A Palestinian rights activist expelled by the Labour Party who sued Campaign Against Antisemitism for calling him a “notorious antisemite” has had his defamation action struck out by the High Court.
Tony Greenstein, who brought the case against CAA early last year, 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, in what CAA called “a humiliating case of legal action backfiring”, adding that Greenstein had “long sought to have CAA struck off the register of charities”.
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.”
CAA chief executive Gideon Falter said: “We have repeatedly called him a ‘notorious antisemite’ and today the High Court ruled that we were perfectly entitled to do so.
“This is a humiliating defeat for Mr Greenstein who will now have to explain to those who paid his legal expenses through crowdfunding that he wasted their money on such a hopeless claim.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.