Right-wing MK outraged by ‘libelous’ attack from major Israeli paper, threatens to sue

MK Simcha Rothman tweets that he is baffled as to why the outlet “decided to attack me with such malicious falsehoods.”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

MK Simcha Rothman of the Religious Zionism party sent a warning letter to the Jerusalem Post on Sunday, saying that an editorial by the newspaper could constitute “incitement” and “absolute lies.”

Earlier on Sunday, the prominent English-language Israeli newspaper ran an editorial headlined “Simcha Rothman’s support for Jewish terrorist crosses a dangerous line,” which claimed that the lawmaker was attempting to undermine the Israeli justice system and that he was defending a murderer simply due to the fact he is Jewish.

Rothman, an attorney and author of a book about judicial overreach in Israel, had questioned the validity of a recent Supreme Court decision denying an appeal from Amiram Ben Uliel, who was convicted of terror.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court acknowledged that Ben Uliel had been extensively tortured by Israeli security agencies before confessing and that some of the admissions from the defendant, which had been obtained via torture, should be disregarded.

However, the court ruled that other evidence of Ben Uliel’s guilt was strong enough that his conviction was valid and that his main confession was admissible.

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“I don’t know whether Amiram Ben Uliel perpetrated the Duma murder or not,” Rothman wrote on Twitter shortly after the ruling. “I know that a system of justice, which approves confessions given after torture, is not fit to be called a just system.”

The Post editorial took issue with Rothman’s position, insinuating that the lawmaker was defending Ben Uliel just because he was Jewish and whitewashing any alleged terror activity.

“Sometimes, dangers to human rights and democracy become more serious from seeming moderates who try to sneak extremist views into the mainstream,” the editorial began.

“According to Rothman, a Jew accused of violence is innocent even after conviction and after all appeals are exhausted, but for Palestinians it is different,” the editorial charged.

Rothman’s statement questioning the use of torture in criminal investigations against Israeli citizens is “a back door to legitimizing extremist Jewish violence against innocent Palestinians,” the Post concluded.

“It is unclear to me as to why the Jerusalem Post has decided to attack me with such malicious falsehoods,” Rothman wrote on Twitter Sunday evening.

“It’s not my style to file libel suits or to threaten to do so, especially against media outlets, but these lies are so blatant and amount to…incitement, with no basis for the statements made whatsoever – leaving me with no other option,” he added.

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A letter to the Post from Rothman’s attorney, Uri Nizri, blasted the outlet’s “absolute lies.”

“The article relates to a post and tweet published by MK Rothman on social media in which he protests the way in which the confession of Amiram Ben Uliel was accepted as valid by the Supreme Court, even though it was obtained via torture,” read the letter.

“MK Rothman also wrote explicitly that he does not know whether Amiram Ben Uliel committed this crime or not, as the validity of the interrogation was placed in question due to the fact that Ben Uliel was tortured… a reading of the tweet and statements of MK Rothman cannot identify any support for terrorism, for any terrorist, or even any distinction between a confession extracted by means of torture from an Arab or a Jew.

“The claims made in the article are baseless, and therefore the author, who remains anonymous, resorted to making deliberate accusations…regarding matters that are entirely untrue and extremely grave and also cross the line of criminal behavior and can be interpreted as incitement, as they give the impression that my client supports terrorism, Heaven forbid.”