Right-wing libel suit rejected … in Israel

Defamation is a tricky accusation. Someone can feel offended by a written criticism (libel) and sue for defamation. But it’s really hard to sustain such a lawsuit in a rational court.

Even in Jerusalem, where an extreme nationalistic organization sued leftist activists for calling the right-wingers fascistic on a Facebook page.

JERUSALEM — Last week, an Israeli court rejected a libel suit by the nationalist organization ImTirtzu against leftist activists. The cause of the suit: the leftists equated the organization with “fascism” on a Facebook page. The main cause of rejection: freedom of speech, even blunt speech, is essential for political debate.

The Jerusalem district court ruling focused primarily on the value of free speech. “It is better to enable the discourse that is emanating from the extreme political and ideological differences between the plaintiff and the defendant without unnecessary restrictions — and it is better for the discourse not to be accompanied by libel suits,” the judge wrote.

But the judge went even further. Read the full NYT article by Shmuel Rosen.


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