Jewish organizations join forces to ask Supreme Court to consider terrorist financing case | JNS

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A number of Jewish organizations have submitted a friend of the court brief this week asking the United States Supreme Court to review a case involving a British bank accused of helping finance Hamas terrorist activities in Israel during the Second Intifada.

The brief was presented in the case of Weiss v. National Westminster Bank, representing 200 Americans victims of Hamas terrorism during the intifada that lasted from September 2000 to February 2005.

The brief, which was submitted by Justin Danilewitz of Philadelphia-based Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP, was joined by 10 Jewish organizations, including the Lawfare Project, Agudath Israel of America, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Anti-Defamation League, American Association of Jewish Lawyers, StandWithUs, Zachor Legal Institute, Jerusalem Institute of Justice, and Israel-American Civic Action Network.

He challenges an April ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that dismissed the case, claiming Interpal performed charity; that the money channeled through the National Westminster Bank (NatWest) was not specifically intended for terrorist attacks or the recruitment of terrorists to carry out attacks; and that Interpal did not tell NatWest that the transfers were for terrorist purposes.

This decision led plaintiffs to appeal to the Supreme Court to clarify how courts should apply liability under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), passed by Congress in 2001, and the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. (JASTA), adopted in 2016 to strengthen the ATA and which engages the civil liability of anyone who “aids and encourages” an act of international terrorism.

“The Supreme Court has already pointed out that terrorist organizations do not maintain legitimate financial firewalls between the funds they raise for civilian and non-violent activities and those which are ultimately used to support violent terrorist operations, but the courts federal appeals have not adopted a uniform approach. to this issue, and the Supreme Court has not yet clarified the scope of civil liability, ”said Thursday Gary Osen, managing partner of Osen LLC, who represents one of the plaintiffs, in a press release.

The circuit court ruling went against its own previous 2014 ruling, which found that there was sufficient evidence from which a jury could conclude that “NatWest was aware of it or was indifferent to it. deliberate as to the fact that Interpal provided material support to a terrorist organization ”.

“Leaving the decision to rest would create a loophole in the laws”

The lawsuit against NatWest was first filed in 2005 under anti-terrorism law, consisting of claims from estates and family members of US citizens killed or injured in Hamas terrorist attacks. The plaintiffs alleged that NatWest held accounts for Interpal, a UK-based organization that describes itself as a charity, but was later named as a specially designated global terrorist organization by the US government.

The US Treasury Department has previously referred to Interpal as a Hamas fundraising organization.

From December 2001 to January 2004, according to the plaintiffs, NatWest was accused of transferring millions of dollars to Hamas-controlled entities on behalf of Interpal during the Second Intifada, which saw waves of suicides and other terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations.

“We are confident that the Supreme Court will hear this case and overturn the Second Circuit. As the Supreme Court has already recognized, terrorist organizations are so tainted by their criminal conduct that any contribution to such an organization facilitates such conduct, ”wrote Garad Filitti, senior counsel at the Lawfare Project in an email. “Leaving this ruling in effect would create a significant loophole in anti-terrorism laws, allowing terrorist organizations to raise funds simply by creating nominally ‘charity’ weapons.”

Another friend of the court brief supporting a Supreme Court review of the case was submitted on October 8 by 10 U.S. Senators, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.), Bob Menendez (DN.J.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.) And Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.).

Post-Jewish organizations join in urging the Supreme Court to consider the terrorist financing case that first appeared on JNS.org.

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