Antisemitic author and saxophonist Gilad Atzmon has been forced into a humiliating capitulation after just two hours in court facing lawyers representing Campaign Against Antisemitism Chairman Gideon Falter.
Mr Atzmon, is an antisemite who is reported to have blamed the Grenfell Tower tragedy on “Jerusalemites” as well as reportedly telling university students that “the Jews were expelled from Germany for misbehaving.” He is not shy about his antisemitism, telling a Jewish Twitter user in 2014: “I am not a Jew any more. I indeed despise the Jew in me (whatever is left). I absolutely detest the Jew in you.”
Following our efforts to have him banned from various musical venues, he penned an article in which he claimed that our Chairman, Gideon Falter, “fabricated” antisemitic incidents as part of a “business plan” to defraud the British taxpayer and earn money for himself.
After being sued by Mr Falter for libel, Mr Atzmon attempted to crowdfund “tens of thousands of pounds”, telling his supporters: “I have made the decision to fight this crucial battle for freedom of expression even though this fight poses a real risk of bankrupting me and my family.”
However in court Mr Atzmon did not even show his face, instead sending his lawyer to make the implausible argument that he had not meant that Mr Falter was making up antisemitic incidents, defrauding taxpayers or profiting personally.
After just two hours of argument, High Court Justice Matthew Nicklin issued a preliminary ruling stating that Mr Atzmon had deliberately accused Mr Falter of: “dishonestly fabricating antisemitic incidents; deliberately exaggerating the prevalence of antisemitism and antisemitic activity (including being too ready to characterise as antisemitism legitimate criticism of Israel); by doing these things Mr Falter therefore risked increasing antisemitism; Mr Falter’s motive was to obtain funds (including funds from the British taxpayer) to support the activities of the CAA and to provide his own income; the funds obtained by this fabrication and misrepresentation were consequently obtained by Mr Falter’s fraud; and Mr Falter is guilty of hypocrisy – he campaigns against antisemitism but he is content with its continued prevalence (even resorting to the manufacture of incidents) because his income and that of the CAA depend upon it.”
Faced with the impossible task of substantiating these libels, Mr Atzmon instead capitulated and agreed to settle the case, admitting that all of the claims were false and agreeing to pay substantial damages and costs. Mr Atzmon did not show his face in court, instead sending his solicitor to read an apology on his behalf.
The defeat is a humiliation for Mr Atzmon.
Mr Falter was represented by the solicitor Mark Lewis who instructed William Bennett as barrister. The libel proceedings brought against Mr Aztmon are part of a strategy devised by Mr Lewis which he and Campaign Against Antisemitism intend to use to force other antisemites into either apologising in court, or paying substantial damages.
Mr Falter said: “For four years, I have led Campaign Against Antisemitism without earning a penny from it and at enormous personal and financial cost to myself. I am proud that we have built an organisation with great integrity to lead the fight against antisemitism in Britain. We are often accused by antisemites of seeking to stifle criticism of Israel or of making antisemitic incidents up, and I am delighted that through the work of libel lawyers Mark Lewis and William Bennett, I have been able to set the record straight and expose one such antisemitic liar for what he truly is.”
Image credit: Nathan Lilienfeld