Three months ago the musician and writer Gilad Atzmon was sued in the High Court of England by the chairman of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA), Gideon Falter, regarding an article Atzmon had published on his website.
During a preliminary hearing before the trial the protagonists could not agree on the meaning of the words used in Atzmon’s article and the allegations he had made. This dispute had to be resolved by the court before the actual trial could take place.
The judge in the case, Mr Justice Nicklin, applied his own meaning to Atzmon’s article at the preliminary hearing, which included a ruling by him that the article claimed funds collected by Falter and the CAA were obtained by “fraud” on Falter’s part.
This is disputed by Atzmon. In a statement published on his website on 2 July, he said:
I did not (and do not) believe that Mr Falter was motivated by fraud and I do not think that there is anything I said that suggested it. However, I have to accept the ruling that the court made.
Atzmon further emphasised:
Despite what has been suggested earlier today by Mr Falter in a press release, the court didn’t make any finding that I myself am an anti-Semite.
Indeed, in the statements below, made by the legal representatives of Atzmon and Falter settling the case following the judge’s ruling, no mention of anti-Semitism is made.
Nonetheless, Falter persists in alleging that Atzmon is an anti-Semite. This has prompted Eve Mykytyn, a writer, editor and former financial lawyer, to write to Falter debunking his anti-Semitism allegations.
Eve Mykytyn’s response to Gideon Falter
Dear Mr Falter,
I disagree with much of what you said in your recent article crowing over your “victory” over Mr Atzmon.
1. In paragraphs 1 and 2 you make the claim that Mr Atzmon is an anti-Semite. You cite then to your own articles as proof, using the weasel word “reported” to make your damaging claims… Atzmon criticises mere rule-followers who focus on the rules rather than the ethics of the law (the construction and destruction of Grenfell towers being an apt example). Use of the word “reported” is another example of following the letter rather than the spirit of the law.
You also cite a Twitter comment from 2014, quoted without context. The comment seems to me to be referring to a set of characteristics, but in any case provides little evidence.
2. In paragraph 3 you openly admit that you try to interfere with Mr Atzmon’s music career by attempting to have him banned from venues where he is contractually bound to play. Then, after trying to interfere with Atzmon’s source of income, in paragraph 4 you seem to complain that Atzmon does not have the ability, as you claim to have, to work “without making a penny”, and is forced to ask for financial support to defend your libel suit against him.
3. In paragraph 5 you whine that Atzmon “did not show his face’ at the hearing. Is your argument that Atzmon ought to be a lawyer as well as a beleaguered (by you) saxophonist and a philosopher?
4. In paragraphs 6 you cite Justice Nicklen’s decision. Notable in the judge’s decision was the ruling that Atzmon claimed you achieved your aims through fraud, a claim that Atzmon neither made nor could defend.
5. Paragraph 7, again, Mr Atzmon’s task of defending himself was made impossible by the judge’s decision. He could not defend what he did not say. While you brag of the substantial damages and costs you extracted from Mr Atzmon, it should be noted that the damages go to you personally as the claimant and not to the CAA.
While I’m not sure why you criticise Mr Atzmon for not appearing in court when no such need exists, the statement he had made was, of course, demanded by you.
6. Paragraph 8: was Atzmon’s defeat a humiliation? While you brag of bringing to court those you perceive as anti-Semites, no such finding was made about Mr Atzmon. The court simply ruled unfavourably on the definition of his speech. As an American and a fan of the First Amendment, I see the case as a “humiliation” of the British justice system.
7. Finally, you say you have exposed Mr Atzmon as an “anti-Semitic liar”. There was, of course, no such ruling.