Several years ago, Neve Gordon brought suit against Steven Plaut for calling him a “Juden-rat” and “kapo” after the latter visited Yaser Arafat during an IDF siege of his Ramallah compound. In Israel, laws prohibit using Nazi slogans to abuse or taunt in political debate. Unlike in the U.S., such speech is viewed with especial sensitivity given Jewish suffering in the Holocaust. Like much of the wingnut Israeli right-wing, Plaut specializes in abusing his victims by likening them to Jews who cooperated with the Nazis. He’s also a good buddy of Big-Mouth Dershowitz, who taunted Gordon in the pages of the Jerusalem Post dredging up the time-honored “self-hating Jew” epithet and daring him to sue him for libel in U.S. courts. Dershowitz’s juvenile behavior reminded me of a 12 year old yelling in the midst of a fight: “So’s your mama!”
Gordon called Plaut on it and an initial ruling by an Israeli court found against Plaut and ordered him to pay 100,000 shekels to Gordon. Plaut appealed and Gordon also asked the appeals court to reconsider a larger penalty. The appeals court has just returned its verdict and upheld the judgment. However, it reduced the award to 10,000 shekels. Gordon has the option to appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court to reinstate the original verdict and is considering doing so.
Plaut as is his wont is now lying, claiming that the court overturned his guilty verdict. Frontpagemagazine, if you can believe that gutter rag, maintains Plaut was entirely vindicated which is, like the rest of the magazine, a tissue of lies. Reading its coverage makes you feel as if you’re Alice peering through a wingnut looking glass. Two of my right wing readers have also attempted here to spin the decision as a Plaut victory. They must get their news from Frontpagemagazine and other wingnut sources.
Among the many moronic claims in the FPM article is that Gordon filed a SLAPP suit against Plaut. SLAPP suits are frivolous lawsuits filed generally by wealthy individuals, public officials, and corporations to inhibit speech that is critical of their interests. There is no SLAPP law in Israel. But the author wishes to use the SLAPP “brush” to tar Gordon with terms that have nothing whatsoever to do with Israeli legal or political discourse. And even if SLAPP was relevant to this discussion, the fact that the appeals court justices upheld the verdict indicates that Gordon’s suit passed muster and was not frivolous.
With Gordon’s victory, the progressive community has won three recent legal victories against Israel-First militants: previously Rachel Neuwirth lost her libel case against me and Joel Beinin settled a copyright infringement claim against David Horowitz by accepting the latter’s monetary settlement.