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IZZY-It’s Time To Hold Israel, Israelis American Zionists Financially Responsible For Terrorism
^ It’s Time To Hold Israel, Israelis And American Zionists Financially
Responsible For Terrorism
A special MintPress ANALYSIS by Richard Silverstein
August 21st, 2015
http://www.mintpressnews.com/its-time-to-hold-israel-israelis-and-american-zionistsfinancially-responsible-for-terrorism/208811/ 2139 Comments
A group of activists protest outside the
Washington Convention Center where
American Israeli Public Affairs Committee
(AIPAC) is holding its annual meeting on
March 01, 2015
SEATTLE — How do you hold a nation legally
responsible for acts of terrorism perpetrated
either by its citizens or the state itself? One solution is the International Criminal Court,
which exists for such matters.
However, the ICC largely avoids taking on cases outside of Africa. Critics accuse the ICC
of operating with a political agenda in terms of cases it accepts or rejects — sometimes
based on financial support — and ignoring obvious war crimes. In the Mavi Marmara
case linked above, the chief prosecutor rejected the case in 2014, only to be overruled
by an appeals panel several months ago. The prosecutor is now appealing the appeal.
This sort of bureaucratic inertia has hobbled it from its inception.
Even if the ICC does eventually accept jurisdiction, given such resistance it appears
unlikely there will be a serious attempt by the ICC to hold Israel accountable for these
So far, Palestinian Authority attempts to get the court to accept jurisdiction over Israeli
violations of international law have had little success. What other options or legal
models may be available?
The aftermath of the May 2010 attack on the Mavi Marmara, part of the first Freedom
Flotilla, by the IDF commando force, Shayetet 13, offers an important precedent. The
Turkish government sought justice for this massacre in which Israeli soldiers killed 10
Turks, including one Turkish-American. Since Turkey broke off diplomatic relations over
the incident, resumption of ties have also become part of the negotiations to resolve
the dispute. Last February, the Times of Israel reported that part of the agreement
under discussion involves Israel paying $20-million to the families of the victims.
Page 1 of 57
Press reports this week speak of an imminent deal in which Israel and Turkey would
resolve their differences, resume diplomatic relations and Israel would end the siege
against Gaza. It’s not known what the final outcome will be regarding damages, but
certainly Israel will be forced to acknowledge responsibility for the attack and pay
compensation to the victims.
This offers an interesting model for pursuing future litigation to hold Israel financially
responsible for acts of terror perpetrated by its citizens and its military against
Palestinian civilians and citizens of other nations. Over the years, Israeli forces have
severely injured or killed nationals of a number of countries in Palestine and elsewhere.
Shurat HaDin: ‘Bankrupting terror one case at a time’
One of the primary practitioners of “lawfare” among pro-Israel NGOs is an IsraeliAmerican legal non-profit called Shurat HaDin (SHD, also known as the “Israel Law
Center”). According to The New York Times, the group, founded by non-attorney
Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, targets Arab financial institutions and even the assets of Arab
and Muslim states, claiming they fund and/or support “Arab terrorism.” They use two
provisions of U.S. law, the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victims Protection Act, in
order to pursue their objectives.
In a WikiLeaks cable filed by a U.S. diplomat serving in the embassy in Tel Aviv, the
group’s founder conceded that she founded SHD in close collaboration with Israeli
intelligence, specifically the Mossad:
“Leitner said that in many of her cases she receives evidence from [Government of
Israel (GOI)] officials, and added that in its early years ILC took direction from the
GOI on which cases to pursue. ‘The National Security Council (NSC) legal office
saw the use of civil courts as a way to do things that they are not authorized to
do,’ claimed Leitner. Among her contacts, Leitner listed Udi Levy at the NSC and
Uzi Beshaya at the Mossad, both key Embassy contacts on anti-terrorist finance
Though Darshan-Leitner does not mention receiving government funding to enable her
to pursue her initial targets, this appears a possibility as well. The founder of the group
declined to reveal the sources of the group’s funding to The New York Times in 2014,
citing the vague grounds of “security.”
