Senior Israeli Journalist Forced to Retract Claim Arab Party Is 'Terrorist Group'

Channel 12's political analyst Amit Segal will issue statement on Twitter and on television, and send a letter to Balad party leader

Channel 12 political analyst Amit Segal, Tel Aviv, April 28, 2019
Tomer Appelbaum

A prominent Israeli journalist will have to publish a statement clarifying past remarks accusing an Israeli Arab party of being “a terrorist group with party funding,” a court ruled on Monday.

Balad, one of the four factions in the Joint List alliance, Israel’s third largest party, took Channel 12 News political reporter and analyst Amit Segal to court in March over comments made a month earlier on the channel’s flagship political program, Meet the Press, demanding 280,000 shekels ($81,000) in damages.

Segal, known for his right-wing views, will publish a clarification on Twitter and read it out on TV, the settlement said.

Balad’s attorney, Khaled Titi, claimed that Segal, affiliated with Israel’s right, “slandered the plaintiff through cruel and cynical use of his position… in order to incite the public against them… and score political gains.”

Segal, in response, argued that some party members supported terrorist activities. Party founder Azmi Bishara was suspected of assisting Lebanese group Hezbollah, recognized by Israel and some other countries as a terrorist organization, Segal argued, adding Balad openly supports armed struggle against Israel.

The clarification message will read: “A year ago, I said Balad is a terrorist group. The party was offended by this remark and filed a complaint. Well, Balad is not a terrorist organization or a terror-supporting organization in terms of the law, as the Supreme Court ruled.”

Segal will also send Balad chairman, former Knesset member Jamal Zahalka, a letter with a copy of his Twitter post.