Last year I brought libel proceedings against The Times because David Aaronovitch had deliberately allowed, on his moderated blog, allegations that I had intimidated and harassed Jewish students for 30 years. The Times eventually backed down and agreed a suitable apology and damages of £1,000 to be paid to FOBZU.
Unfortunately I have again had to seek redress for defamation. On February 13th 2008 I initiated proceedings in the High Court for libel and defamation against Gilad Atzmon, who will be well known to many people as an anti-Semite and a supporter of holocaust denial.
Following an article I wrote for the Guardian’s Comment is Free blog, The Seamy Side of Solidarity, I was subject to malicious personal abuse by Atzmon, mainly picking up on stale Zionist allegations, although adding his own unique spice to them.
It is not simply a matter of obtaining personal redress. There is also a political rationale. Socialists have long disagreed over whether it is right to settle political disputes in the libel courts and the record is clearly a mixed one, for example George Galloway and Tommy Sheridan’s experiences.
Atzmon’s response to political criticism is not to respond politically but by making vicious personal allegations against his detractors. He has done this against Mike Rosen, Roland Rance and David Rosenberg to name but 3 people. His behaviour is designed to ridicule, intimidate and isolate his critics and in particular Jewish anti-Zionists or what he terms ‘crypto Zionists and 3rd Category Jews’. Most of his allegations originate on far-right Kahanist sites and he actually thanks one of these Zionists publicly.
Some of Atzmon’s allegations could endanger the physical security of those whom he is making the allegations about. In particular his allegations that anti-Zionist Jews are in essence nothing but Zionist agents within the Palestine solidarity movement. But above all it is designed to demonise individuals and legitimise racism in the solidarity movement.
I have therefore come to the conclusion, as the primary recipient of his abuse, that there is little alternative but to use the bourgeois courts to seek redress.
Ironically on 9th June 2005 Atzmon threatened to sue me for libel before making a hasty retreat!
Mr. Greenstine I don't wish to sue you, i sue you and the following on line quote ( Re: The talk of Holocaust Denier, Gilad Atzmon, ) is going to cost you a fortune.
I ve already passed it to my management and its legal advisers.
To call a famous artist a 'Holocaust denier' without providing a single proof is very expensive as you are going to learn very soon.
Now with real sympathy
I understand, from a posting by Linda Grant on the Engage website, before it was ‘accidentally’ deleted, that Atzmon is considering countersuing for libel! Judging from his past record however this is likely to be more bluster on his part.
I saw Gilad Atzmon in the lobby at the BBC last week. We were both waiting to go into studios. He was talking at some length to someone on his mobile phone about the best method of suing someone, based on the case he is himself, he said, preparing again 'Greenstein.' He was dressed all in black and I was left with the impression that he dyes his hair. Personally, I find that iffy in a guy, but very common in the music business, I suppose.
I have therefore issued proceedings in respect of:
False allegations of serious criminal conduct and fraud. concerning alleged offences over 20 years ago, contrary to s.8 of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
False allegations of violent crimes, in particular against Jewish people
False allegations of race hate crimes against Jewish people
False allegations of vandalising church property
For obvious reasons I do not wish to go into any detail regarding the legalities of the case. However in view of the fact that this matter has already been broadcast by Atzmon’s supporters under various guises (‘Jews for Transparency’ being one), I thought it right to issue a statement.