National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Monday sued Israeli Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) activist Gilad Sade through his Otzma Yehudit party for NIS 500,000 as compensation for the damage caused by allegedly false publications on Ben-Gvir on Twitter and in an interview with The New Yorker.
The lawsuit alleges Sade was persecuting Ben-Gvir, specifically referring to a series of tweets published on February 20, 2023, in which Sade claimed that during his childhood, when he and Ben-Gvir were both members of the Kahanist "Kach" movement, Ben-Gvir sent him on sabotage missions while staying safely behind.
In the specific tweet, Sade claimed that when he was 14 years old, Ben-Gvir ordered him to sabotage vehicles belonging to the UN in Jerusalem in order to create a diplomatic incident. Allegedly Ben-Gvir meanwhile stayed behind, in a car far away from the UN compound that was targeted.
The lawsuit goes on to detail the public attention the tweets garnered, listing the numbers of clicks and likes each tweet received and emphasizing that the tweet thread was pinned at the top of Sade's account.
Sade then linked to an interview where he again told the same story in The New Yorker, which according to the lawsuit, "is mostly biased and completely false, and whose purpose is to smear Israel, some of the members of the government, including the complainant [Ben-Gvir] in the eyes of the world."
Sade's alleged past as a right-wing activist
"Gilad Sade is a person who has set himself the goal of discrediting the State of Israel in the world, and in particular to defame right-wing people," Ben-Gvir said. "Gone are the days when the extreme left can slander Israel and not pay for it. The unfounded lies and defamations spread by this extreme and dangerous person against me - with the help of God, will exact a price in court."
In the lawsuit, the defense team also describes Sade's alleged past in order to discredit his statements about Ben-Gvir.
Sade allegedly was a "particularly violent and extreme activist, in his desire to prove that he is a loyal Jew...in addition, the defendant would attack police officers, burn vehicles, throw stones, puncture tires, and commit property crimes even without connection to right-wing activity."
The lawsuit further claims, without evidence, that Sade "married a 16-year-old girl, had 2 children with her, divorced her, abandoned the children and fled abroad without paying child support" when he was 19 years old.
During his stay abroad, the defendant suddenly changed his mind and began to adopt extreme left-wing positions. The defendant made it his goal to harm key figures from the political right side of the map.
This is reflected, among other things, in the false and delusional stories he wrote in the publications discussed in this lawsuit."