Israeli Reporter, Accused of Badmouthing Book on Mossad, Sued for Libel

Authors claim Bergman urged foreign publishers to ignore their book on the Mossad. Bergman: they copy-pasted pages from my work.

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The authors of a book dealing with the Mossad have submitted a NIS 1 million libel suit against writer and journalist Ronen Bergman for "besmirching their reputation among foreign publishers, hoping to sabotage the international edition" of their book.

The claimants, Prof. Michael Bar Zohar and journalist Nissim Mishal, further state that Bergman acted out of "writer's envy, greed and the fear that his future book will fail."

After Mishal and Bar Zohar's book "Mossad: The Great Operations" was published in 2010, Bergman argued that the book relied heavily on his material, without his being credited as a source. The suit maintains that the sides reached a compromise which included a "huge sum of money, and the publishing of a new edition with full bibliography and sources." In addition, according to the suit, Mishal and Bar-Zohar agreed to postpone the publishing of the international edition of their book, to give Bergman time to complete his own book on the Mossad, written in English."

Nevertheless, the suit contends that Bergman sent numerous letters to foreign publishers, claiming that Mishal and Bar-Zohar had copied material from his articles and books and demanding that their book not be published. A French production company that had purchased an option on the film rights of the book froze the project until the end of the dispute.

The suit claims that Bergman's "writer's envy drove him insane, leading to an unfettered campaign of destruction, completely ignoring the consequences of his actions Mishal and Bar-Zohar were forced to explain that they're not serial copyright infringers and that the book was not stolen or copied."

Bergman has a completely different version of events. "Bar-Zohar and Mishal are two plagiarists who 'wrote' a book about the Mossad which includes many dozens of pages, or even more, that were copied directly from my articles and books, he says. Other parts were copied from other authors. Tens of thousands of words were copy-pasted, without credit or approval."

Bergman mentions an investigative story in Haaretz, dealing with the dispute. He concluded that "the case was so clear, that their publishing house offered me a three-way income split with the 'authors,' actually admitting that a third of the book was copied from my work. We eventually reached a compromise but when the two 'authors' violated its terms, I wrote publishers abroad, informing them that publication of the book would be a violation of the agreement."

Ronen Bergman: A new books plagiarizes his own work, he claims.Credit: Ronen Bergman
Michael Bar-Zohar. Eye on the censor.Credit: Nir Kafri
Nissim MishalCredit: Yoni Menachem

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