About the Blog – “Bnei Baruch Are Suing Me” and about Me
My name is Aaron Applebaum. I am CEO of a high-tech company, a resident of Kochav Yair, married, a father of two, and have three grandchildren. I have begun this blog in order to tell my story and to ask for your financial assistance and assistance in general.
Last year the Bnei Baruch organization (linked to ‘Kabalah La’Am, Michael Laitman’s organization) filed a defamation lawsuit against me. To my understanding, this lawsuit’s objective is to silence and frighten me and to create what lawyers call “a chilling effect.” In other words, it aims to influence me and other citizens against taking part in public discourse on this group of organizations, and to cause a person to fear expressing her or his critical opinion on anything related to large and rich organizations.
Bnei Baruch sued me because of a letter of complaint that I sent to government officers/officials in December 2012, after discovering, to my astonishment, that a subsidiary organization of “Bnei Baruch”, specifically “Ligdol Bekeif” (Grow Happily), had managed to penetrate the Israel education system (and particularly the school in the local district of Tivon). I did not publish anything in media outlets nor in the social networks. As a concerned citizen with a long and painful history of Bnei Baruch, I chose to approach the responsible government officials in order to draw their attention to the matter and ask them to do their job and investigate. If after carrying out their investigation they were to conclude that there was no truth to my complaint, my letter would have no implications, public or otherwise. The entitlement to approach an authorized authority is protected by law and indeed is the civil right and obligation of each of us. Bnei Baruch could have chosen to reply to those same officials, and repel the complaint, if indeed it was untrue. Instead they chose to file a defamation lawsuit. This is not how one would expect a “spiritual organization” to act. This is how an organization with power and a specific interest that wishes to frighten and silence detractors acts.
In my defense I wrote: “Many others think that ‘Bnei Baruch’ has the characteristics of a “cult”. The Israeli Center of Cult Victims www.infokatot.com, an organization investigating cultish organizations, believes so. Renowned specialists believe so. The mode of activity used by ‘Bnei Baruch’ faces harsh public criticism. See in this matter, by way of example only, the investigative article in Haaretz newspaper from August 2012 noting that “…‘Bnei Baruch’ has the characteristics of a cult, both in the professional sense (as defined by researchers and counselors) as well as in the “public” sense of the term. ‘Bnei Baruch’ recruits for its own purposes the resources of members captured in its net, and exploits those resources (both monetary and time) solely to its benefit. The result is financial empowerment…”
Years ago, my son joined Bnei Baruch, thus I have a long and painful acquaintance with ‘Bnei Baruch’. Here is an excerpt from my defense concerning my son: “He closely witnessed, in a personal and unmediated manner, how Bnei Baruch acts through sophisticated means in order to gradually take over the consciousness, viewpoint, money and lives in general of those who were captivated by it and have joined the organization’s inner circles, and certainly its hard core, causing severe damage to their relationships with their parents, relatives and friends, to the point of complete disconnect.” Several days after filing my letter of complaint, my son’s family approached me and reopened limited connection after a very long period of distancing. Their first condition was that I would officially retract my letter of complaint by writing again to all the government officers/officials addressed in my original letter. Later, a letter arrived from an attorney on their behalf, and in March 2013 Bnei Baruch filed the defamation lawsuit against me.
I am establishing this blog because I decided that
(a) I will not be silenced, and
(b) I am simultaneously initiating a public-legal battle, which is why I am also asking for your support.
From my perspective this is an important public battle that extends far beyond my letter of complaint. The ploy of “silencing lawsuits” (SLAPP- Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) has become the tool of choice employed by powerful organizations to intimidate and prevent citizens from expressing their opinion. I believe this situation constitutes a real danger to freedom of expression in Israel.
I would appreciate it greatly if you decide to join my fight by offering financial support, or any other support such as with new /additional information on Bnei Baruch or its affiliates, which is especially welcome. Please contact if you wish to help out.
I will continue to update on any developments in the legal file or other information via this blog.
Thank you for your support,