Former MK Ben Ari launched legal battle

Screenshot, Honenu Atty. Poleski; Video credit: Knesset Channel

Thursday, December 29, 2022, 19:16 In August, Former Knesset Member Dr. Michael Ben Ari was indicted for incitement to racism, subject to a hearing, following tweets that he posted on his Twitter account. The hearing will be held several days from now. In preparation for the hearing, Dr. Ben Ari hired the services of Attorney Tzion Amir, one of the foremost attorneys in Israel, and Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski, and launched a legal battle.

Attorneys Amir and Poleski sent a letter to the Office of the State Attorney on behalf of Dr. Ben Ari stating that the law was being enforced selectively against him. The enforcement departed from the policy generally used when defendants were put on trial in similar cases. Attorneys Amir and Poleski also wrote that Dr. Ben Ari’s remarks are protected under freedom of expression in general and academic freedom of expression in particular.

Leading up to the hearing, Attorney Tzion Amir and Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski stated, “The subject is remarks that many, many intellectuals and public figures, from the right and from the left, regard as not only not racist, but rather as remarks protected under ‘freedom of expression,’ which is one of the highest values in a democratic society. It is of particular note that many public figures, from all systems in the State – political, military, and academic – have expressed themselves with more serious remarks that the Office of the State Attorney ruled were not incitement to racism, and moreover, investigations were not opened.

“Dr. Ben Ari is being persecuted. He has clarified many times in words and in deeds that he does not support racism, does not incite racism, and does support equal rights for Arab citizens. This was expressed in Knesset committee hearings when Dr. Ben Ari was a Knesset member. All of Dr. Ben Ari’s remarks stemmed from a feeling of responsibility and concern for the Israeli public and with the goal of cautioning against following the ‘ostrich policy’ that has been used by State authorities frequently out of political considerations. The authorities in Israel kept relevant information about the many dangers facing the State of Israel and her citizens away from the public. Here is the place to mention that many of Dr. Michael Ben Ari’s statements turned out to be correct during Operation Guardian of the Walls. Examination of the allegations against him gives a hard feeling of persecution, discrimination, and an attempt to silence Dr. Ben Ari.”

Dr. Michael Ben Ari stated, “Over the past few years, the Office of the State Attorney has leaked false and tendentious claims about me in order to defame me and sentence me before a trial [was even held]. However, now it should all become clear in court, according to the rules of evidence.”

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