Shurat HaDin is at the forefront of fighting terrorism and safeguarding Jewish rights worldwide. We are dedicated to the protection of the State of Israel. From defending against lawfare suits fighting academic and economic boycotts and challenging those who seek to delegitimize the Jewish State, Shurat HaDin is utilizing court systems around the world to go on the legal offensive against Israel’s enemies.
Based in Tel Aviv, and directed by Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Shurat HaDin works with Western intelligence agencies, law enforcement branches and a network of volunteer lawyers across the globe to file legal actions on behalf of world Jewry.
2016 was not an easy year for Israel. But Shurat HaDin led the fight against terrorism and Anti-Semitism, and succeeded over and over again. Below is a list of our achievements in the year of 2016:
- Filed a lien against Boeing for selling airplanes to Iran: In June 2016, Shurat HaDin warned US airspace giant, The Boeing Company, that Shurat HaDin will assert liens on any airplanes slated for sale to Iran if Boeing goes through with an announced deal to supply aircraft to the Tehran based IRANAIR Shurat HaDin stated that Iran must pay off billions of dollars in unsatisfied U.S. court judgments to victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism before it can purchase Boeing’s planes. In December 2016, Shurat HaDin followed through with its warning and served The Boeing Company with an Illinois Citation to Discover Assets, restraining Iran’s interest in a just finalized $16.6 billion contract for Boeing’s sale of 80 airplanes to IRANAIR.
- Litigating the Fraenkel case: In 2015, Shurat HaDin filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security, and the Syrian Arab Republic under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, on behalf of the estate and family of Naftali Fraenkel, one of three teenagers kidnapped and murdered by Hamas operatives in June 2014. After the defendants failed to answer the lawsuit, the court entered default judgments against them and scheduled a trial on liability and damages. On December 6-7, 2016, Shurat HaDin presented exhibits and expert testimony proving that the defendants’ material support of Hamas was directly responsible for the attack carried out by Hamas, as well as testimony from the family and other evidence of the pain and suffering the attack has caused to the plaintiffs. An award and judgment are expected in 2017.
- High Court petition against Turkey reconciliation deal and demanding that Turkey extradite Hamas mastermind Saleh al-Arouri: During the first week of July, Shurat HaDin filed a petition in Jerusalem’s High Court of Justice against the Government’s deal to pay compensation to Turkey for the Gaza Flotilla incident. The petition, which was submitted on behalf of bereaved families of terror victims, asserted that the agreement with Ankara must be conditioned upon expelling Hamas leaders from Turkey and ceasing Turkish financial support to the terrorist organization. Shurat HaDin argued that by accepting the current agreement, the Government is implicitly allowing Turkey to maintain the false pretense that Hamas’s headquarters in Turkey will only be used for political, and not terror-related, activity. In August, Shurat HaDin took additional action against Hamas’s operations in Turkey. We sent a letter to U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, urging the U.S. to compel Turkey to extradite Hamas mastermind Saleh al-Arouri for the murders of U.S. citizens Naftali Fraenkel and Rabbi Eitam Henkin. The letter noted that the U.S. named al-Arouri as a co-conspirator in a 2003 indictment against Hamas operatives and listed him as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” in September 2015. The letter also implored the U.S. not to “allow the perpetrators of terror against United States citizens to remain at large when there exists a viable legal avenue to bring them to justice.
- Letter to U.S. Congressmen against transfer of $1.7 billion to Iran: Shurat HaDin sent a letter to U.S. Congressmen to protest the transfer of $1.7 billion in foreign hard currency to Iran as part of the recent nuclear deal. U.S. law forbids the transfer of such funds prior to the deduction of compensation payments to families of American citizens wounded in Iranian-sponsored terrorist attacks. The secrecy surrounding the massive money transfer was part of the White House’s effort to conceal the erasing of the Islamic Republic’s debts for compensation money intended for those who have been hurt by its terrorism. On September 6, 2016, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ed Royce introduced bills that would curb such payments.
- High Court petition to block defense of Israeli banks with ties to Palestinians banks: In December 2016, Shurat HaDin petitioned Israel’s High Court to block Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon from defending Israeli banks with links to Palestinians banks, which may implicate them in terror financing. We asserted that Minister Kahlon ignores proof, presented by Shurat HaDin, of terror finance links to Palestinian banks and affirmed that it is illegal for him to do so. As a result of our petition, Bank Hapoalim and Bank Discount each concluded that they may be exposed to litigation for their connections to Palestinian banks, and will likely decide to cut their ties.
