Melissa Parke withdraws defamation case against AIJAC in settlement

April 14, 2021 by J-Wire Staff
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Former ALP candidate and MP Melissa Parke has withdrawn her defamation case against Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein in a settlement in which Rubenstein issued a statement expressing “regret” that his comments caused Parke “distress.”

Melissa Parke

However, the statement did not apologise for or retract any of the claims Rubenstein made in April 2019 criticising a controversial speech Parke had made to the WA Labor Friends of Palestine on March 4, 2019.  Instead, Rubenstein’s statement said his criticisms “were intended to address the accuracy and implications of the statements and claims Ms. Parke had made” and were not directed at Parke “personally.”

It is understood that no costs were allocated as part of the settlement.
The controversial speech by Parke gained widespread media coverage in April 2019, which ultimately led to her withdrawal as the ALP candidate for the Federal seat of Curtin before the 2019 federal election. The speech by Ms. Parke had included a claim that “a pregnant refugee woman was ordered at a checkpoint in Gaza to drink a bottle of bleach”, an assertion that Israel has a “fully-fledged system of apartheid…worse than the South African system” and a statement that it “we are truly concerned as a country about foreign influence in Australia, we need to look not only at China, but also at Israel.”

Colin Rubenstein

Rubenstein’s statement said “In April 2019, I published material in which I discussed and critiqued, amongst other things, statements made by Melissa Parke.  Ms. Parke claims that my comments suggested that she is a compulsive slanderer, a conspiracy theorist, a liar, a fanatic, and an antisemite.  I did not intend to convey any of those things. My comments were intended to address the accuracy and implications of the statements and claims Ms. Parke had made, rather than being directed at her personally. Without conceding that my comments carried the meanings which Ms. Parke claims, I acknowledge that, to the best of my knowledge, she is none of those things. I acknowledge that Ms. Parke was distressed by her belief that I had characterized her in that manner.  I regret that my comments caused her distress.

Ms. Parke had previously launched defamation actions against both the Herald Sun and the West Australian over their coverage of the speech, and both papers issued retractions and apologies as part of settlements with Ms. Parke. Ms. Parke also sued Federal MP and former Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma over a tweet in which he accused her of “antisemitism and trafficking in conspiracy theories” in her WA Labor Friends of Palestine speech but dropped her defamation suit in October of last year.


2 Responses to “Melissa Parke withdraws defamation case against AIJAC in settlement”
  1. Rafi Plotkin says:

    Another example of “woke” culture silencing the right of Mr Rubinstein to express his opinion!!

  2. Erica Edelman says:

    Ms Parke might think twice, in future, about how
    She frames sentences, uses adjectives, verbs and
    Nouns when speaking about Israel.
    Perhaps, if they will receive her, a visit to Israel
    Would be extremely helpful too – this way she may
    Re-arrange any “confusing” doubts she may be
    Harboring about the way Israel conducts business.
    Colin Rubenstein will ALWAYS be one step ahead. That’s
    A given.

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