Given that Israeli intelligence agents routinely testify in such cases and U.S. judges have
even permitted such testimony in private, in violation of the respondent’s right to
confront witnesses against it, SHD continues its close relationship with the security
services. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that NGOs like SHD are handmaidens of the
Page 2 of 57
Israeli state. They pursue objectives that advance the interests of the state in areas in
which the state decides it should not directly venture.
Though the numbers are unverifiable, Darshan-Leitner claimed in media interviews that
SHD has recovered a billion dollars in assets on behalf of American terror victims and
their survivors who were killed or injured in Palestinian terror attacks. SHD’s motto is
“bankrupting terrorism, one case at a time.” She works with a network of 30 attorneys
who file and pursue these cases in cooperation with her organization.
Last Friday, according to Al-Jazeera, Arab Bank, the largest bank in the Middle East,
agreed to an undisclosed settlement on behalf of 500-class action participants in a
lawsuit that accused the institution of facilitating Palestinian terrorism. Provisions of the
agreement were not disclosed, but given that the plaintiff’s attorney trumpeted it
publicly, it’s safe to say Arab Bank will be parting with a significant amount.
The suit appears little more than a vehicle for the Israeli government and its interest in
promoting an image of the Arab and Muslim world as a nest of terrorists. Its tactics
exploit the law on behalf of national interests, while cloaked in the mantle of aiding
victims of terror. But if the FBI and Justice Department could use the tax code to take
down Al Capone, what’s wrong with doing something similar to address Israeli
A model for holding Israel accountable for terror
Given the success of Darshan-Leitner’s project, one can pay her no higher compliment
than turning the tables. Israeli terrorism, perpetrated by individuals, terror networks like
the recently exposed group called “The Revolt,” and the state itself, have caused
incalculably more harm to Arabs than Arabs have caused to Israelis.
The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem found that, from 2000-2008, Israel killed four
times more Palestinians than Palestinians killed Israelis. That ratio has widened since
then. Though many of these deaths happened during armed conflict, a significant
number were acts of terror, like an incident earlier this month in which Jewish
extremists burned alive an 18 month-old Palestinian baby and his father in a West Bank
arson attack that remains unsolved.
Israel invariably refuses to hold such terrorists accountable for their actions (with few
exceptions, and only in cases involving notoriety and international exposure like the
brutal kidnap-murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, burned to death by radical Israeli
Jews). When prosecutions do occur, Israel often pardons or commutes their sentences..
Holding Israeli terrorism legally accountable offers an opportunity to use the same U.S.
laws to pursue similar targets among Israeli financial and state institutions. The goal
Page 3 of 57
would not be to bankrupt Israel or its banks, but rather to force Israeli corporate and
government interests to understand that there is a steep price to pay.
An Israeli Jewish settler shoots in the air as
Palestinians protest against the Prawer Plan
to resettle Israel’s Palestinian Bedouin
minority from their villages in the Negev
Desert, near the Israeli settlement of Bet El,
north of the West Bank city of Ramallah.
There are hundreds of Israeli settlers who’ve
killed and maimed thousands of Palestinian civilians. A 2011 report from the United
Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs documented 121 incidents in
which settlers caused Palestinian casualties in that year alone. These terrorists use guns
and other weapons provided to them either by their settlements, the Israeli army, or
other civilian authorities. Settlements and their security (likely including weapons used
in some attacks on Palestinians) are directly funded by the Israeli government.
US non-profits may aid Israeli terror
U.S.-based pro-settler non-profits also support acts of intimidation, land theft and
violence against Palestinians. During his free-wheeling days as a Washington DC
lobbyist, Jack Abramoff’s laundered $140,000 from the Chippewa Tribe through his
Capitol Athletic Fund to the Beitar Illit settlement, according to a 2005 story from The
Texas Observer. The money purchased “sniper scopes, camouflage suits, night-vision
binoculars, a thermal imager and shooting mats” for a “sniper school” run by a formerIDF officer.
The Orthodox Jewish settler who ran the school “talked of a fifth column of Jewish
warriors that will someday issue its own ‘call to arms.’ He also regaled Abramoff with
accounts of sniper positions his group set up to cover IDF soldiers as they worked,
“neutralizing’ terrorists, and watching ‘the dirty little rats’ on the Palestinian side of the
fence,” wrote Louis Dubose in The Texas Observer.
