avi benayahu 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Former IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. (res.) Avi Benayahu’s lawyer on Thursday
attacked McCann-Erickson’s defense arguments over its publication of an
anonymous ad accusing Benayahu of conducting a “coup d’etat” against
then-prospective IDF chief Maj.-Gen Yoav Galant.
The advertisement that
triggered the NIS 2.5 million libel suit filed by Benayahu against the ad
company, Haaretz and Yediot Aharonot, also accused other senior IDF officers of
participating in the “coup.”
In an interview with Army Radio, Benayahu’s
lawyer, Eyal Rosovsky, said that McCann- Erickson in its defense statement,
submitted on Wednesday to the court, continued its reckless attacks on senior
officers, while hiding behind the privilege offered by the court
“The defense statements can say what they like, but eventually
someone will have to back up the statements in court,” Rosovsky said.
full-page ads, which sharply criticized Benayahu, as well as former chief of
General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi and Lt.-Col (res.) Boaz Harpaz, for
their perceived roles in torpedoing the appointment of Galant to lead the IDF,
was published in the two dailies in January and signed by “Citizens who do not
personally know Galant and are concerned over the putsch in the Kirya [military
The ad stated that “The Gabi Ashkenzi, Avi Benayahu and
Boaz Harpaz gang, together with their court reporters, are about to be
victorious and torpedo the democratic selection of Galant to be chief of
The ad then blamed the three for destroying Galant’s 30-year
military career, driven by unworthy intentions. The ad referred to the
publication of the “Galant Document,” outlining the candidate’s negative PR
campaign strategy, which was subsequently discovered to be a forgery produced by
Harpaz, an officer associated with Ashkenazi.
In its defense,
McCann-Erickson said that the sole motive behind the lawsuit was to determine
the identity of the ad’s sponsor, but argued that the company was obligated to
preserve client confidentiality.
“It is a shame McCann-Erickson, which
was a tool in the hands of this unidentified person, whom even Galant publicly
denounced, is continuing to cover for him and attempting to prevent his being
brought to justice,” Rosovsky said.
Benayahu’s lawyer wrote in the
lawsuit that the persons who paid for the ad chose to remain anonymous in order
to avoid legal and public accountability, and asked that the court disclose the
identity of the people behind it so that Benayahu could sue them
McCann-Erickson argued that unlike in the case of a news
story, where publications have the right to protect confidential sources, in the
case of a paid ad, the publications do not have similar rights or obligations to