About the lawsuit filed against me by “Bnei Baruch”
In December 2012 I sent the authorities a letter of complaint expressing my concern that the Kabala movement “Bnei Baruch” also known as “Kabalah La’am” has allegedly managed to penetrate the Israel education system though a subsidiary that it formed under the innocent sounding name of “Ligdol BeKeif”(Grow Happily).
My letter of complaint was addressed solely to the responsible government officers/officials, and I have not advertised its content or its existence in any media outlet or social network. In March 2013, after various attempts to convince me to forgo and withdraw the complaint, Bnei Baruch filed a defamation lawsuit against me. In their lawsuit Bnei Baruch described my actions as follows: “…with the purpose of harming The Plaintiff as much as possible, debasing it and damaging its good reputation, to harm it and to ridicule and excommunicate it in the public’s eye.”
It is obvious to any reasonably intelligent person that this statement is absurd. If I wanted to cause as much damage as possible to Bnei Baruch I would have published the letter of complaint (which I have not done). I only wanted the authorities to do their job and investigate the matter, which is why I approached them.
I believe this is what is known as a “silencing lawsuit” (SLAPP – Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation), its objective being first and foremost to directly threaten me in order to halt me from voicing any critical expressions relative to Bnei Baruch while additionally cautioning others, and simultaneously attempting to silence the deprecatory public discourse that exists around the organization.
In 2013, The Israel Association for Civil Rights published a report that examined what it defined as an “increasing phenomenon in Israel of defamation lawsuits” or the threat of a defamation lawsuit, based on vague and sometimes unfounded legal grounds, lodged by organizations with great power and financial capability. The purpose of these lawsuits according to the report: “Other than bringing harm to the specific critic, they also have the power to deter others (“chilling effect”) from participating in a free public discourse in matters of public importance, and especially from criticizing powerful institutions.”
In my letter of defense drafted by Attorney Ishay Shneydor, we chose to describe the situation as follows: “the filing of a groundless lawsuit with an inflated monetary amount … all in an attempt to threaten and apply a chilling effect against the defendant. However, the defendant has no plans to give in or be silenced. The defendant shall handle his defense in order to protect the rights of the citizen to oppose strong and powerful institutions – and in this case his basic democratic right is simply the right to appeal to the appropriate authorities with a formal letter of complaint (!)…As someone familiar with ‘Bnei Baruch’, and personally injured by its methods of operations and influence, he felt it was his civil obligation to warn the appropriate officials, and perhaps to protect other parents from his fate… This phenomenon constitutes a severe threat to the citizen’s freedom of speech – to act, to express, to try to impact, and to squarely face the interests of those who are more powerful than he…”
This blog is my way to gather support – first and foremost financial – but not only, in my fight against what I perceive as Bnei Baruch’s attempt at silencing me. Through a quick Internet search, I discovered that I was not the only one whom Bnei Baruch has tried to silence, but also Tomer Persico, a Contemporary religions researcher, who has followed the activity of the organization during recent years, and who writes about it on his website titled “Lulaat HaEl”.
All the documents relevant to the legal proceedings are attached below (including documents from Bnei Baruch which filed the lawsuit against me). In these texts you will find detailed information including my letter of complaint serving as the basis for filing the lawsuit. I especially recommend reading the full letter of defense that describes the entire sequence of events as well as my personal painful experience with Bnei Baruch.
I would be very grateful if you decide to join my fight by offering financial support, or any other support you can – any new /additional information on Bnei Baruch or its affiliates is especially welcome.
Helping out would be most appreciated, as would contacting me. I will continue providing updates through this blog of any developments in the legal suit filed against me and any other information.