Last August, as Israel and Lebanon got busy lobbing missiles at each other, we published a cover story about the over-enthusiastic local activist Lee Kaplan, the self-appointed champion of Israel who infiltrates conferences held by pro-Palestinian activists. Kaplan has kept up the crusade -- for example, he recently sued UC Berkeley sophomore Yaman Salahi, who started the blog Lee Kaplan Watch to raise questions about Kaplan's writings and tactics. Kaplan sued in small claims court for defamation, and according to Salahi's latest blog post, Kaplan just won.
A very bitter and frustrated Salahi reports that he has been ordered to pay $7,500 in damages. He complains at length about the vagaries of small claims court, where judges are not required to submit written opinions with their rulings.
It's a small triumph for Kaplan, who has maintained for the past year that the blog is libelous, and who contacted Berkeley's dean of students to complain. But Salahi writes that he's holding tight to the first amendment, and vows to keep the blog going. "I will not stop my work in this regard, and I hope that others will not be intimidated by this audacious effort to chill political speech," he writes.