High court says libel suit against Israeli newspaper should be heard in Israel
OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says a Canadian businessman who claims he was defamed by an Israeli newspaper will have to pursue his libel case in Israel.
Mitchell Goldhar, who owns a soccer team based in Tel Aviv, filed a defamation suit in 2011 against Israel’s oldest newspaper, Haaretz, over an article about his management style and business practices.
The story appeared in print and on the newspaper’s Hebrew and English-language websites.
Lower courts in Canada said Goldhar’s suit could proceed here, but in a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court disagreed, saying Israel is the proper forum.
The six judges in the majority agreed on the basic question, but differed on legal technicalities, offering four sets of reasons.
The dissenting justices said someone who is allegedly defamed online in his home province should be able to seek vindication there.
Justice Suzanne Cote said the first lower court judge erred in part of his analysis of the case.
“On a robust and careful assessment of the relevant factors tainted by these errors, I conclude that Israel is a clearly more appropriate forum for this claim to be heard,” Cote wrote.
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