FREE SPEECH -- The California Court of Appeal for the Second District has revived parts of a Jewish writer’s suit against two bloggers who she claims defamed her on the Internet because they object to her staunchly pro-Israel views, reports the Metropolitan News-Enterprise in Los Angeles.

Justice Fred Woods, in an unpublished opinion Monday for Div. Seven, said Rachel Neuwirth presented sufficient evidence of malice to avoid an anti-SLAPP motion with respect to claims that Richard Silverstein accused her of backing terrorism and that Peter Beinin accused her of having threatened his life.

In May 2007, as part of an extended feud, Silverstein called Neuwirth “Kahanist swine” in a posting to his blog.

The term Kahanist refers to followers of the late Meir Kahane, a rabbi and onetime member of the Israeli parliament who led a right-wing extremist group, and is more broadly used to describe the view that Israel should annex the Palestinian territories to form a “Greater Israel” from which Arabs would be expelled.
    Because Kahane’s organization, Kahane Chai, has been designated a terrorist group by the United States and Israel, among others, Neuwirth claimed, Silverstein’s comments effectively accused her of being a terrorist and were libelous per se.
    The justice agreed with the defendants that their alleged statements constituted speech in a public forum on an issue of public interest, broadly defined, since “Beinin and Silverstein hold views contrary to those of Neuwirth with respect to Israeli-Palestinian relations and posted their comments on Web sites where such views are exchanged and debated.”
    Woods concluded, however, that the plaintiff had met her burden under the anti-SLAPP statute of showing that she would likely prevail on her claims that Silverstein had falsely accused her of supporting terrorism and that Beinin had falsely accused her of threatening his life.