decades have seen a religious revival; as Jewish nationalism (a.k.a. Zionism) is an inseparable part of Judaism (contrary to the anti-Zionists' attempts at decoupling them), a strengthening in Jewish religious observance in Israel nearly always correlates to an increase in nationalist fervor.

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        ziontruth AKBAR!

      • Asher

        This is the Era of Deception that Christ said would happen. Good will be called evil and evil will be called good…Fight for the truth!

  • Larry

    The classic leftard stance

    Free speech for me, but not for thee.

  • Simon Brockwell

    As an Australian lawyer I find it astonishing that there is such a furore about the proposed law:

    " …if someone claims falsely that Israeli soldiers carried out some sort of atrocity or crime against humanity and it could be proved that the claims are lies and the person making the claims knew they were lies, then the liar could be sued for defamation in civil court."

    This is thoroughly unremarkable and entirely consistent with centuries of English common law tradition; a tradition incorporated in or forming the basis of the legal systems of all the democracies of the Anglosphere: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc as well as being a major foundation of the Israeli legal system.

    To claim this is "criminalising" criticism is plainly absurd and patently dishonest: it is merely creating (it astounds me that this legal remedy has not been in the the Israeli legal code since 1949), as noted in the article a civil tort, an actionable wrong done by one person to another. The sanction for this wrong is damages, ie monetary compensation for the wrong done to your reputation. A crime is a wrong done by one citizen by another that the state – having decided (in England's case in the C16th) that some categories of wrong, eg murder, rape, robbery, assault, etc should not be dependent upon the victims' ability or willingness to mount a legal case against the offender but rather constitute an affront to and disruption of orderly society – prosecutes the latter citizen for committing against the former and the sanction extends to punishment including incarceration by the state.

    Shame on every Israeli politician who voted against this bill. leaving soldiers doing their life-endangering duty for their country only to be grotesquely maligned by appalling lies, e.g. "Jenin, Jenin!", the Mohammed Al-Dura scam, with no legal recourse to defend their actions and reputation. No wonder there are so many ex-IDF soldiers living in Australia (or trying to stay here) and wanting nothing to do with Israel and instead leading apolitical lives unwilling even to engage in social discourse to defend Israel against the calumnies heaped against her on a daily basis in the mainstream media which are embraced by an ignorant, and I use that term in its purest and non-pejorative sense, Australian public.

  • watsa46

    The leftists want to impose PC on anybody disagreeing with the them but claims exemption for themselves. The very same phenomenon is at work in the US too. This comes straight from Marxism-Leninism.

  • Asher

    Both government are part of the treachery to defend ourselves! Also part of the setup before the Anti-christ!

  • Reuven

    B'Tselem and Haaretz should be declared illegal and shut down!