(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Elad organization, which runs the City of David Archeological Park outside
the Old City walls, filed a lawsuit against an East Jerusalem activist
organization for almost half a million shekels last week.
In the suit,
Elad accuses the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement (SJSM) of libel for
distributing false information during its demonstrations outside the park over
To Lonely Planet: Include Arab history on City of David
CITYsights: A tale of two sieges in the capital
The Sheikh Jarrah group handed out informational flyers and sat
outside the park with blindfolds for three of the four intermediate days of
“Our protest did not discourage people from coming to the park,
it encouraged people to understand the political context of the park,” said
Hillel Ben-Sasson, an activist with the group who was named in the
SJSM accused the City of David park of acting as a front for “a
group of radical settlers who uses the site to promote the highly controversial
Jewish settlement project in east Jerusalem and to fund their political agenda,”
according to their website.
The dispute, which names 15 central activists
in SJSM, requested NIS 476,364 for libelous statements, and requested that the
organization correct and remove claims about the City of David Archeological
Park and Elad.
Elad is suing SJSM for statements in flyers like, “Their
(Elad’s) private security guards terrorize the local population.”
won’t accept it for people to tell the world things that simply aren’t true,”
said Udi Ragones, the spokesman for Elad.
“If they want to talk about
ideology, no problem. We live in a democratic state where it’s important to talk
and discuss, but within the boundaries of the law. The moment people cross
[those boundaries] it damages us,” he said.
“We are ready to take this
path every time we see someone spreading lies,” Ragones added.
a spokeswoman for Ir Amim, said the case is a typical tactic of
“They are suing everyone around, everyone they consider somehow an
ideological threat they sue, and they very clearly use it in order to bully
their ideological opponents,” Noy said.
Elad sued Ir Amim after the
nonprofit released a report called “Shady Dealings in Silwan.” The court case is
Noy said Elad also sued Emek Shaveh, a group of
archeologists that advocates for the rights of Silwan
Ben-Sasson said the group was still deciding how to respond to
the lawsuit, which was filed in the Jerusalem Magistrate Court last
Over 8,000 tourists and Israelis visited the City of David
archeological park during the four intermediate days of Pessah. The site hosts
approximately 450,000 visitors a year.
Elad and SJSM recently started
countercampaigns with the popular Lonely Planet guidebook, after SJSM activists
petitioned the guide to include more information about the Arab history of
Silwan, which is not discussed in the book or in the park.