The American-Israel Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta, Georgia, recently threatened to sue animal rights group In Defense of Animals in a dispute over a web site that In Defense of Animals maintains, EmoryLies.Com.
The web site targets Emory University and the Yerkes Primate Center, which In Defense of Animals wants to shut down. Probably because it is a high profile target, the group has lately been targeting Coca-Cola in its dispute over the primate facility. Although the company has nothing at all to do with the primate facility, it has donated more than $100 million to Emory University.
On October 11, 2001, the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, whose mission is to highlight and encourage economic ties between the United States and Israel, plans to hold an awards ceremony at Coca-Cola’s world headquarters honoring “people and companies who have made a significant impact on business between the Southeast and Israel.”
In Defense of Animals plans to protest at the meeting and has posted information about their protest on the EmoryLies.Com, both of which are perfectly legal. But they have crossed a line in expropriating artwork from the AICC site and placed it on the EmoryLies.Com site in a way that would probably fool a reasonable person.
Judge for yourself. Here’s the real page from the AICC announcing its awards ceremony:
Now, here’s the page from EmoryLies.Com announcing their protest:
The overall effect here is clearly to make it appear as if the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce is somehow involved with or in support of IDA’s actions against Coca-Cola.
IDA released a press release claiming that the lawsuit would go the same route as a lawsuit filed by Stephens Inc. against Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. SHAC had used the logo and web site design from Stephens web site to parody Stephens. They used the logo, for example, but added the words “Invest in animal cruelty.” A judge threw out the lawsuit, saying that this was protected under the First Amendment.
But the situation is very different with IDA since it has made no effort to distinguish the AICC materials as a parody. I suspect that Jean Barnes, who apparently created the site, will find herself on the losing end of this lawsuit.
American-Israel Chamber of Commerce threatens legal action against web site exposing bad science and animal cruelty. In Defense of Animals, Press Release, August 21, 2001.
Animal activists ready for fight–attorney retained. In Defense of Animals, Press Release, August 21, 2001.