The Arvut Organization
The Arvut Organization was established by Bnei Baruch during the 2011 social protest with the aim of “taking part” in the mutual support discourse and movement. In an interview conducted by Tomer Persico with Shay Ben Tal, who researches ‘Bnei Baruch’, it was noted that the organization’s members attended the demonstrations with protest signs calling for mutual support, without indicating the organization they represent. The organization’s website stated that: “The Arvut organization is a social organization, apolitical, with the goal of increasing the importance of the social value of mutual support among the people of Israel and among mankind.” Ben Tal explains in the interview that one of the reasons, in his opinion, for Bnei Baruch choosing to create the new organization brand “…is that Bnei Baruch recognized a good opportunity for recruiting new members and another chance for attacking Israeli society and convincing people to join them.”
Further in the interview, a distorted usage to the “99%” terminology which describes the growing gaps between rich and poor in the western world, is noted: “…Under the leadership of Rabbi Leitman (not a rabbi), an attempt to approach the 99% was made. What stands behind this term is the perception of the Baal Hasulam that only 1% (for the time being) can understand and relate to Kabbalah wisdom… the additional 99% need to be approached indirectly, in as non- threatening a manner as possible, and without mentioning the terms “Tikkun”, “Boreh”, “Kabbalah” etc. – in other words, it is necessary to speak in simple and everyday opportunistic terms of those elements in Kabbalah theory of benefit to the individual.”
Additional publications regarding the Arvut Organization:
‘Bnei Baruch are jumping on the protest wagon’ Tomer Persico, Lula’at Ha’El
‘Demonstrating their presence – an interview with the “Bnei Baruch” Kabalah Organization researcher Shay Ben Tal, Tomer Persico, Lula’at Ha’El
“Concern in the Likud – members of “Kabalah La’Am” are joining the party” – Zeev Kam, NRG.
What is a Silencing Lawsuit (SLAAP)
Silencing Lawsuit or SLAAP (initials of “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation”) refers to threatening to file, or actually filing, a lawsuit for the purpose of silencing criticism and to prevent public discourse.
The term was coined by George Fringe and Penelope Kanen of Denver University, in their 1988 publication which presented research on giant lawsuits filed by corporations in North America against environmental activists.
The method is simple. When an individual or a group of people, usually a non-governmental organization (NGO), voices criticism that you don’t like, you threaten the individual or group with a tort claim for huge sums of money. Usually the threatening party has the power of vast financial resources at its disposal, compared to the threatened party, and the threat generally achieves its goal – of silencing the criticism.
When the threatened party persists in exercising its rights to criticize, the trial is used to exhaust the defendants, sometimes to a point where they are willing to settle in order to finalize the proceedings.
Additional publications regarding SLAPP:
‘Silencer: defamation trials as a threat on the freedom of speech’, a report by The Association for Civil Rights.