Israeli television news personality Yair Lapid offers a rather remarkable idea for dealing with the international media when they say things the Israeli government doesn’t like: “sue them.” Of course, in the United States, going this extra mile may not be worth the effort. Just last night, I was chatting with a journalist friend who works for a major news outlet. She acknowledged that the right-wing media advocacy group, CAMERA, had been so successful in harassing the outlet every time they covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that no one wants to touch the story. (Another favorite CAMERA tactic is jamming up public radio station lines during member drives to make 1 penny bids. Who thinks of this stuff?)
Just sue them
Yair Lapid offers new tactic in international struggle against new anti-Semites
We sat in the small and well-kept backyard at the home of Israel’s ambassador in London, Ron Prosor. Light rain was falling intermittently, leaving behind it fresh English air, yet the expressions around the table remained grim. The conversation focused on the British media’s takeover by anti-Israel elements.
Prosor is a large and smiling man, with a soft base voice, but his smile was gone when he spoke of the way he is being welcomed by pro-Palestinian protestors every time he arrives for a lecture at a British university.
You need to read some of the things they write about us here, he sighed. I don’t even know how to start responding to them.
Don’t respond, I said. Sue them.
One of those present, an influential London attorney, raised his head: What do you mean sue them? He said.
What’s so complicated? I replied. Just like they threaten to sue IDF officers, we need to sue them. Every journalist who refers to us as “war criminals” or “child killers” needs to know that the next day his newspaper will be slapped with a million pound lawsuit on behalf of the State of Israel.
What will we gain from it? Someone else asked.
Newspapers don’t like lawsuits, I said. It takes time, it costs money, the paper’s insurance company raises their premium, stockholders are wondering why they got into this mess to begin with, and the editor in chief is infuriated after he discovers that he needs to waste two days on testifying in respect to an article that he didn’t even read.
The press won’t come out against us? Prosor asked.
There is no such thing as “the press,” I said. This is the most competitive profession in the world, and everyone is just waiting to see the others fall. Do you really think that The Independent cares whether we sue The Guardian? They’ll be happy about it.
And who will represent us? Asked someone else.
Him, I gestured at the lawyer sitting with us, and a hundred others like him. If the Jewish people has one reservoir that will never run out, it’s lawyers. Every Western capital boasts at least five successful Jewish law firms, and most of them will be glad to represent the State of Israel against the new anti-Semitism.
The lawyer in the group suddenly looked up. It will work, he said. I’m willing to take London upon myself.
We’ll be attacked over this, said Prosor. So? I responded. Aren’t they attacking us already at this time?
- Cecilie Surasky