A Slapp in the Face for the anti-Boycott Israel Lobby & Stand With Us

A Slapp in the Face for the anti-Boycott Israel Lobby & Stand With Us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Supporters of the Olympia Food Co-op before a court hearing on Monday, 27 February, which threw out a lawsuit designed to overturn a boycott of Israeli goods.
(TESCDivest)
The
use of ‘lawfare’ by Zionists and their ilk has been an oft used tactic to
stymie and prevent a boycott.  Board of
Deputies of British Jews lawyer, Anthony Julius used the same tactic years ago
to try and prevent an academic boycott. 
In Washington, the Olympia Food Co-operative decided 2 years ago not to
stock Israeli goods.  Their right, you
might think, in a free-market system! 
Not so, they immediately faced lawsuits.
Now
the Zionist Stand With Us group, which was behind the lawsuit, is being forced
to cough up $160,000 for their pains.  
Note
the irony.  The Zionists protest bitterly
when we use the law – to have Israeli war criminals arrested.  However their use of the law is taken for
granted
Tony
Greenstein
Submitted
by nora on Thu, 07/12/2012 – 21:12
Shoppers bag their groceries at the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn which also faced calls for a vote on a Boycott. Photograph: Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Following
today’s hearing in Olympia, Washington, of a lawsuit brought on by
anti-Palestinian, anti-boycott individuals — working with Israel lobby group StandWithUS
— the judge in the case ruled that the 16 defendants (board members of the Olympia Food Co-op), must be awarded $10,000 each
in damages.
Almost
exactly two years ago, the Olympia Food Co-op became the first grocery store in the US to de-shelve
Israeli products
as part of the Board’s committment to social
justice and human rights. Since then, anti-boycott individuals and groups have
relentlessly pursued legal options and outright intimidation of board members
in an effort to force the store to rescind its decision to support the
Palestinian-led movement of boycott,
divestment and sanctions
As The Electronic Intifada reported in February,
the Thurston County Superior Court already threw out the lawsuit against the
Co-op Board members. Judge Thomas McPhee ruled that the lawsuit, brought by opponents of the boycott, violated a
Washington State law designed to prevent abusive lawsuits aimed at suppressing
lawful public participation. The court said it would award the defendants
attorneys’ fees, costs, and levy sanctions against the plaintiffs.
While the
lawsuit was brought by several individuals against present and former members
of the Olympia Food Co-op Board, it was planned in collusion
with StandWithUs, a national anti-Palestinian organization, working with
the Israeli government, an Electronic Intifada investigation revealed last September.
In a
press release several days ago (before today’s hearing), activists with Olympia BDS
stated that the plaintiffs in the case were “continuing their attempts to
punish the Co-op for its historic stance for Palestinian human rights.”
However,
it’s now been proven that their attempts to reverse the Co-op’s boycott policy
have been finally — and expensively — thwarted by state law.  The Olympian reported
today
on the hearing:
A group
of five Olympia Food Co-op members who had sued to overturn the store’s boycott
of Israeli goods must pay $160,000 in damages as a result of a judge’s prior
ruling that the lawsuit was an illegal “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public
Participation,” or SLAPP.
SLAPPs
are defined as nuisance lawsuits that are designed to stifle free speech and
create onerous legal costs for those who choose to exercise their free speech
rights. SLAPPs are illegal under a state law that the defendants’ attorney,
Bruce Johnson and another staff attorney at Davis Wright Tremaine helped draft.
Thurston
County Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee ruled Thursday on the issue of
damages that each of the 16 defendants are entitled to under Washington’s
anti-SLAPP statute. He ruled that each of the 16 defendants are entitled to
$10,000 each.
Olympia
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement member Andrew Meyer said Thursday
that McPhee’s award recognizes that the Olympia Co-op acted within its rights
to boycott Israeli goods until Israel secures “equal, civil and human rights
for Palestinians.”
… The
plaintiffs who had brought the lawsuit seeking to overturn the co-op’s boycott
had argued that the co-op’s board acted outside of its authority when it
enacted the boycott. In February, McPhee rejected that argument, and
additionally ruled that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit was a SLAPP.
[Attorney
Bob Sulkin, who represented the plaintiffs] had argued during Thursday’s
hearing that the food co-op itself was responsible for paying for damages under
Washington’s SLAPP statue. Sulkin said that because the plaintiffs who brought
the suit are in essence “shareholders” in the “corporation” knows as the co-op,
the co-op itself and not the individual plaintiffs should be responsible for
damages.
“We are
nominal parties, nominal,”
Sulkin said in court Thursday. “The corporation is
the real party and interest here.”
McPhee
rejected Sulkin’s argument. “I don’t find that argument persuasive,” he said.
McPhee added that he is bound by the SLAPP statute enacted by the Legislature
that states that each defendant in a SLAPP statute is entitled to a $10,000
award.
… Israeli
products that were removed from the co-op’s two stores, one in East Olympia and
the other on Olympia’s West Side, include gluten-free crackers, ice cream cones
and a moisturizing cream.
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