- Warning World Vision over Funding Gaza Terrorism: For the past four years, Shurat HaDin has warned that funds provided to Gaza by Christian mega-charity World Vision were being utilized for terrorism. World Vision’s chief executive, Tim Costello, repeatedly denied the charges and claimed that World Vision had no interest in supporting terrorism. However, in August, Shurat HaDin’s warnings about World Vision were proven true. Israel’s internal security services arrested senior employees of World Vision who stand accused of transferring millions of dollars to Palestinian terror organization Hamas.
- Warning the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to terminate its support of unlawful BDS groups: At the end of March, Shurat HaDin sent a letter to the President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) in New York, informing him of the inherently anti-Semitic and extremist agenda of BDS groups that the RBF supports with financial grants. We highlighted that the BDS movement’s discriminatory practices are illegal under numerous International, federal and state statutes, including New York law. We warned the RBF that by funding groups engaged in promoting BDS, RBF could be considered as an accomplice in these groups’ illegal activities, and we urged the RBF to re-consider its continued funding of organizations who advocate and promote the racist BDS movement.
- Fight against terror incitement in Palestinian Media: In March, we launched a campaign to file a war crimes complaint against the heads of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) at the International Criminal Court, for propagation of incitement to murder Jews. As many as 19,000 individuals from around the globe signed their names on to the complaint. In addition to the petition against the PBC, Shurat HaDin addressed a letter to Prime Minister and Communication Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and demanded that the Israeli government immediately stop allocating radio and television frequencies to the Palestinian Authority. In the letter, Shurat HaDin threatened to take this dangerous matter to the High Court if the Government does not terminate the Palestinians’ ability to incite to terrorism against Jews on these Israeli administered media frequencies.
- Seizing $9.4 Million in Iranian Funds: In February 2016, a US appeals court in California judged that the Iranian government must pay $9.4 million in damages to victims of a triple suicide bombing in Jerusalem that took place on September 4, 1997. The award stemmed from years of interest and fees on top of a $2.8 million base judgment. Iran appealed that decision claiming sovereign immunity, but Shurat HaDin was able beat their defense. Iran is now appealing to the US Supreme Court. The message to the extremists in Tehran should be clear – the Nuclear Agreement has not cancelled any court judgments against them, and we will continue to pursue the Islamic Republic in legal forums all over the world on behalf of victims of terror.
- Sokolow v. PLO – The Battle Continues: One-and-a-half years after a U.S. jury unanimously found the PA and PLO liable for $655.5 million in damages suffered by American victims of terror in Israel, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated the judgment based on technicality – claiming a lack of personal jurisdiction over the defendants – and ordered that the case be dismissed. The victims are not backing down. They have filed a petition for the entire Second Circuit Court of Appeals to review the ruling, and if the judgment is not reinstated, they will file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Simultaneously, the victims sent a letter to U.S. Representatives and Senators requesting their assistance to ensure that the PA and the PLO pay the full, unchallenged amount of compensation awarded by the jury.
- Nitsana Darshan-Leitner was listed by Israeli Forbes Magazine as one of the 50 most influential Israeli women of 2016, and by The Jerusalem Post as one of the most influential Jews in the world.
- Facebook Case: In July, we filed Force v. Facebook, a $1 billion lawsuit on behalf of five victims of terror and their families, against Facebook for knowingly providing material support to designated foreign terrorist organization Hamas in violation of U.S. antiterrorism law. The complaint demonstrates how Facebook has aided and abetted Hamas for years by providing valuable and essential services to the terror group, which used Facebook to commit its terrorist activities. This lawsuit followed our lawsuit filed against Facebook in October 2015 seeking an order compelling Facebook to monitor its platform and deny services to terrorists. Both cases are now pending before the same federal judge in New York. Facebook has filed a motion to dismiss both cases, and a hearing on the motions is set for early 2017.
Our Educational Programs Encouraged Others To Advocate For Israel And The Jewish People
- We trained dozens of lawyers from around the globe how to fight BDS in our first week-long Activist Lawyers’ Training Seminar. The next Seminar will be held in June 2017.
