April 5, 2005
ISRAELI COURT DISMISSES ISM AGITATORS' CASE AGAINST JERUSALEM JOURNALIST
The Beit She'an Magistrate's Court has dismissed a lawsuit for libel brought
by a foreign International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist against an
The American plaintiff alleged that Jerusalem reporter, Judy Lash Balint had
defamed her in an article posted on an internet website which maintained
that members of the ISM were in close contact with the Palestinian terrorist
organizations. The plaintiff claimed that Balint had implied in the piece
that her presence in the territories assisted the terrorist groups in
Balint was defended in the case by Shurat HaDin Director Nitsana
Balint expressed her satisfaction with the dismissal of the action viewing
it as a confirmation of the accuracy of her reporting: "The judge's decision
to throw the libel case against me out of court underscores my assertion
about the true nature of the International Solidarity Movement. Hopefully
this decision will prevent further frivolous legal action against reporters
who try to tell the truth about extremist groups."
The case filed in December 2003, was initially delayed when the attorneyfor
the plaintiff, Shamai Leibowitz, represented to the Court that he had served
Balint with a complaint and not received an answer. At the time, however,
the Israeli court system was on strike and the time periods for answering
court papers had been suspended in place. Nonetheless, the Court mistakenly
granted the plaintiff a default judgment. However, after the error was
brought to the Court's attention it swiftly vacated the default.
The defense then requested that the Court instruct the foreign plaintiff to
post a bond to ensure court costs in the event that the case was to be
dismissed, as is required by Israeli law. However, attorney Leibowitz boldly
stated to the Court that under an "existing treaty" U.S. citizens were not
required to post bonds in Israeli courts. The defense, however, researched
the matter and discovered, in fact, that the U.S. was not a party to any
such treaty. After being presented with this finding, the Court ordered the
plaintiff to post the bond in thirty days. When this period of time passed
and the plaintiff still had failed to post the money, the defense moved to
have the nuisance suit dismissed.
In December 2004, Attorney Leibowitz inaccurately wrote to the Court that
the two sides were negotiating a settlement, while in fact no such
compromise would be entertained by Balint who insisted that she wanted to
take the case to trial and publicly establish the accuracy of her article.
Based upon Leibowitz' misrepresentation, however, the Court granted a
further extension in time.
In January, Attorney Darshan-Leitner wrote to the Court informing it that
the defense would not accept a compromise in any event and asked that the
suit be dismissed for the plaintiff's failure to post the required bond.
Finally last week, the Court dismissed the baseless lawsuit.
Leibowitz is the grandson of the late controversial Israeli
philosopher,Rabbi Yeshaiyahu Liebowitz.
Since the outbreak of the current round of Palestinian violence in
September2000, Israeli troops have conducted thousands of
counter-terrorismoperations in the towns and villages of Judea, Samaria and
Gaza, in theheart of hostile and dangerous Palestinian population centers.
The IDF's ability to operate effectively in these areas against the
Palestinian terrorists has been systematically and intentionally obstructed
by groups of foreign volunteers, who are used by the Palestinian Authority
as "human shields".
The most dangerous of these groups is the Palestinian-financed ISMThe ISM
recruits anti-Israel radicals, primarily from Europe and American college
campuses, and sends them to Judea, Samaria and Gaza to disrupt Israeli
military operations. The presence of these foreign civilians in the midst of
the Palestinian population obstructs the IDF's ability to fight Palestinian
terrorists. By interfering with Israeli counter-terrorism operations, the
ISM directly endangers the lives ofIsraeli civilians.
In April 2003, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that: "ISM
members take an active part in illegal and violent actions against
IDFsoldiers. At times, their activity in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip
isunder the auspices of Palestinian terrorist organizations."
In the past, ISM members have been arrested vandalizing and destroying
Israeli security fences and equipment. In March 2003, fugitive Islamic Jihad
terrorist, Shadi Sukiya, was arrested in a house in Jenin rented by the ISM
Shurat HaDin is also representing the family of an Israeli soldier currently
on trial for the alleged shooting of ISM militant, Tom Hurndall, in April
2003. The Israel Law Center has called upon the Knesset to outlaw the
Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center is a long overdue Jewish legal rights
institute based in Israel. Staffed by some of the country's leading activist
attorneys, we are dedicated to providing legal representation and resources
for the numerous courtroom struggles, which are being waged in the Israeli,
American and European courts on behalf of the Jewish State. We serve as a
central clearinghouse and litigation base for the multifarious legal battles
that have been thrust upon Israel's citizens during these dark days.
Contact Us: firstname.lastname@example.org