A Jewish anti-Zionist activist has been ordered to pay almost £70,000 in court costs, after an unsuccessful libel case over being branded a ‘notorious antisemite’.
Tony Greenstein, who was expelled by the Labour Party, will have to pay Campaign Against Antisemitism £67,886, after failed defamation against the charity was struck down by the High Court last week.
Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “For years, Tony Greenstein has sought to discredit the International Definition of Antisemitism and have Campaign Against Antisemitism struck off the register of charities.
“We have repeatedly called him a ‘notorious antisemite’ and the High Court has now ruled that we were perfectly entitled to do so.
“This is a humiliating defeat for Mr Greenstein, and now it is an expensive one too.”
During the hearing, the judge considered some of Greenstein’s past statements on Twitter, including his use of the word ‘Zio’ which Labour’s Baroness Shami Chakrabarti determined to be antisemitic.
In 2014 Greenstein referred to “Jewish Nazis” and in 2016 said “Am Yisrael Chai [the people of Israel live] is the Zionist equivalent of Heil Hitler”.
Mrs Justice Tipples said: “The claimant’s tweet compares the people of Israel to the Nazis and, on any objective assessment, an honest person could have held the opinion that that was an antisemitic statement from the claimant.”
Tony Greenstein brought the case against CAA early last year, but was told that the description of him as an antisemite was a “general charge” and a “statement of opinion” that may have been honestly held.
The court declined to “grapple with arguments over the correctness” of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and its working examples, as Greenstein wanted, because “the term ‘antisemite’ is not defined”.
Greenstein said CAA had “misapplied and misused” the definition in order to attack him for political reasons, and not on the basis that he is antisemitic.
However, the judge disagreed adding that Greenstein had “long sought to have CAA struck off the register of charities”.
Greenstein was kicked out of the Labour Party in 2018 over offensive comments online, including one which mocked the phrase ‘final solution’.
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