- We hosted a law student internship program during the summer and winter, in which law students from all over the world learn how to fight for the State of Israel and the international Jewish community.
- We hosted an Ultimate Mission to Israel, in which we took visiting groups on a dynamic and intensive week exploration of Israel’s struggle for survival and security in the Middle East.
- We hosted our first “Eyes Only” Counter-Terrorism Conference in New York: In mid-September, Shurat HaDin hosted its first annual “Eyes Only” Counter-Terrorism Conference in New York City at The Yale Club. The conference was a spectacular success, and brought together leading experts in the fields of intelligence, counter-terrorism and law enforcement to provide insights into the legal war on terrorism. The conference addressed cutting edge topics such as “lone wolf” terrorism, the use of social media by terror organizations, and ISIS. A dynamic line-up of speakers addressed the conference, including former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, and former Director of the CIA Robert James Woolsey Jr.
FIGHTING TERROR FUNDING
Israel and the Jewish community worldwide have repeatedly been targeted with devastating waves of terrorism, and the present is no exception. Shurat HaDin began as one of the pioneers of directing legal action and civil lawsuits against terrorists and their sponsors, and it has become a world leader in the fight to compensate victims and stop terror funding. Shurat HaDin works with western intelligence agencies and a network of lawyers around the world to file legal actions on behalf of victims of terrorism. Today, we represent hundreds of terror victims in legal actions against Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, North Korea, the Palestinian Authority, Iran and Syria. These cases seek not just to obtain compensation for injury and loss, but to present evidence of these crimes to the world, and obtain a measure of justice for innocent victims and families.
Shurat HaDin’s legal actions serve a unique and crucial role in blocking terror funding and thus eliminating terrorists’ ability to carry out their attacks. For example, Shurat HaDin has brought claims against banks that have served terrorists, such as UBS, the Lebanese‐Canadian Bank, American Express Bank, and the Bank of China, and it also serves as a watchdog to warn and block other entities and organizations that may consider providing money or resources to benefit terrorist groups.
FIGHTING JIHAD ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Just as social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and others have become popular and valuable tools communication, networking, marketing, and more for individuals and entities around the world, radical Islamic jihadists and other terror groups have also adopted social media to recruit followers, incite violence, and carry out their terrorist activities. Unfortunately, social media providers have largely turned a blind eye to the use of their services by terrorists, refusing to actively identify and delete known terrorist accounts. Shurat HaDin has initiated a public campaign and legal strategy to challenge these companies for their complicity in the terrorism that their services are used to facilitate and promote. Shurat HaDin recently filed lawsuits against social media giant Facebook for providing material support to Hamas and other designated terrorist organizations, and similar suits involving other social media platforms and terror groups are soon to follow.
DEFENDING AGAINST WAR CRIMES ALLEGATIONS
In their attempt to delegitimize Israel, advance their cause internationally, and pressure Israel to make concessions in the “peace process,” the Palestinians have stepped up their efforts to bring condemnation upon Israel in national and international tribunals. The Palestinian Authority has ostensibly acceded to membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, and has lodged complaints at the ICC claiming that Israel, its leaders, and soldiers should be prosecuted for various “war crimes” arising out of Israel’s 2014 Gaza operation to halt missile attacks aimed at Israeli civilians, and for “settlement” activity in Judea and Samaria. The State of Israel is not a member of the ICC, which complicates its ability to formally respond to these complaints. As a non-governmental organization, Shurat HaDin can thus play an important role in countering the Palestinians’ actions. Among other things, Shurat HaDin has convened a series of major conferences with academic and legal experts on the current state of the “laws of war,” to promote public awareness and debate on the standards that should be applied to evaluate Israeli military actions. In addition, Shurat HaDin has also submitted several complaints to the ICC documenting international crimes committed by the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian leaders.
COMBATING LAWFARE AND BDS
Israel and Jewish communities around the world also continue to be confronted by an international campaign to delegitimize the Jewish State and challenge its right to exist via the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and various “lawfare” tactics to attack Israel and Israelis with baseless legal actions. Shurat HaDin has taken a lead in combatting these efforts, working to support legislation to prohibit and penalize racist and anti-Semitic boycotts, exposing organizations that fund BDS activities, filing legal challenges to unions and academic societies that seek to support and implement BDS policies, and using legal procedures to foil attempts to weaken Israel’s security, such as the Gaza Flotilla that sought to breach Israel’s legitimate coastal blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Stopping the flow of money to terrorists through the use of civil suits and other legal means.
