Top Israeli Left-wing Activists Face Lawsuit for Plagiarism

IDI suing attorney Michael Sfard and Col Shaul Arieli over book about West Bank separation fence.

The Israel Democracy Institute and one of its researchers, Anat Roth, are suing attorney Michael Sfard and Col (res.) Shaul Arieli, two well-known left-wing activists, for copyright violation.

The suit, filed in the Tel Aviv District Court, states that in their book about the separation fence, "Homa u'Mehdal, Geder Hahafrada - Bitahon or Hamdanut" ("Wall and Failure, the Separation Fence - Security or Greed"), Sfard and Arieli plagiarized material written and edited by the plaintiffs without seeking permission or even properly crediting the author.

This material included "substantial sections" of Roth's 2005 study of settler campaigns against the fence and the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, including "exclusive, unique interviews" that she conducted with settler leaders over many months.

Upon discovering this, Roth and the IDI demanded that Sfard, Arieli and their publishers - two divisions of Yedioth Ahronoth Books, which were also named as respondents - halt sales of the book, remove unsold books from stores and publish an apology in the press. Not only did the respondents refuse, they are still printing and selling the book, and even planning to translate it into several foreign languages, the suit said.

The suit seeks damages of NIS 300,000.