AG Supports Defamation Lawsuit Against ‘Jenin, Jenin’

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit will take the side of plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Mohammed Bakri, the Arab director of the film “Jenin, Jenin,” in their defamation lawsuit over the film. According to the plaintiffs, the film disseminates libelous information and lies about IDF soldiers, falsely portraying a scenario in which IDF soldiers allegedly massacred Arabs. Mandelblit’s office said in a statement that he would file testimony on behalf of the plaintiffs that the film indeed does violate laws on defamation of character, and that the lawsuit has merit.

The lawsuit, which is now before the Tel Aviv District Court, was brought by IDF reserve officer Nissim Magnaji, who claims in the lawsuit that the film “portrays a false and one-sided portrait of the activities of the IDF and its fighters in the Jenin refugee camp, under the guise of ‘artistic license.’” The lawsuit demands an apology and damages.

The film, according to the lawsuit, “contains an exhaustive number of equations of IDF soldiers and war criminals.” Several parts of the film were completely fabricated, including conversations and events that never took place, and it contains “a collection of interviews that were edited to falsely portray what the interviewee said.” Magnaji, in fact, is one of these interviewees.

The film was first released in 2002, and its purpose, according to Bakri, was to portray “Israeli war crimes” allegedly committed during Operation Defensive Shield, the IDF’s response to the violence of the second intifada.