Achieving justice and compensation for terror victims from terrorist organizations, their sponsors, and the financial institutions that aid and abet their criminal activities.
Combating the global effort by Israel’s enemies to de-legitimize, boycott and wage “lawfare” against the Jewish state.
Training the next generation of activist attorneys and legal advocates to fight for the rights of the worldwide Jewish community and Israel.
Leading the private sector’s war on terrorism.
We tend to think of the fight against terrorism as a task that falls mainly on the shoulders of elected officials and governments, whether it is their law enforcement, military, diplomatic or intelligence agencies. Nonetheless, Shurat HaDin has proven that there is one area where private citizens can uniquely play a leading role – stopping the funds available to the enemies of Israel and the Jewish People. Since the 1990s Western countries, and especially the United States, have legislated laws making it possible for terror victims to sue the regimes that sponsor terror, banks that transfer funds to terror groups, front charities established to assist the extremist groups, and even the terrorists themselves. Thus, Shurat HaDin’s legal campaigns have empowered the terror victims and their families to fight back.
Over the past 12 years, Israeli activist attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has become the undisputed leader of the fight against Palestinian and Islamic terrorist organizations in the courtroom, as well as a beacon of hope for terror victims throughout the world.
A mother of six, including triplets, Darshan-Leitner is a graduate of the Bar-Ilan University Law Faculty and holds an MBA from Manchester University.
Nitsana has been recognized and lauded as a pioneer in the judicial battle against terrorism by a number of publications and organizations:
Named by the Jerusalem Post as one of the fifty most influential Jews in 2014, and by the Algemeiner as one of the Top 10 Living Jewish Women Role Models in 2015.
Selected by the Israeli Globes Financial Magazine as one of the 50 most influential women in Israel in 2012.
Awarded the Moskovitz Prize for Zionism in 2012, given in recognition of individuals who take personal responsibility by placing the collective needs of the Jewish people before their personal needs.
In addition, Nitsana regularly appears in the media including Israeli talk show programs, Voice of Israel radio, CNN, the BBC, European television, the Jerusalem Report and many American, Canadian and European publications.
Digital Media Director
Adam was born in Manchester, England, raised in South Florida and moved to Israel in the summer of 2013. In 2015 Adam joined Shurat HaDin as Content Director. His skillset combines content marketing knowledge, digital media expertise and journalism. Prior to joining the Law Center, Adam worked in the Israeli hi-tech sector and also for Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He holds a Master’s in Public Relations and International Conflict Resolution from Tel Aviv University and a Bachelor’s in Religious Studies from Rollins College. In 2016 Adam assumed the role of Digital Media Director.
Dan moved to Israel in 2010 from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated with degrees in law and religion from Emory University. Dan has more than 20 years of legal experience, having worked as a federal court staff attorney, an Assistant Attorney General of Georgia, and Counsel at an international law firm. He has handled matters in a wide range of areas, including complex corporate litigation, securities litigation, banking and financial regulation, hi-tech licensing and litigation, white-collar criminal matters, Racketeering and Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) cases, and special investigations.
Attorney and Coordinator of Government Relations
Avi was born and raised in Jerusalem. He holds an LLB from Ono Academic College, a B.Ed from Herzog College and a B.Sc in Neuroscience from Bar Ilan University. Before joining Shurat HaDin, Avi worked as an intern in the office of Israel’s Civil Deputy Attorney General, Sarit Dana. Avi joined Shurat HaDin in 2014 and holds several key responsibilities including administering legal matters with Israel’s High Court, organizing cases against the Palestinian Authority, collecting evidence regarding cases of liability and damages tried in the United States and coordinating relations with Israeli government officials. Avi initiated and is academic director of Shurat HaDin’s annual New Law of War Conference. He also occasionally teaches international law and criminal procedure at Ono Academic College, and is studying for his Ma. in Jewish Philosophy.
