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Judge rejects Farrakhan’s $4.8 billion defamation lawsuit against ADL, SWC

The ADL wrote on social media that “truth is a defense, and no, we will not stop calling out antisemitism wherever and whenever we see it.”

A news conference featuring Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on Iranian television on Nov. 8, 2018. Credit: Hamed Malekpour/Tasnim News Agency via Wikimedia Commons
A news conference featuring Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on Iranian television on Nov. 8, 2018. Credit: Hamed Malekpour/Tasnim News Agency via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Southern District of New York has slapped down an effort by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan against the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

Judge Denise Cote dismissed on April 5 a $4.8 billion defamation lawsuit brought by Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam against the two Jewish organizations and respective leaders Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action at the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the ADL.

“The challenged statements referring to Farrakhan as antisemitic are non-actionable statements of opinion,” said Cote. “The communications in which they were published contain ‘a recitation of facts on which (they are) based’—namely direct quotes from Farrakhan.”

The ADL wrote on social media that “truth is a defense, and no, we will not stop calling out antisemitism wherever and whenever we see it” before pointing readers to its extensive “Farrakhan: In His Own Words” archive of his bigoted statements. “To mark this victory, please take a moment and reflect on Farrakhan, who we believe to be one of America’s most notorious antisemites.”

Cooper said the SWC was “grateful that the United States judicial system recognized and validated our First Amendment right to confront and speak out against anti-Semitism by dismissing Louis Farrakhan’s lawsuit and not-so-veiled attempt to silence the SWC and impede our mission.”

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