Hate-Crime Prosecution Qua "Consumer Protection"

Justice Elena Kagan has been interested in establishing "hate crime" laws via existing pornography legislation. This is the first I've heard of attempts to prosecute "hate" by appealing to "consumer protection" regulations (!). 

President Carter named in $5 million lawsuit over his "Palestine" book
Washington Post
By Stephen Lowman
February 2, 2010

More than four years after its publication, five disgruntled readers have filed a class-action lawsuit against President Jimmy Carter and his publisher, Simon & Schuster, alleging that his 2006 book “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid” contained “numerous false and knowingly misleading statements intended to promote the author's agenda of anti-Israel propaganda and to deceive the reading public instead of presenting accurate information as advertised.”

The five plaintiffs named in the lawsuit are seeking at least $5 million in compensation. The hard cover edition cost $27.

The suit accuses Carter and his publisher of violating New York consumer protection laws because they engaged in “deceptive acts in the course of conducting business” and alleges that they sought enrichment by promoting the book “as a work of non-fiction.”

In a press release, one of the attorneys, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner stated: "The lawsuit will expose all the falsehoods and misrepresentations in Carter's book and prove that his hatred of Israel has led him to commit this fraud on the public. He is entitled to his opinions but deceptions and lies have no place in works of history."

Adam Rothberg, a spokesman for Simon & Schuster, said in a statement sent to The Washington Post: “This lawsuit is frivolous, without merit, and is a transparent attempt by the plaintiffs, despite their contentions, to punish the author, a Nobel Peace prize winner and world-renowned statesmen, and his publisher, for writing and publishing a book with which the plaintiffs simply disagree. It is a chilling attack on free speech that we intend to defend vigorously.”

Requests for comment from Carter’s spokeswoman were not immediately returned.

From the outset, Carter’s book was criticized in some quarters for being one-sided. For instance, in his review for The Washington Post, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote:

“Palestine Peace Not Apartheid is being marketed as a work of history, but an honest book would, when assessing the reasons why the conflict festers, blame not only the settlements but also take substantial note of the fact that the Arabs who surround Israel have launched numerous wars against it, all meant to snuff it out of existence.”

The suit, Unterberg et al v. Jimmy Carter et al, was filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Its attorneys say this is first time a president and publisher have been sued for violating consumer protection laws.

A copy of the complaint can be found here.