Saturday, January 29, 2022

  • Saturday, January 29, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon


From MLive (Ann Arbor):

After two years of legal battles over anti-Israel protests outside an Ann Arbor synagogue — demonstrations the courts have upheld as free speech — a federal judge has ordered the plaintiffs to pay the protesters nearly $159,000 to cover their legal defense fees.

U.S. District Court Judge Victoria Roberts issued the ruling this week, deciding plaintiffs Marvin Gerber and Miriam Brysk and attorney Marc Susselman are liable for the protesters’ attorney fees for pursuing meritless and frivolous claims.

The ruling comes as Brysk, represented by Susselman, is now petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case.

Gerber, now represented by a Washington, D.C. law firm, is separately petitioning the nation’s high court.

Susselman, who has been lead counsel in the federal case, called the judge’s ruling on attorney fees “a reversible error” and said he plans to file an appeal challenging it. He disputes Roberts’ determination the claims were frivolous.

The original lawsuit was filed in late 2019 by Susselman and Gerber, a member of the Beth Israel Congregation on Washtenaw Avenue, where Henry Herskovitz and his anti-Israel group have protested on Saturday mornings since 2003.

Brysk, identified in court records as a Holocaust survivor and member of the Pardes Hannah Congregation in an annex next to the synagogue, joined as a co-plaintiff.

The lawsuit targeted both the protesters and the city for allowing the protests without restrictions, alleging the demonstrations amount to hateful, antisemitic speech and infringe on the rights of congregants to exercise freedom of religion.

Protest signs have carried messages such as “Resist Jewish Power,” “Jewish Power Corrupts,” “No More Holocaust Movies,” “Boycott Israel,” “Stop U.S. Aid to Israel” and “End the Palestinian holocaust.”

Susselman argues the judge erred in determining the claims were frivolous. Even though the Court of Appeals upheld the case’s dismissal last year, Susselman notes the court wrote, “One could colorably argue that signs that say ‘Jewish Power Corrupts’ and ‘No More Holocaust Movies’ directly outside a synagogue attended by holocaust survivors and timed to coincide with their service are more directed at the private congregants than designed to speak out about matters of public concern. The claims require a context-driven examination of complex constitutional doctrine.”
The "protests" are aimed at people attending synagogue, during synagogue hours, for 18 years. It is harassment and only a week ago has Ann Arbor admitted that it is antisemitic. 

(h/t Andrew)







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