Likud’s Amsalem files NIS 500K defamation lawsuit against media outlets, figures

Lawmaker seeks damages over reports in November that he said all leftists should be put in jail, says previous mea culpa from some was not enough

Likud MK David Amsalem during a plenum session in the Knesset in Jerusalem, on December 6, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/ FLASH90)
Likud MK David Amsalem during a plenum session in the Knesset in Jerusalem, on December 6, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/ FLASH90)

Likud MK David Amsalem filed a defamation lawsuit Sunday against a slew of media outlets and figures over reports last November claiming that he had said leftists should be put in jail.

Amsalem had emphatically denied the remarks at the time and some outlets admitted the error, but in papers filed at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court the lawmaker demanded NIS 500,000 ($160,746), and said previous attempts at correction were too late to stop the damage as well as inadequate.

The lawsuit, filed via his attorney Motti Shimon, named Channel 12 news, The Marker newspaper, the Haaretz newspaper group and its owner Amos Shkon, the Calcalist newspaper, and senior media figures, such as journalist Danny Kushmaro, Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper editor-in-chief Ron Yaron, and several others.

In addition to financial compensation, Amsalem demanded that they take back the reports and admit they were not true.

Channel 12 News and The Marker have both previously published announcements on their sites that the remarks attributed to Amsalem were inaccurate, but the MK claimed to the court that “only after the publicity intensified and the damage grew, so much so that it could no longer be stopped and overcome,” were the apologies and corrections made.

He also claimed that the corrections were published in a way that had less amplification than the original posts.

The furor began in November, when, during an audio conversation with Twitter users, Amsalem made several provocative remarks, with reports alleging that he said that leftists “should be corralled” if his Likud party gets back in power.

Condemnations over the comment and others he made poured in, with Meretz MK Michal Rozin even asking the Knesset Ethics Committee to look into the tirade.

In the recording of the Twitter session, Amsalem, when referring to legal advisers to the government and senior police figures, said, “These are wolves that devour everything that moves — if we don’t know how to restrain them and put them in a pen, they’ll ultimately eat us again and then the country will head toward the abyss.”

The Likud MK also described the current government as a “crazy, Bolshevik, anti-Zionist gang that took over the country. The government of Palestine. Floor rags.”

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