Devorah was born in Havana, Cuba and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. She holds a BA in History and Spanish from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a Juris Doctor from the University Of Miami School Of Law in Coral Gables, Florida. Devorah has more than 30 years of legal experience. Upon graduation from law school she served as staff attorney and law clerk to the Chief Judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri. She subsequently joined the legal department of the United States Small Business Administration where she served for 10 years as an Attorney Advisor and Special Assistant United States Attorney. In 1996 Devorah was appointed an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri where she handled matters in multiple areas including commercial litigation, bankruptcy, employment discrimination, agency compliance and enforcement as well as Medicare and food stamp fraud, civil rights, and immigration. After moving to Israel Devorah joined the team at Shurat HaDin where she works on the organization’s U.S. anti-terror cases.
Senior Attorney, Director of the Israel Advocacy Educational Programming
Rachel grew up in Pittsburgh and has been working as a litigator since graduating from Case Western Reserve University Law School in 1998. After moving to Israel in 2010 with her husband and 5 children, Rachel joined the legal team of Shurat HaDin, where she works on the organization’s U.S. antiterror cases. Most recently Rachel was part of the trial team that won Shurat a $655 million dollar jury verdict against the PA and PLO on behalf of 33 American victims of terror during the second Intifada. Rachel also runs Shurat HaDin’s biannual law student internship program and annual lawyer’s seminar.
Attorney, Director of Programs and Operations
Alona is a Tel Aviv native. After completing her army service in the Intelligence Corp of the IDF, Alona went on to obtain a B.A. in Government with an emphasis on counter-terrorism and homeland security, and an L.L.B. in Law at the Interdisciplinary Center (“IDC”), Herzliya. Before joining the team at Shurat HaDin in 2013, Alona was a legal intern of the General Council for the Ministry of Defense and after passing the Israeli Bar exam worked in a private law firm specializing in security and rules of engagement in the private sector. At Shurat HaDin, Alona oversees the day to day operations of the office, as well as all event planning, projects, HR, public relations, and marketing. Alona is also Shurat Hadin’s creative director and participates in the organization’s strategic planning.
CONTINUING THE BATTLE
The battle on behalf of Israel and the world Jewish community has increasingly shifted to the legal theatre.
As an NGO operating in the private sector, Shurat HaDin is positioned to undertake actions that the Israeli government is unable to formally engage in. We are not constrained by political pressures, diplomatic relations, nor international treaties. As such, we are able to act unapologetically against the enemies of the Jewish State without concern for foreign retaliations.
The multi-faceted threats facing the Jewish people today must be fought on a wide range of fronts. The activist attorneys of Shurat HaDin are uniquely qualified and have the experience to lead these struggles which can frequently be best fought utilizing legal actions. Shurat HaDin is determined to allow the private sector to play a role in initiating bold action in order to help win the war against Israel’s enemies.
PRAISE FOR SHURAT HADIN
“I am again thankful to Shurat HaDin [for] what you are doing in the international arena, whether by raising our case, whether by fighting back in certain courts over the globe. Thank you for that.”
– Former Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
“The first thing – and Shurat HaDin has shown the way in this regard – is that we have to step out of the docket of the accused. We have to step away from the mind frame of those who are accused at all times and begin to become the plaintiff, the claimant. To begin to take initiatives with respect to taking back the narrative; of taking back the narrative and becoming the framers of the Israeli and Jewish people’s case and cause, rather than allowing others to frame it for us and to put us and keep us in the docket.”
– Canadian MP Professor Irwin Cotler.
“I’m 20 years military, so I believe in offensive. I don’t just like playing defensive. It doesn’t work. … Shurat HaDin is a primary organization engaged in offensive lawfare. I’m here because I really support a lot of what they do.”
– Daniel Reisner, former legal advisor in the International Law Department of the IDF.
“Shurat HaDin, an Israeli law center, has been doing great work here, of both global and local scope—going after the Palestinian Authority in international arenas and local food co-ops considering grocery boycotts. “
– Andrew Pessin, JNS.org.
“Shurat HaDin has gained an impressive reputation in the last decade for its vigorous efforts to use the law to hold Palestinian terror groups responsible for their crimes.”
– Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary magazine.
“[…Few] entities have escaped [Shurat HaDin’s] reach — they have taken on global banks, insurance companies, foreign countries and any person or entity they believe assists terror groups.”
– David Suissa, Tribe Media/L.A. Jewish Journal
“Seeking justice fro (Reverand Kim) Dong-Shik’s family is Israeli civil rights organization Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center, which has been seeking justice for American and Israeli victims of terrorism since 2003.”