Melissa Parke successfully settles defamation case against pro-Israeli commentator

Apr 14, 2021
Melissa Parke has successfully settled defamation legal proceedings with pro-Israeli commentator Colin Rubenstein over his claims that Parke had been anti-Semitic in her remarks on Israeli treatment of Palestinians.

The Israeli support lobby in Australia is led by people like Mr Colin Rubenstein from Melbourne. For years, Rubenstein has tried to occupy the minds of Australians by placing his op-eds in Israel-supporting media and thereby attacks, labels and, as in the following case, derides anyone speaking in support of the human rights of Palestinians.

In those respects, the victory of Melissa Parke in her libel action against Rubinstein for labelling her a ‘compulsive slanderer, conspiracy theorist, a liar, a fanatic and an anti- Semite’ is highly significant. It masks a watershed in confronting the attempts of Rubinstein and others to stifle the publication of truths about the lives of Palestinians and the massive and cruel human rights abuses of governments of Israel.

MELISSA PARKE MEDIA STATEMENT: 13 April 2021

My legal proceedings against Dr. Colin Rubenstein have been settled and the case has been discontinued in the Federal Court.

Except for the statement of Dr. Rubenstein, reproduced below, the terms of the settlement are confidential.

Dr. Rubenstein’s statement, posted on AIJAC’s website from 9 April 2021, is as follows:

In April 2019, I published material in which I discussed and critiqued, amongst other things, statements made by Melissa Parke. Ms. Parke claims that my comments suggested that she is a compulsive slanderer, a conspiracy theorist, a liar, a fanatic, and an anti-Semite. I did not intend to convey any of those things. My comments were intended to address the accuracy and implications of the statements and claims Ms. Parke had made, rather than being directed at her personally.

Without conceding that my comments carried the meanings which Ms. Parke claims I acknowledge that to the best of my knowledge she is none of those things.

I acknowledge that Ms. Parke was distressed by her belief that I had characterized her in that manner. I regret that my comments caused her distress.

I only ever went into the proceedings seeking an acknowledgment that I was not any of the things imputed of me. Dr. Rubenstein has now acknowledged this. I believe it is most important for our democratic society that persons can speak out against injustice in places such as Palestine, without being defamed for doing so. It was said of me that by engaging in litigation I was inhibiting free speech. To the contrary I was defending my, and any other person’s, right to speak freely and truthfully on a contentious issue, such as Palestine, without having my reputation tarnished for doing so.

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