Documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici has won a libel judgement in his favor of $215, 000 in a Jerusalem court. The case centered on accusations made by critic Joe Zias that Jacobovici’s discovery of the tomb of Jesus was a fraud.
The filmmaker made the claims in his 2007 movie “Lost Tomb of Jesus.” Jacobovici also claimed to have found proof that Jesus was married and had children.
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The court’s decision, however, did not rule that Jacobovici’s assertions were correct, just that Zias, a former Antiquities Authority official, had gone too far in his criticisms.
Jacobovici had accused Zias of defaming him with a wide false accusations that Zias made to both National Geographic and Simon and Schuster.
After the ruling, Jacobovici wrote on his website, “I’m used to criticisms. As a journalist, I’m committed to the principle of free debate in a democratic society. But free speech ends where libel begins, and Zias crossed every red line of a civilized debate. He accused me, among other things, of ‘forgery’, ‘planting archaeology”, ‘pimping the Bible’ and ‘inventing Holocaust stories.'”
“He also accused me of being in intimate contact with various criminal elements around the world. All these are horrible, made up lies that he circulated on the Internet and sent to various universities, publishers and broadcasters. Incredibly, he found some people to support him, especially those with a theological axe to grind.”