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Occupation magazine - Activism

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Help anti-settlement activists pay absurd fine
On June 24, a ruling was published in a strategic lawsuit against public
participation (SLAPP) filed by the extremist right wing activist Mr. Avichai
Shorshan, a resident of the settlement Kfar Adumim, against the organization
Kerem Navot, for what he called a “violation of his privacy.” The ruling
obligates Kerem Navot to pay Shorshan NIS18,000.s

Here’s our response:s
Mr. Shorshan, is a vocal activist in an especially virulent campaign run by
settlers from the area of Kfar Adumim settlement, which seeks to demolish
the houses of residents of the Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar and to displace
them.

The main argument of these settlers, which is often used in these instances,
is that the homes of these Bedouins are “illegal.” The barely concealed idea
behind this plan is to encourage the expansion of settlements in the area
between Jerusalem and Jericho. In doing so, they would advance plans to
annex this part of the West Bank for the State of Israel without absorbing
the Bedouin population that has been living in this area for decades, after
Israel expelled them from the northeastern Negev in the late 1940s.s

About three years ago, we published a post that included, among other
things, aerial photos of Shorshan’s home, as well as the detailed plan of
the settlement he lives in, from which we understood that Shorshan himself
lives in a house that was built and expanded several times in violation of
the law. Rather than responding to the content of these allegations, which
exposed the depths of his hypocrisy, Shorshan elected to file a SLAPP
lawsuit against Kerem Navot for “violating his privacy.” He took this action
because he knew that he had no chance of winning a libel suit. This case is
only one of several SLAPP lawsuits that right wing activists and
organizations have filed in recent years against left wing activists and
organizations that had exposed information that they would prefer remained
hidden.s

As someone invested in persecuting his Bedouin neighbors on that grounds
that they are building in “violation of the law,” it’s essential, in our
opinion, that it be possible to hold engage in public discourse on this
issue, considering Shorshan himself, like other extremist right wing
activists involved in similar campaigns in different locations across the
West Bank, lives in a houses built in violation of the law.s

Although the court ruled that Shorshan is entitled to only 15% of the
original amount that he filed for, and rejected his demand to receive an
“apology,” the ruling could have dangerous consequences for the freedom of
speech of all of us. High interest public issues, such as the incursions of
Minister Yoav Galant in Amikam, and the fact that Knesset member Smutrich,
who initiated the “Regularization Law,” himself lives in a house that was
built in violation of the law on land under Palestinian ownership, might not
be reported.s

In our opinion, it’s unreasonable that public figures, or those who purport
and endeavor with all their might to become public figures, would in this
way claim their right to “privacy.” For this reason, we’re deliberating
appealing this court decision.s

We call on those in the general public who are disgusted by SLAPP lawsuits
and who value our work to assist us now, so that we can continue our work,
and publish information about the activities of other extremist right wing
activists that they would prefer we all didn’t know.s

Join the fight for freedom of speech
Press the `Donate` button for internet transfer
Or donate to `Kerem Navot` bank account number 504303, Bank Hapoalim, branch
748.s
Read more about this case in Haaretz (in Hebrew): https://bit.ly/3gfBhmQ
Read the court ruling (in Hebrew):
ttps://bit.ly/
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