Sunday, June 28, 2009
Pay up, Ma'ariv!!
Here’s a story you won’t read anywhere else – unless you came across a copy of the Hebrew-language Makor Rishon, or unless you’re lucky enough to be on the email list of the witty and sagacious Steve Plaut.
This is a great day to celebrate: Israel’s little guys, the much-put-upon “settlers” sued the big guys and won. This story should have every Zionist in the world jumping up out of their chairs and applauding – if only they’d hear about it.
Funny thing is, Israel’s media is just as nutty left wing as the US’s. So this story was not mentioned at all in any of the major newspapers, television or radio news reports. Only one newspaper, Makor Rishon, which has a ‘right wing’ reputation (which means only that it’s more objective than the others) bothered to report the news.
What happened was that Ma’ariv, Israel’s second largest daily newspaper – their Tel Aviv headquarters building is pictured above -- reported, in a news story, that the tiny Jewish “settlement” of Maale Rehav’am, located in the Judean Mountains just south of Bethlehem, had been built on land stolen (“illegally expropriated”) from Arabs.
That was a lie.
Maale Rehav'am was founded in 2001 and named after one of Israel’s most ardent supporters of Judea and Samaria, Rehavam Ze’evi, who was assassinated on October 17, 2001 by Hamdi Qur'an, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The land Maale Rehav’am sits on was legally bought and paid for.
But this is nothing new, false reporting like this. These kinds of allegations are made all the time – in fact, as far as some of the “peace” groups are concerned, all “settlements” were built on Arab land stolen by Jews. In fact, there’s a guy living by public sufferance at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who’s mistaken about that, too.
It’s not true. The difference this time is that the 30 or so residents of Maale Rehav’am -- an ecological village, growing olives and almonds, with a Muscat grape vineyard and 35 other varieties of fruit trees -- decided to prove their point.
They sued Ma’ariv for libel.
Today they won. Ma’ariv was ordered to pay Maale Rahav’am NIS 13,000 (about $3250) and to issue a public apology.
No apology has been forthcoming, but it’s early. And it’s true no one will get rich on that monetary settlement. It’s the moral victory that’s unparalleled.
Israel is not a litigious country – thank goodness. But there are times when a resort to the courts is appropriate. This was one of them.
Of course, even when you’re right, you don’t always win. Sometimes the ridiculously left-leaning Israeli courts give the victory to the Arabs even when the Jewish buyers produce not only a legal deed to the land, but a videotape of the sale being consummated. See my article about one such case in the Sacramento Union:
But let’s not let that interfere with today’s victory. As Steve Plaut says, “Let’s hope this case serves as a grand legal precedent: Tell a lie about settlers and pay!”