ACLJ Scores Major Victory: Federal Court Throws Out Lawsuit Brought by Terrorist Sympathizers Seeking To Delegitimize Israel and Punish Israel’s Supporters
One year ago, on February 25, 2020, a group of Palestinian activists – including those with ties to terrorists – in Washington, D.C., filed a massive lawsuit against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former President Donald Trump, and several other prominent pro-Israel politicians and public figures, including our client, former Democratic New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind. The truly bizarre complaint alleged a massive conspiracy between the Israeli government and the named Defendants to commit war crimes against Palestinians, without offering – or even identifying – any evidence to back up the baseless claim.
Despite its length (175 pages), the complaint was bereft of any relevant facts or coherent legal theories. For examples, the Plaintiffs’ claims against former Assemblyman Hikind were in essence that he is an “Israeli spokesperson” and an unregistered “Israeli agent” simply because he is openly against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, a movement that has been continuously condemned by countless members of both the Republican and Democratic Parties at the state and federal levels; and because he advocated for the State Department to officially adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism – a definition they had already been using at the time as a Working Definition.
[T]he complaint details factual allegations of harms caused by unnamed assailants against unnamed individuals, rendering any discern[i]ble claim virtually unintelligible. . . . Dozens of other pages of factual recitation appear entirely unrelated to any alleged harm at all. . . . Critically, despite this lengthy exposition, the plaintiffs fail to specify who injured them, how the defendants are connected to those individuals, when the harm occurred, or where it occurred.” Order, p. 3.
As a result, the court granted our Motion to Dismiss and dismissed the Plaintiffs’ Complaint without prejudice.
This is not the first time that claims like this have been made in federal court by people desperate to somehow find fault with the State of Israel and her supporters. For years, the ACLJ has also represented clients in Al-Tamimi v. Adelson, 16-cv-445, and Peled v. Netanyahu, 17-cv-260, two similar cases that were also both filed in the U.S. District Court for D.C. All three lawsuits are nothing more than an attempt to implement BDS-via-lawsuit: to scare pro-Israel individuals and entities (or even just neutral businesses desiring to conduct business in Israel) from supporting Israel in any way by imposing the threat of litigation, along with its risks and expenses. To say that they are frivolous is being too kind. We call it lawfare.
We will keep litigating these cases, keep defending Israel’s interests and the people who support them, and keep on standing against anyone or anything desiring to abuse our legal system in order to diminish our allies.
This article was co-authored by ACLJ Senior Counsel for Litigation and Public Policy Benjamin Sisney.