WINNIPEG – A Manitoba journalist and former federal Liberal candidate’s defamation suit against a politician and two Jewish groups has ended with an out-of-court settlement.
Lesley Hughes’ original suit named B’Nai Brith, the Canadian Jewish Congress and Environment Minister Peter Kent.
The details of the settlement have not been made public, but Hughes says she has been cleared of accusations of anti-Semitism.
Hughes was dismissed in 2008 as a candidate by the Liberal Party of Canada after a column she wrote in 2002 became an issue in the campaign.
In it, she repeated false accusations that Israel or Israeli tenants were forewarned of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and did not warn others.
Hughes contended in her lawsuit that the defendants made untrue and defamatory accusations that she was anti-Semitic.
In a joint statement, B’Nai Brith, the now-defunct Jewish congress and Kent said they accept that Hughes “does not condone the use of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories by racist groups to support anti-Semitism of any nature.”
They acknowledged Hughes is not an anti-Semite and said in fact she has been an advocate of human rights through three decades as a journalist and teacher.
In the same statement, Hughes said she joined with the defendants in strongly condemning anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
“It is an immense relief to see the end of this ordeal,” Hughes said in a release on her website.
“My deepest hope through it all has been to clear my name, and to advance the protection of journalists to write freely and without fear.”
Hughes said she has kept a detailed journal of what happened and will release the story as an e-book this year.
“It will have plenty to share with those interested in Canadian politics, anti-Semitism, the 9/11 truth movement, the election of 2008 from the inside, and of course, the increasingly precarious freedom of journalists to do their job.”
The working title of Hughes’ book is “Hit and Run: My Brilliant Career in Canadian Politics.”
Note to readers: Fixes typo