Peace Now Removed Defamatory Facebook Post

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pnoHonenu reports the left-wing Peace Now organization removed a defamatory posting from its Facebook site. Following a letter from Yosef Ben Baruch warning the left wing organization Peace Now with a lawsuit they were forced to remove the post from their Facebook page entitled “The extreme right – Not at our expense!”

The post continued, “Until today you did not know that you also are funding the extreme right wing non-profit organization Honenu which defends murderers and ‘price tag’ criminals.

“A special investigation by Peace Now reveals that this non-profit organization [Honenu] (alongside other right wing non-profits), enjoys a benefit [the 46a clause] intended to assist non-profit organizations working for the good of the community, and succeeds in causing all of us to pay for its operation.

“This is the time to demand that the finance minister immediately cancel the 46a [clause] for the extreme right wing non-profit organizations and to stop the funding granted to them at our expense.”

To the post was attached an announcement discouraging donations to Honenu, an organization which assists “terrorists”, according to Peace Now, and calling on Finance Minister Yair Lapid to cancel Honenu’s eligibility for the 46a (tax exempt donations) clause.

It should be noted that in the announcement a photograph of Yosef Ben Baruch appears with a caption accusing him of being one of the organizers of the Bat Ayin Underground, despite the fact that over 10 years ago he was exonerated by the court of any involvement with the Bat Ayin incidents. Ben Baruch, sent a letter to Peace Now warning them of a 250,000 NIS lawsuit.

Additionally attorney Doron Nir Tzvi, who is representing Honenu and the Shomron Settlers’ Council, sent a warning letter to Israeli Channel 2 following a broadcast by commentator Amnon Abramovitz on the February 21 Friday night program Ulpan Shishi.

In the letter sent to Channel 2 and to Amnon Abramovitz, Nir Tzvi states that “In the latest Ulpan Shishi of 21/2/14 a program of Mr. Abramovitz was broadcast of which the heading on the Internet page is “Operating Illegally and Receiving Benefits”. From this fraudulent heading and also the concluding statement of Mr. Abramovitz (“The non-profit organizations which operate illegally …”) the understanding is that Honenu (with which the body of the broadcast deals) operates illegally, whereas the organization holds a certificate of sound management and has never carried out an illegal act.”

Also in the letter Nir Tzvi demanded on behalf of Honenu and the Shomron Settlers’ Council that Channel 2 promptly publicize an apology the size, placement and wording of which will be determined beforehand and in writing by his clients. Also the letter demanded that Channel 2 immediately remove or change the fraudulent heading.

The letter continued, “Furthermore in the broadcast a video clip was shown without credit given to my client – the Shomron Settlers’ Council – and giving fraudulent credit to Channel 2. Also photographs from the Honenu website were used without permission and without giving credit. You are hereby required to compensate my clients with the sum of 50,000 NIS for theft of the aforementioned rights and to immediately remove the video clip and the photographs from [your page and website] on the Internet.

“Needless to say Mr. Abramovitz did not take the trouble to receive Honenu’s response to the defamatory broadcast about the organization, which is in violation of the Rules of Journalistic Ethics, and my client will consider filing a complaint on the matter with the Israel Press Council.”

It should be noted that the Channel 2 broadcast aired on Friday, February 21 after Yariv Oppenheimer, the director of Peace Now, approached other media networks over the previous few weeks with the same material. The material had been published previously in an article by Haaretz journalist Uri Blau in said newspaper; no media other than Channel 2 agreed to take the rehashed, recycled material. At time the claims were published in the Haaretz article they were examined by the relevant authorities who confirmed that contributions to Honenu are tax exempt under the 46a clause.

Honenu responds: “Despite the impression given by the Channel 2 broadcast Honenu does not receive any assistance or a budget from the State of Israel. All of Honenu’s work is accomplished through ‘grass roots’ efforts. Honenu works to promote the purpose for which the organization was founded, the purpose which was authorized by the National Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations and deemed eligible for the 46a clause. In the broadcast and from the statements by Amnon Abramovitz it seems that there is a cynical and ugly attempt to influence the decisions of a high-ranking judge in Israel.

“At the core of democracy are the rights of the individual, the right to a fair trial, the right to be innocent until proven guilty. Honenu will continue to assist soldiers and civilians who find themselves in legal entanglements due to defending themselves against Arab aggression, or due to their love for Israel. Peace Now’s campaign is prejudicial against a certain segment of the population and we urge those who are interested in justice for all to contribute to Honenu.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)