(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Likud will take action against the controversial New Likudniks group of party members if it does not stop using “Likud” in its website name, the party’s legal adviser Avi Halevy wrote to New Likudniks leader Lior Meiri on Wednesday.
“You manage a website with the address www.newlikud.org. The address includes the word ‘Likud,’” he wrote. “The Likud did not permit you or the New Likudniks to use the name ‘Likud’... and [the use] is a violation of the Likud’s right to the name Likud.
“You are asked to immediately stop all public use of the name Likud, including in the address of the website or any other website or digital media... If you do not respond to this request within seven days, my client will have no choice but use all legal means at its disposal against you and the managers of the New Likudniks website,” Halevy stated.
The New Likudniks is a group that recruits members to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party
aiming to be a moderating force in the primaries. It focuses on a free-market socioeconomic agenda and education, but has been met with accusations of being a leftist infiltration of the Likud.
In Halevy’s cease-and-desist letter, he said the party has “significant proof” that among those who joined the Likud via the New Likudniks are people “who do not identify with the goals of the Likud, who joined the Likud only to get the right to vote and be elected to its institutions... and thus change the Likud’s way, hurt it and thwart its ability to implement its goals.”
Halevy argued that joining a party with no intention to vote for it in the general election is a criminal offense, specifically, fraud, and violates the Likud’s constitution.
The controversy over the group came to a head this summer, when Meiri and others were spotted at the weekly protests in front of Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s home, calling for Netanyahu to be indicted on corruption charges. Coalition chairman David Bitan vowed to go after the New Likudniks.
Other Likud members petitioned against those who appeared at the demonstrations, and on Thursday, the Likud’s internal court is set to hold a hearing on the matter.
The New Likudniks said it did not receive the letter from Halevy, and therefore would not respond.
Earlier this week, at an event the group hosted, with Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and MKs Sharren Haskel and Yehudah Glick in attendance, Meiri said that he is right-wing.
“I’m a [classic] economic liberal, totally right-wing. I’m also a nationalist, but not an extreme or a racist one,” he said. “People are afraid of us, because for too long, they worked for small interest groups and not the whole public. They’re afraid, justifiably.”
As for his attendance at the anti-Netanyahu protests in a Likud shirt, Meiri said that he went because he felt that the right to protest was being violated in an undemocratic way. In addition, Meiri said that the counter-demonstration organized by Bitan looked like a “protest in favor of corruption.”
“That was inconceivable. I thought we needed Likudniks who are on the right side, so I wore a Likud shirt and I went,” Meiri said.