In this case and others involving different U.S. charities supporting similar projects,
settlers benefit from tax-deductible donations and other forms of official support in
their acts of intimidation, threats and even terror against Palestinians.
For those few who are convicted of their crimes and imprisoned, there are Israeli NGOs
like Lehava and Honenu which advocate for terror attacks and/or support the
perpetrators and their families when they are behind bars. The Nana article linked
above notes Honenu gave $60,000 directly to convicted Israeli Jewish terrorists and
another $10,000 to their families. These NGOs receive government funding to support
Page 4 of 57
their general mission and their work with the families of terrorists. The Israeli state also
implicitly endorses and subsidizes the mission through tax deductions on donations.
One of the important precedents SHD established is charging Palestinian organizations
with culpability for terror through their funding of payments to the families of shahids
who carried out terror attacks. SHD targets Arab banks which offer financial services to
individual terrorists and national bodies which provide them with financial support.
Such behavior is mirrored precisely on the Israeli side. What’s good for the goose should
be good for the gander.
Further, Israel has sent its agents around the world to murder (and in some cases
kidnap) individuals associated with Palestinian militant groups. Though Israel claimed
that some of them are guilty of planning and carrying out terror attacks, many have
either had no connection to terrorism or only very peripheral involvement. The Mossad
assassinated Mahmoud al-Mabouh in Dubai. His crime was that he was a weapons
procurement officer who arranged for the shipment of Iranian weapons to Hamas.
Since 2007, the Mossad has also assassinated five Iranian nuclear scientists. Though
Israel has never accepted responsibility directly for these acts of state terror, its leaders
expressed approval of them and even said that whoever did them should be applauded.
Numerous foreign intelligence agencies and journalists confirmed the likelihood of
NGOs and lawyers should force the Israeli government to prove or disprove this claim in
a U.S. court. If the Israelis refuse to do so or attempt and fail to do so, they should be
held to the same standards SHD is demanding of Arab banks and states in U.S. courts.
Arab Victims Face Far Higher Hurdles in U.S. Courts Than Israeli Victims
Though the theory behind this proposal is sound, executing it will be a different matter.
Gadeir Abbas, a former staff lawyer for the Council for American-Islamic Relations
(CAIR), told MintPress News that there are significant hurdles confronting those seeking
to hold Israel accountable for acts of terror.
First, he noted that Israel is a state, which therefore enjoys sovereign immunity from
various types of tort cases. Since Palestine statehood isn’t recognized by the U.S., its
political organs, like the Palestinian Authority, have no such protection.
Abbas raised the example of Rachel Corrie. She was a young American volunteering on
behalf of the International Solidarity Movement to defend Palestinian homes in Gaza
that were being demolished by the IDF. An armored bulldozer manufactured by the U.S.
Caterpillar Company and driven by an IDF soldier ran her over and killed her.
Page 5 of 57
“When you have the U.S. government actually paying for the Caterpillar bulldozer which
killed Rachel Corrie, it poses an almost insurmountable obstacle to suing Israel in a U.S.
court,” Abbas said. “Add to that a built-in prejudice against Arab or Muslim victims who
are often seen in the U.S. media as perpetrators, rather than victims of terror.
Alternatively, American and Israeli Jews have not, until recently, been seen as
perpetrators of terror. So it becomes easier for judges and juries to rule in their favor as
Cindy, right, and Craig Corrie, the parents of
Rachel Corrie, a pro-Palestinian activist who
was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in
2003, stand together with their daughter
Sarah after the district court’s ruling in
Haifa, Israel, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP
In the resulting lawsuit filed by her parents, a U.S. court ruled that since the tractor had
been purchased under a U.S. government program (and paid for by the government
itself), this indicated our country had approved the sale and use to which the IDF put the
vehicle. It therefore dismissed the federal suit as a violation of the foreign policy
prerogatives of the executive branch.
When the Corries followed suit by filing in an Israeli court, it heard the case but refused
to find any culpability on the part of the IDF for Corrie’s killing. This, Abbas noted, is part
of the high barriers faced by those seeking to hold Israel responsible for acts of terror
and homicide against U.S. citizens.
