Filmmakers issue apology to Claims Conference to settle libel lawsuit

Arrangement for concluding the libel suit submitted by the Claims Conference following the film “The Reparations Moral – The War Continues”

In the framework of the compromise agreement secured by the parties, Shamayim Productions Ltd., Orly Vilnai and Guy Meroz signed an agreed apology document.

This agreement concludes the proceedings in the libel suit filed by the Claims Conference in September 2008 against the makers of the film “The Reparations Moral – The War Continues,” which was broadcast on the evening of Yom Hashoah in the same year.

The format of the apology follows below.

APOLOGY

The purpose of this apology is to correct the impression that may have been left regarding the Claims Conference in the hearts and minds of those who saw the film
“Moral Reparations – The Struggle Continues.”

Over the past five years, we have devoted much of our time to assisting needy Holocaust survivors. We consider this a strong moral imperative.

As investigative journalists who view their work as a social mission, we try to engage in critical analysis of various bodies involved in assisting Holocaust survivors. As part of this work, we made this film, which addressed the activity of the Claims Conference.

We regret that, in the course of our struggle to correct what we saw as an historical and human injustice, the Claims Conference was wronged due to the fact that we failed to present the whole picture and to accurately reflect all the details as they should have been presented. It was not our intention to cause this outcome.

For 60 years, the Claims Conference has acted tirelessly on behalf of the Jewish people in order to assist Holocaust survivors and to engage in education, commemoration and documentation of the Holocaust.

We believe that the Claims Conference has made a crucial and unprecedented contribution to assisting Holocaust survivors by representing the Jewish people in contacts with the Government of Germany and other bodies. We are aware of the tremendous work that is undertaken daily by the Claims Conference for Holocaust survivors. Through this work, the Claims Conference has made an unparalleled contribution to the successes of the Jewish people in rehabilitating and rebuilding its life in Israel and in the Diaspora.

No one disputes the fact that, were it not for the Claims Conference, the condition of Holocaust survivors around the world, particularly in Israel, would be much worse.

We also believe that the frustrating gap between the desire to help Holocaust survivors, which is shared by the entire Jewish people, and the actual condition of Holocaust survivors requires criticism – on occasion harsh if deserved, directed at those who set policy in this area, as well as of those who implement it, since this is a sacred task.

We cannot abandon our loyalty and commitment to such criticism. Neither can we abandon the truth.

The Claims Conference, and possibly the general public who viewed the film“Moral Reparations – The Struggle Continues,” felt that the film leveled various accusations, some severe, at the Claims Conference.

Following the film, and in the heated media debate and the legal proceedings between the parties, accusations – some personal – were leveled at the Claims Conference and people who acted on its behalf, and we regret this.

This was not our intention, and we regret this. Our intention was and is to assist Holocaust survivors and to advance their well-being, so that in their twilight years they may enjoy the best and most appropriate living conditions possible. We feel proud and happy to have the opportunity to act to promote this objective.

We are confident that we will all continue to act, and even intensify our efforts, for the sake of this objective, which is, in our opinion, as important as any facing the Jewish people.

In order to resolve the proceedings in the libel suit submitted against us by the Claims Conference, in a positive spirit, and following the Claims Conference’s announcement that it will allocate any sum forwarded in this framework to an association working to promote the welfare of Holocaust survivors in Israel, we have agreed to pay the Claims Conference the sum of NIS 150,000, to be allocated to the ‘Amcha’ association.

 

Orly Vilnai Guy Meroz Shamayim Productions Ltd.

March 19, 2012