AIPAC Gets Down and Dirty in Pushback Against Rosen Defamation Suit
(Forward) -- by Nathan Guttman --
Washington — The espionage case against two senior officials of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington was dropped last year. But it has not been forgotten, and is now threatening to draw the lobby into new depths of mudslinging.
Papers filed in the civil lawsuit of former lobbyist Steve Rosen against his previous employers at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee include mutual accusations of using pornographic material at the lobby headquarters, among other allegations. The papers, based on depositions taken from Rosen and from AIPAC principles, dig into the private lives of the involved parties. They also reveal in detail the close ties AIPAC officials held with Israeli diplomats based in Washington.
“After reading this stuff you feel like you need to wash your hands,” said one pro-Israel activist after skimming through the 260-page document, which is laced with graphic descriptions and invasive personal details. He declined to be named, out of a desire to avoid involvement in the case.
At issue is Rosen’s $20 million defamation lawsuit against his previous employers at AIPAC, who fired him and his colleague Keith Weissman in 2005 — several months after both had been indicted under a rarely used espionage statute because they allegedly received and passed on classified information. AIPAC, in a move that could be seen as meant to embarrass Rosen, revealed in its court filings extensive parts of the depositions, many of them dealing directly with Rosen’s personal life...
AIPAC claims that Rosen, who was director of foreign policy issues at the lobby and one of its most senior and well-known employees, had engaged in viewing pornography on AIPAC computers at the lobby’s Washington offices. Partial transcripts of the lengthy videotaped deposition of Rosen, which were made public as part of AIPAC’s motion, show Rosen admitted to surfing pornographic websites from work. But AIPAC’s lawyers insisted on more details.
“Q: What type of pornography?
A: Sexual pornography.
Q: What type? Man on man, man on woman?
A: Anything. Anything that occurred to me.”
Rosen also added more details than, perhaps, the attorney for AIPAC had bargained for.
“I witnessed [AIPAC executive director] Howard Kohr viewing pornographic material, [Kohr’s secretary] Annette Franzen viewing pornographic material, probably a dozen other members of the staff,” Rosen said in his deposition. He added that, according to a Nielsen survey, more than a quarter of Americans regularly view pornographic websites at their workplace.
Later in his deposition, the former lobbyist also said he had heard from directors at AIPAC about their visits to prostitutes and he claimed executive director Kohr had routinely used “locker room language” at the AIPAC offices.
AIPAC did not seem deterred from getting dragged into a dirty debate. It also chose to include in its court filing an issue relating to Rosen’s personal life with only a vague connection to the lobby’s claim regarding Rosen’s actions being below AIPAC’s standards. AIPAC’s lawyers questioned Rosen in detail about his attempts to find male sexual companions through Craigslist, an act Rosen referred to as “sexual experimentations.” This information came up in one of Rosen’s divorce cases — he has been married five times — and was supposed to remain under court seal...MORE...LINK
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