French Jewish group CRIF fined for defaming pro-Palestinian charity

(JTA) — France’s largest Jewish organization defamed a pro-Palestinian charity by accusing it of financing Hamas, a French court ruled.

The ruling against the CRIF umbrella group handed down by the Nancy Court of Cassation last month was first reported Sunday by the news site al-kanz.org.

CRIF staff were ordered to pay the equivalent of $4,140 to the Committee for Charity and Support for the Palestinians, or CBSP – a group that CRIF researcher Marc Knobel in 2010 wrote “collects funds for Hamas.”

The ruling was on an appeal filed following a 2012 ruling by a lower court in which Knobel and CRIF’s webmaster were fined $2,070 each for defaming the charity.

The defamation occurred in an article published on the CRIF website one day after the Mavi Marmara incident in May 2010. Nine people were killed aboard the Turkish ship, which was attempting to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, in clashes between pro-Palestinian activists and Israeli troops attempting to board the vessel.

Both rulings said CRIF had failed to demonstrate the evidence necessary to support its assertion that CBSP funded Hamas.

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