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Richard Silverstein Asking His Readers to Help Pay For Judgment Awarded Against Him

Serial liar and schnorrer Richard Silverstein has this tweet pinned to his Twitter profile:

Screenshot

It leads to this Facebook page, which provides some more information:

Please donate to support the journalism and activism of Tikun Olam. It is the only blog dedicated to reporting about the Israeli national security state. It one of the few blogs supporting a one-state solution and a state for all Israel’s citizens.

I have launched a a major redesign of my website for the time in over a decade. It will cost $1000. I have been fighting for years an ongoing libel suit against me which has cost nearly $40,000. This, unfortunately is the price of speaking truth to power.

I have to be honest with you. I have not really been following the DouchebloggerTM‘s antics for a while now. Perhaps I have been suffering from DouchebloggerTM fatigue, but also a relative lack of time to deal with all Israel-haters and antisemites among whom he is – let’s face it – relatively insignificant. Besides, I have already put such a huge hole in his credibility.

But seeing this tweet, I could not resist.

What is this libel case he speaks of?

In 2019, Silverstein bragged in a post Tikun Olam Wins Major Legal Victory in Israeli Courts:

In February 2018, I saw a video of an Israeli TV news segment, which reported on a campaign to smear the Israeli police investigating the corruption cases against Bibi Netanyahu.  The Kan report claimed that Soriano had signed a contract, and hired sub-contractors who were former Israeli military intelligence agents, to engage in surveillance of the police officials.  The goal was to dig up dirt on the investigators and thus to sabotage the entire case mounted against him.

Returning to the Kan TV new story, it notes that Netanyahu and Soriano go back quite a ways.  The UK private investigator knew Bibi’s brother Yonatan and even produced a documentary film after his death.  Whenever Bibi needed “muscle” he called on Soriano. The Israeli broadcaster quotes a former worker in the prime minister’s office who said that the staff called Soriano, behind his back, “Bibi’s Bully.”

Within months, Soriano’s lawyers sents demands that I delete the Soriano post I’d published.  If I refused, I would be sued for $75,000 damages based on the claim of defaming the man and his reputation.

With the help of an Israeli attorney, I secured Shlomy Zacharia as my local counsel, who has represented me throughout the case.  In our initial filings, we argued that an Israeli court should not have jurisdiction in this matter because the blog post and website originate in the U.S. Therefore any legal proceeding should be brought in the U.S. and argued under U.S. law.

Additionally, Soriano is a UK resident, with vague ties to Israel.  Given that I am a U.S. citizen, there was no basis to claim Israel as the proper jurisdiction. We argued that this case represented an example of libel tourism in which an aggrieved party shops for the most favorable legal system in which to argue his case.  UK laws used to be highly favorable to complainants and they used to exploit this by bringing suit when they had only the most tenuous connection to the country itself.  Eventually, laws were tightened there and libel tourists stopped calling.

The Magistrate court agreed with our argument and threw out Soriano’s claims, deciding that Israeli courts are not the proper forum for hearing the case.  Soriano’s attorney filed an appeal with the District Court.  After arguments a few weeks ago, that court this week rejected the appeal.  In addition, the court awarded me $2,500 in legal fees to be paid by Soriano.

Though the case was decided on more procedural grounds, I believe it represents a victory for press freedom and free speech.  It is the second time I’ve been forced to defend myself in such a case and the second time I’ve won

What Silverstein has not mentioned or bragged about on his blog is how this was not the end of the story.

In July 2020, Walter Soriano brought a claim for libel against Silverstein in a UK court. Silverstein entered in to a settlement agreement, promising, inter alia, not to:

“2.2.1 republish the allegations concerning Mr Soriano contained within the Articles, as set out in paragraphs 11.7 and 11.8 of the Amended Particulars of Claim in the Proceedings (the ‘Allegations’) or any allegations to similar effect. For the avoidance of doubt, Mr Silverstein is free to republish the content of the Articles insofar as it does not refer to Mr Soriano …”

and:

“..not write about Mr Soriano on the Website or otherwise publicly in the future, except to the extent that he is republishing or reporting assertions that have already been put into the public domain, in whatever form of media (including print, broadcast and online), including by way of TV broadcasts, newspapers and media and news websites (without restrictions), subject to clause 2 above.”

Alas, Silverstein tweeted a number of things, including:

FBI agents swarm Washington home of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Walter Soriano, the shady Israeli tough-guy ‘security consultant’ who sued me in both Israel and the UK has been a major player in … Deripaska’s clique. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/fbi-agentsswarm-d-c-home-russian-oligarch-oleg-deripaska-n1281844 via @nbcnews”

As FBI targets Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska in possible criminal probe, Israeli Spy Companies Link Flynn, Deripaska, and Senate Intelligence Committee Target Walter Soriano
https://forensicnews.net/israeli-spy-companies-show-critical-linkbetween-flynn-deripaska-and-senate-intelligence-committee-targetwalter-soriano/… via @forensicnewsnet.

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, client of UK security consultant, Walter Soriano, charged with violating sanctions https://www.axios.com/2022/09/29/russian-oligarch-sanctionscharges-putin-DOJ.

that led to these latest proceedings, in which it was found that Silverstein breached clause 2.2.1 of the Settlement Agreement and had to pay £30,000 (approx. $37,000) in Mr Soriano’s costs. It are these costs to which Silverstein seems to be referring in his fundraising campaign.

Note how this was a case of Silverstein breaching a contractual obligation, although in his fundraiser, he paints this as part of his “fighting for years an ongoing libel suit against me.” By doing so, he makes it sound like he is somehow the victim or even brave hero fighting the ‘forces of evil.’ Yet there would have been no fight had he just shut his piehole and not breached his contract.

In other words, Silverstein has yet again been inaccurate in how he has characterized his legal fight. And he wants his readers to help clean up the mess.

By the way, Silverstein has been libeling me for years. Had I determined it would be worth the time, money and effort, I would have sued his arse a few times over by now.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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