Israeli professor drops NHS bias case
Israeli conflict resolution expert Moty Cristal
An Israeli conflict resolution expert has dropped his legal case against a health trust which he claimed had discriminated against him.
Moty Cristal had been seeking damages totalling £26,500 and an apology from Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust after it cancelled a workshop he was due to run for its staff in 2012.
Preliminary hearings in the case were heard last September by Central London County Court but had not progressed to a full trial.
The court had been told that members of the Unison trade union had objected to Tel Aviv-based Prof Cristal delivering the lecture because of his nationality and the health trust had subsequently withdrawn the invitation.
Prof Cristal instructed his lawyers on Wednesday to discontinue the legal action.
He said: "I made this decision since the goals that I first set out to achieve have broadly been met. My primary goal was to establish that I had been unfairly treated and discriminated against as an Israeli negotiator."
He said he had received a letter from the health trust’s chief executive apologising for cancelling the lecture.
The case was also intended to "highlight the damaging and negative impact of the boycott movement directed against Israel," he said.
"I have been gratified to see that following my case there has been widespread rejection of boycotts of Israel. Leaders of all the main political parties in the UK have expressed their clear opposition."
Prof Cristal said it was clear that pursuing the action would require "protracted legal proceedings" and that he would rather turn his attention to "dialogue and debate".
The JC understands his supporters — including the Jewish Leadership Council — had been prepared to continue backing him, but the court’s initial warnings relating to costs and the likelihood of success had eventually led to his decision to withdraw.
His move also appears to support the belief within the community that the JLC and other organisations will take a new approach to countering boycotters and groups opposed to Israel, using discourse rather than legal process.
The health trust and union have not yet commented.