Yesterday we secured a massive federal court victory in the most significant U.S. federal court case in defense of Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state we’ve ever undertaken.
Just over a year ago a group of Palestinian activists, led by the head of a family of notorious terrorists, Bassem al-Tamimi, filed a $34.5 billion dollar lawsuit in federal court against numerous organizations that support the State of Israel. In a nutshell, what they were trying to do in their 200-page complaint was to litigate the very existence of the State of Israel in an attempt to delegitimize it.
Our client is an established charity dedicated to defending the history and people of Gush Etzion - dozens of Israeli cities, towns, and villages near Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Their only “wrongdoing” – along with the other charities, nonprofits, businesses and private citizens named in the complaint – was that they have supported and continue to support the Jewish State of Israel.
As we previously explained Gush Etzion is:
a group of Israeli cities, towns and villages in the Judean Mountains near Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Prominent Jerusalem-based lawyer Marc Zell, who serves as lead counsel - and who himself is a resident of the town of Tekoa in Gush Etzion - brought ACLJ into the case to serve as defense co-counsel. This is an area of great historical and strategic significance from Biblical times to serving as a significant defense of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.
As Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion eulogized the defenders of Gush Etzion in 1948, “I can think of no battle in the annals of the Israel Defense Forces which was more magnificent, more tragic or more heroic than the struggle for Gush Etzion … If there exists a Jewish Jerusalem, our foremost thanks go to the defenders of Gush Etzion.”
The Arab Legion massacred the Jews of Gush Etzion in 1948, but after the miraculous Six Day War of 1967, when Judea and Samaria were liberated, the Jews returned and rebuilt. From 450 residents in four villages that were destroyed in 1948, Gush Etzion is now home to 90,000 Israelis in 22 flourishing towns and villages.
Make no mistake: what this case is about is another attempt by Israel’s enemies to attack the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel and undermine the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state. Having failed at warfare every time they confront Israel militarily, Israel’s enemies are now using our courts to fight her with lawfare.
Their purpose is clear. Their tactics are viciously aggressive – a scorched earth legal attack. We will take the fight to them: our defense will be aggressive, direct, and unwavering.
This lawsuit was meant to accomplish in court what the terrorists could never do themselves – eliminate the Jewish State, or at the very least weaken and frighten her supporters into submission.
Not on our watch.
The ACLJ sent a senior team of lawyers to defend against these claims. Working with the other law firms representing clients we filed numerous responses including a motion to dismiss the case. Today, the federal court issued an opinion that dismissed the case and agreed with everything that we said.
The court noted that it lacks jurisdiction to hear this case for all the reasons that we listed, including the fact that it is “replete with non-justiciable political questions.”
Despite the fact that the plaintiffs tried to obfuscate their real intentions with wild claims and false accusations, thankfully, Judge Chutkan saw right through to what they really wanted, noting:
At the core of their Amended Complaint, however, is the request for this court to adjudicate and resolve the lawfulness of the development of Israeli settlements . . . . This issue, both close to the heart of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and central to the United States’ foreign policy decision-making in the region, is simply inappropriate for this court to resolve.
Despite the clear and resounding victory in this case, unfortunately our job is not done yet. Already back in February, the same law firm that represented al-Tamimi filed yet another lawsuit, also in federal court, using similar conspiracy theories to accuse supporters of the State of Israel of all kinds of crimes. Once again, we at the ACLJ have filed motions on behalf of another client, carefully explaining and exposing the false premises their complaint is built upon.
No matter how many times it takes, we stand ready to defend against this kind of frivolous, almost desperate, attempt to hurt the Jewish state in court. Regardless, supporters of Israel should stand tall and proud, because justice will always prevail and we will continue to do our part to protect the State of Israel from all challenges.
This post was co-authored by Jeff Ballabon, Senior Counsel for International and Government Affairs at ACLJ.
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