Shurat HaDin (SHD), the Israeli lawfare group founded and funded initially by the Mossad to target Palestinian militant groups resisting Israeli Occupation, suffered a major defeat in a U.S. Supreme Court decision. The Court threw out a claim advanced by the group’s attorney on behalf of 6,000 family members of Palestinian terror victims, against the Arab Bank of Jordan. The NGO claimed that the Bank had held accounts used by militants to organize and fund terror attacks against Israelis.
SHD argued its case using the Alien Tort Statute of 1798, which allows American citizens to pursue damages against foreign entities when their property is arbitrarily seized abroad. Though the media is portraying the decision as a major narrowing of the terms under which such claims may be brought, they are missing a key element of the case. The Court largely rejected Shurat HaDin’s evidence and claims as shoddy. It noted that the group’s lawyer found little or no actual evidence to tie the Bank to the acts of terror which were the basis for the tort claim. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority found a:
“…Relatively minor connection between the terrorist attacks at issue in this case and the alleged conduct in the United States.”
A lawyer representing plaintiffs in another similar case added that the decision went out of its way to avoid a categorical rejection of such claims against American companies doing business abroad. Though the court’s four liberal justices all were in the minority and supported Shurat HaDin’s claims, I’d venture to say they didn’t see through the lawfare ruse it has used in bringing hundreds of nuisance cases against Arab and Muslim nations and groups which support Palestinian resistance against Israel. In other words, this NGO does not seek justice. Rather, it is a key element of a political and military war against Palestine. The Court said, I believe, that if you want to fight such a war, leave American courts out of it.
The group has lately been on quite a losing streak:
In a separate case involving U.S. citizens brought under a different law, a New York jury in 2014 found Arab Bank liable for facilitating two dozen militant attacks in Israel. That ruling was overturned on appeal in January.
It’s general strategy, much like that of Kenneth Marcus’ Brandeis Center, is based on a flimsy legal premise which many courts, when they hear the merits of the argument, reject.
Similarly, it has launched a campaign suing social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, blaming content posted by Palestinian and other Arab users for inciting terrorism. Another dubious claim which has not yet been adjudicated in a court; but which hopefully will be dismissed just as this case was.
Separately, Shurat HaDin’s founder, Nitsana Darshan Leitner published a book, Harpoon, which lays out her NGO’s legal strategy intended to “bankrupt terrorism, one case at a time.” It’s noteworthy, as this highly critical review points out, that her title assumes the name of the Mossad unit tasked with tracing terror financing. She couldn’t make it any clearer that she and her legal group are a creature of the Israeli intelligence apparatus, rather than a legitimate legal entity.
It’s ironic, by the way, that the Israel Lobby has tried to monopolize the term “lawfare” to portray a supposed global attempt by the pro-Palestinian movement to abuse the law in pursuit of its goal of destroying Israel. In truth, this is precisely what Shurat HaDin does.