After 3-year litigation, King Store withdraws libel suit

Attorney Meir Abraham; Photo credit: Sivan Farag

Tuesday, March 19, 2024, 16:15 The King Store retail-food chain has withdrawn a libel suit against E., a security officer and resident of a Druze village in northern Israel who criticized the chain on his Facebook page during Operation Guardian of the Walls (May 2021). E. wrote, “King Store is closing for an entire day in solidarity with Hamas.” After E.’s post, the retail food chain filed a libel suit against him for NIS 100,000. The suit was filed approximately three years ago, and the legal proceedings were recently concluded after a prolonged legal battle. King Store was forced to clarify their stance and state that the chain’s strike during Operation Guardian of the Walls was not an expression of support for Hamas and that they oppose acts of terror. King Store closed the branch which E. referred to on the same day that the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab citizens of Israel called for a one-day strike. Honenu engaged Attorneys Dr. Yechiel Weinroth, Meir Abraham, and Yagel David of Dr. J. Weinroth & Co. law offices to represent E.

In the statement of defense, the attorneys reasoned that by actively taking part in the strike, King Store in effect implemented a decision, which was nothing less than a manifesto supporting Hamas, by the Arab High Follow-Up Committee, exactly as it was written. The attorneys wrote, “The grounds for the strike that the Committee ordered, as they wrote them, intentionally demonized the defensive actions taken by the IDF and described soldiers as ‘suppression forces’ while creating a false impression of a ‘massacre’ in Gaza, which never happened. [The decision] prompted expressions of ‘praise and immortality for our martyrs in Gaza.’ These [citations] show more than anything else the unrestrained support of the strike for Hamas, while expressing absolute contempt for the State of Israel and the army defending it.”

Furthermore, “The plaintiff expressed solidarity, agreement, and identification with the Committee’s vitriolic political writings, and even actively took part in the strike by closing their business. Do not expect their critics to remain silent. And do not expect an Israeli court to deny critics their freedom of expression, when [King Store] could act in any manner they desired.”

At the end of a three-year litigation, during which the sides engaged in mediation, King Store retracted the suit against E., without obligating him to pay any compensation.

Honenu issued a statement regarding the case: “We are pleased to support anyone who fights for the national interests of Israel and give them full backing, as we did for E., a Druze patriot who devotes his life to Israel. We are pleased that the King Store retail food chain was forced, at the end of a prolonged legal battle, to retract the suit meant to silence E. The well-reasoned and detailed statement of defense statement filed by the attorneys hired to represent E. successfully made the case for him.”

Attorney Meir Abraham of the Dr. J. Weinroth & Co. law firm added, “The position of E. was thoroughly clarified to the court, and according to it, the announcement by the chain of the branch’s strike on the specific day declared by the Committee as a strike day, expresses clear solidarity with the serious declarations of the Committee against the security forces of the State of Israel during Operation Guardian of the Walls [May 2021]. After three years of legal proceedings, King Store was forced to clarify that there was nothing in their actions that showed solidarity with the Hamas terror organization and that they oppose acts of terror and violence. However, it is regrettable that almost three years of legal proceedings were necessary to extract such an elementary clarification that should have been automatic. Better late than never.”

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