10:30 am in Uncategorized by Cardigan
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) libeled Sheldon Adelson, megabillionaire casino magnate and conservative pro-Israel philanthropist by accusing him of involvement in prostitution at his hotels. It was a false claim, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which also spread the lie, backed down quickly when Adelson threatened a lawsuit. Not the NJDC.
In a disgraceful announcement from the organization’s Marc R. Stanley and David A. Harris, they write:
Today, both of us — and the National Jewish Democratic Council – were sued by Sheldon Adelson for a total of $60 million for exercising our free speech rights, and engaging in political speech.
We will not be bullied into submission, and we will not be silenced by power. This is not Putin’s Russia, and in America, political speech regarding one of the most well-known public figures in our country is a fundamental right. One would think the person making greatest use of the Citizens United ruling would understand this. To be sure, referencing mainstream press accounts examining the conduct of a public figure and his business ventures — as we did — is wholly appropriate. Indeed, it is both an American and a Jewish obligation to ask hard questions of powerful individuals like Mr. Adelson, just as it is incumbent upon us to praise his wonderful philanthropic endeavors.
We know that we were well within our rights, and we will defend ourselves against this SLAPP suit (strategic lawsuit against public participation) as far and as long as necessary. We simply will not be bullied, and we will not be silenced.
I was not aware that lawsuits were the problem with Putin’s Russia. Posing a free speech martyr when sued for falsely accusing someone of being a pimp shows a lot of chutzpah. And invoking a Jewish responsibility is sacrilege. Jonathan Tobin of Commentary explains that:
“Far from it being a specifically Jewish obligation to raise such issues, there is actually a specific religious prohibition against this sort of libel. Indeed, if there is anything that defines the concept of lashon hara or “evil tongue” – the provision in Jewish religious law against defamatory speech – it is calling a political opponent a pimp.”