(JTA) — A judge threw out a defamation suit against AIPAC by its former foreign policy boss, Steve Rosen.
Judge Erik Christian of the Washington Superior Court ruled Wednesday that a statement by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that Rosen was fired because his behavior "did not comport with standards that AIPAC expects of its employees" was not defamatory.
Instead, Christian said, the statement, made by AIPAC spokesman Patrick Dorton to The New York Times, "is the characterization of an employer that does not rest on any objectively verifiable facts." He went on to say that the statement was "neither precise nor verifiable."
Rosen filed the lawsuit against AIPAC and Dorton in April 2009 just before a federal court threw out classified information charges against him and Keith Weissman, an former AIPAC Iran analyst, for lack of evidence. AIPAC fired Rosen and Weissman in March 2005. Evidence emerged since then that the federal government pressured the organization to fire the men as a means of isolating them, although AIPAC has steadfastly denied this. AIPAC initially was supportive of Rosen and Weissman after the FBI investigation came to light in August 2004.
"The court’s decision, that the statements made by AIPAC and its spokesman were not defamatory, support AIPAC’s continued assertion that this lawsuit was frivolous and had no basis in fact," Dorton said in a statement.
Rosen told the Washington Post he would likely appeal.