Now, we add Aussie Dave of Israellycool as a new honorary member of the right-wing pro-Israeli cyber-bully fraternity attempting to intimidate Tikun Olam with threats of lawsuits. Yesterday, Dave weighed in on my comment thread about an old incident that still rankles him. One thing led to another and before the night was out Aussie Dave had really worked himself into a lather. Looks like the guy really, really wants to sue me.
It goes back to a series of posts I wrote here attacking his administration of the Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards (JIB) nearly two years ago. I claimed then that the competition was structured either intentionally or unintentionally to guarantee that right-wing blogs like Little Green Footballs, Treppenwitz and several others would win in many categories (and guess what–they did!). I think I used the term “nepotism,” by which I meant that the Awards seemed like they were “all in the family” so that blogs reflecting Dave’s ideological viewpoint would be almost guaranteed to win. I complained there were few left of center blogs nominated. I complained that the Awards seems designed for pro-Israel boosterism. In my specific critique of the nominated right-wing blogs I included Israellycool and what I thought was a particularly condescending post Dave wrote defining what a “good Arab” is.
Dave, who is very thin-skinned and self-absorbed, accused me of calling him “corrupt” and a “racist.” We had a long, knock down drag out argument in which I explained that I never wrote the word “corrupt” and didn’t intend to claim that he had accepted money or conducted the Awards immorally as that word tends to connote. This didn’t satisfy Dave, of course. He has this habit of taking things you say and upping the rhetorical ante as lawyers tend to do. I accuse him of “nepotism.” To Dave, that becomes a charge of “corruption” despite my explicit denial that this is what I intended.
As for the “racist” claim, Dave doesn’t like most Arabs or Palestinians. Especially not ones resisting the Occupation. Dave doesn’t even oppose the killing of innocent civilians during targeted assassinations (“…this does not mean that I oppose all targeted killings where innocent people are inadvertently killed”). There are a few good Arabs for Dave. They’re the ones like Nona Darwish, Walid Shoebat and Tawfiq Hamad who attack their religion (or former religion) as corrupt and embrace Israel as a light unto the Middle East (“Yunis Owaidah [is] a PLO Arab who is proud of the fact that he “collaborates” with Israel”). You can call such an attitude toward Arabs whatever you like–extreme condescension, cultural arrogance, etc. But I’d call Dave an Islamophobe at the least. Some people might use a stronger word. And if you look at what I wrote in context, the owner of Jewlicious accused me in the comment thread of claiming Dave was a “raving genocidal racist.” I denied the first two words of that phrase, but not the last.
In writing this JIB series, I found a picture of Dave at the PJM site, where he was then affiliated as a resident blogger (he is no longer affiliated and claims that he resigned rather than was dismissed by PJM). As I periodically do with a relatively small minority of my posts, I displayed his image with one of my JIB posts. Dave told me in no uncertain terms that he didn’t like the caption. But he NEVER told me he owned copyright; NEVER told me to take it down; NEVER filed a DMCA or Cease and Desist order which provides legal notice that you wish someone to remove something that violates copyright. I assumed that PJM owned copyright to the image since I found it there. To be fair, Dave claims that he said at his site that he wanted the image taken down (though I’ve never seen the link). Why he would assume I would read it there is beyond me since I make it a point of never visiting his site unless I really have to do so. Besides, this would not constitute a fair notice of copyright infringment.
A month ago or so I challenged Dave and Jewlicious to disassociate themselves from Steven Plaut, who’d quoted their previous attacks on me at the fake blog Plaut created in my name. Dave, of course, dismissed my anger over Plaut’s defamation as trivial. Instead, Dave complained once again about the image (over 15 months AFTER the image went up at my site). I replied, if the picture bugs you so much why didn’t you ever ask me to take it down. He said, now that you mention it it does bug me and take it down or I’ll sue. I did take it down for a time. But his braying attitude annoyed me so, that I decided to obliterate his image and display a black space where his face had been, saying in the caption that the image didn’t refer to anyone mentioned in that post. This was lame and I shouldn’t have done that. I should’ve removed the image and left it at that as Dave demanded.
Now, there is no image at all displaying at that post. But again, until a few weeks ago Dave has never made any specific claim of copyright infringement either legally or otherwise. Now, he’s itching to sue me. And he reminds me how formidable an opponent he’s likely to be. Here are some of his promises/threats. They start at shouting level and get progressively shriller:
You said I was booted from PJM and this is a LIE!
What kind of person throws an allegation to the public, and then tells the subject “Prove otherwise.” And if that wasn’t bad enough (from moral, ethical, and halachic perspectives), you ban the subject so they can’t even prove otherwise (and I have email exchanges to prove otherwise which I will likely post on my blog to show what a liar you are).
By the way, I AM a lawyer and I am compiling some of your defamatory statements about me (incl. accusing me of being corrupt wrt the JIBs and making an agreement with LGF, accusing me of racism) which I will be reviewing. And don’t bother trying to change the offending entries…I have a nice catalogue of screenshots and archived posts.
I am seriously considering making an example out of you.
To which I replied:
I’ll post anything at my site that would prove what you said is true. I just won’t publish yr comments calling me a liar.
I can’t believe you’d do something as foolish as trying to take me to court. But it’s yr call. I have both a Seattle and Los Angeles law firm already representing me. A lawsuit would provide me with a great megaphone to both defend myself and let the larger world know about my blog.
Did you hear what I said? I AM a lawyer. I am glad you have a law firm representing you, since when sued, it is your right to have one. Just know that I am a very good lawyer, and will take you to court if I believe I have a good case, and will achieve my objectives.
To which I replied:
So you’re a lawyer. So you’re a very good lawyer (if you do say so yourself). You want me to shiver in fear? Forget about it. If you have a good case, then you go right ahead. I’ll be waiting. You can say anything you want in an e mail. A judge will hopefully hold you to a higher standard.
His final ‘bloodcurdling’ reply:
Don’t worry, I will.
As best I can see these would be his grounds, I displayed an image of him that he knew all along was on my blog; and it took him well over a year to request that I take it down, which it now is. I’m a lying hypocrite. I accused him of being “corrupt” (which I didn’t). And I called him a “racist.”
Some might see this as an attempt to punish me because I’ve written things about Aussie Dave he really, really doesn’t like. Some might see this as Dave’s attempt to squelch someone whose political views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are anathema to him. With three websites displaying infringing images of me and two threats of lawsuits, some might see this as a budding alliance of pro-Israel right-wingers like Rachel Neuwirth, Steven Plaut, Jewish Task Force, Masada2000 and Jewlicious out to “get” someone whose blog has needled them for far too long (in their minds). I’m the uppity Jewish nigger (remember that slightly chilling phrase: “I’m seriously considering making an example out of you?”). I’m the nail that sticks up from the board that needs to get a good hammering back into its proper place. Or as Jewlicious’ owner wrote so charmingly at his blog, I’m that “whiny bitch.”
A chilly wind is blowing in the Jewish blogosphere.
UPDATE: Since originally writing this post, I have learned that an anonymous party claims ownership of the fake blog referred to above, furthermore stating that Steven Plaut has not participated in its creation. A reporter tells me Plaut has denied his involvement. So while I have no idea whether the anonymous party is being truthful, it is possible that Plaut is either not involved in the blog, is partially involved, or that the blog claimant is lying and Plaut is fully responsible. I don’t yet know for sure which is the case. My impression of Plaut’s authorship was based on the firm conviction of another victim of a very similar fake blog that Plaut was responsible.