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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Supreme Court rules 'Jenin, Jenin' not defamatory

In March, Israel's Supreme Court suggested to 'Israeli Arab' filmmaker and actor Mohamed Bakri that he apologize to five IDF soldiers who had sued him for libel due to the way that the IDF was depicted in the 2003 film Jenin, Jenin.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court dismissed the case, ruling that the film was 'not defamatory' to the five soldiers.
Ofer Ben-Natan, Doron Keidar, Nir Oshri, Adam Arbiv and Yonatan Van-Kaspel originally sued Israeli Arab actor and director Muhammad Bakri in 2003 for producing the film Jenin, Jenin, and the theaters in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for screening them, even though the film had been banned at the time by the state censor.

All of the five soldiers fought in Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002.

The five filed an appeal to the Supreme Court after the Petah Tikva District Court dismissed their libel suit against Bakri.


The five soldiers' lawsuit included 13 incidents it describes as libel, including a section of the film that had been edited to give the impression that a bulldozer had run over a group of Palestinians lying on the ground.

In dismissing the suit, the judges ruled that even though Bakri's film was "full of things that are not true" and even though it was hurtful to the feelings of the five soldiers, there was no provision under the law for them to bring a civil claim against Bakri because the film made reference to the IDF's operations in Jenin as a whole and not to any specific soldier.

"Attributing acts such as those described in the film to IDF soldiers are some of the worst accusations that can be thrown at someone. It puts them on a par with the very worst war criminals and the very worst murderers. The allegations in the film are very severe and cannot be underestimated," wrote Judges Miriam Naor, Yitzhak Amit and Yoram Danziger.

"In the final analysis, it is my belief that a reasonable person viewing the film would not recognize any slander against any single soldier belonging to the group of soldiers fighting in Jenin."
So if the IDF sues, will they find for the IDF? Or will they say that the IDF has no standing to sue? Or will they say that the film has to have injured specific IDF soldiers?

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At 6:55 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This ruling will continue the decline of Israel's leftist Supreme Court - which follows the views of Israel's Left.


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