The former CAIR attorney did indicate that lawsuits against individual Israeli officials
rather than the government itself might be more successful. An even more promising
strategy would be to identify non-state actors such as settlers or NGOs who might
support their crimes. But it would be critical to be able to prove that any party sued,
whether an NGO or a bank, knew in advance that the activities it supported were illegal
(which could include violations of international law).
Despite these caveats, Abbas considers this a promising avenue worth pursuing,
especially if victims and survivors come forward wishing to do so.
Another lawyer with considerable experience in the field of corporate litigation told me
that no major American law firms would touch such a case. First, it would poison
relations with many Jewish clients or even corporate clients with a large Jewish
customer base. Second, no matter how vigorous the defense mounted by the
Palestinian Authority, the Arab Bank or the government of Iran, Israeli banks and
government bodies would mount an even more ferocious defense, hiring the most
Page 6 of 57
prominent, aggressive legal team to represent them. Any legal non-profit taking up this
project would face extensive criticism from the Israel lobby.
Despite these complications, Israeli targets present a deep-pocketed opportunity for a
willing lawyer. The Israeli government registry for non-profits notes Darshan-Leitner’s
last recorded salary in 2012 was $110,000, quite a tidy sum in the Israeli non-profit
world. Her cottage industry has flourished and her associated attorneys have earned
major fees for their work.
To avoid the stain of personal benefit, those working on this project on behalf of Arab
victims should eschew profit to the greatest extent possible. Expenses and reasonable
fees should be covered. Any assets seized or settlement funds should be distributed to
victims and NGOs working on their behalf.
NGOs and law firms must hold individual Israelis, financial institutions and the state
itself accountable for anti-Muslim terror. The major Israeli banks have American
subsidiaries, which make them even more vulnerable.
ICC International Criminal Court
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^ 2139 comments MintPress News
Tafur aengahhai5ai • 2 years ago
bsroon • a year ago
$69 dollars an hour working on your back?
Call it what it is: the HOLOCAUST OF PALESTINIANS BY
Javari Nama • 2 years ago
I got the beer. Whose got the bombs?
Makkoh • 2 years ago I have had Palestinian teaches and I have had Jewish teachers.
The only ones that advocated violence were the Palestinian's and they were not and are
not ever subjected to genocide. Only in the Islamic world is the aggressor the victim. Get
a Life people and let us live in peace. You lost your land because you attacked a peaceful
nation, your young are dying because you teach them to go to a gun fight with a knife.
More can be gained by getting rid of the violent Palestinian leaders and teaching respect
for other. Why is it you never see a Teacher wearing a bomb or attacking someone? But
you sure see them teach the young ones to. how selfish and stupid their leaders are.
How selfish the Palestinian Teachers are. They are not Holy, they are Un-Holy
Haider Makkoh • a year ago ah voilent palestinian leaders, i hope u r refering to
netanyahu, peaceful nation which did not exist before 1947, and has been occupieing
land ever since, you stench of arrogant jew who is not willing to be reasonable, good,
soon a day will arrive when you and your nation would be wiped from this earth and
then shall begin an era of peace, till that time idiot americn can keep on supporting
you,good luck but not for too long.
bsroon Makkoh • a year ago Amazing that the zionists invaded Palestine and talk
about being attacked by the Palestinians for doing so. Amazing that you can give the
Palestinians a HOLOCAUST to call their own - at your hands - and feel JUSTIFIED in doing
so when these people are defending their land, homes, and farms. If you came onto my
property and took it - i guarantee you i would attempt to kill you. And i left the infantry
as a legitimate conscientious objector because i refused to spend my life training to kill
innocent people around the world so that industrialists and (primarily) zionist bankers
can get fatter and richer off my murder of others.
America Firster Makkoh • a year ago Another Jewish "expert" on Palestinians? So
many of you.
JanP • 2 years ago It must be immoral for Israel to defend its citzens, right?
bsroon JanP • a year ago And you see a nation who has ethnically cleansed over 500
villages, invaded multiple other countries (and continues to illegally occupy them) as
being the same as people who have empty guns and knives thrown under their children
Page 9 of 57