How ordinary citizens can counter anti-Semitism and Islamic militants

The summer of 2014 has left many people feeling frustrated, outraged, scared, and helpless.

Daily, ordinary citizens are witnessing a dramatic spike in Anti-Semitism while simultaneously being bombarded with gruesome images and acts of Islamic militants. Global jihadists’ social media’s strategies are aimed at terrorizing opponents at home and winning recruits abroad. But there are increasing signs of pushback — both from companies swiftly censoring objectionable content and users determined not to let it go viral.

Stephen Ryde, a self-described “ordinary middle-aged Londoner,” has detailed his recent experiences of anti-Semitism in Britain and Ireland. His letter quickly went viral as people across the world shared it in outrage.

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Ryde has a long history of writing to MPs, leaders and newspapers when he is concerned about a problem.  “When I feel like something is wrong, I would usually write to that organisation or person to complain,” … “I write because I think it’s important. I’m not a prolific writer, but I write when I feel moved to.”

According to Ryde, the response to his letter has mostly been kind and supportive.

Check out the effects of contacting the responsible parties mentioned in Ryde’s letter: 

“In a student hall in Manchester a friend’s son is asked to leave as the specially prepared food he chose to eat is not permitted because it carries a label written in a language used by a country that is ‘banned’ by the student union.”

Ryde told BuzzFeed that his friend’s son, a student at Manchester University, was in the student union (UMSU) eating kosher food. According to the student, after someone reported this he was told he was “not allowed to bring Israeli products” on site because of a boycott of Israeli products. When the student tried to explain that the food he was eating was bought in Manchester city centre and was Jewish, not Israeli, he was asked to leave.

A University of Manchester Students’ Union Spokesperson told BuzzFeed: “The University of Manchester Students’ Union have never received a complaint through our complaints procedure of such matter and would rigorously investigate any such claim that this incident occurred within the Students’ Union. We have a welcoming and inclusive environment for all University of Manchester students. There is no policy or boycott in place to ban Israeli sourced produce and we would not discriminate on these grounds.”

“In theatres in Edinburgh and London I am told to denounce my opinions or lose the right to perform.”

In Edinburgh earlier this month, during the Fringe Festival, a hip-hop opera called The City run by an Israeli theatre company was cancelled after only one performance when pro-Palestine groups protested the event.

In London, as BuzzFeed reported earlier this month, “the Tricycle Theatre refused to allow the UK Jewish Film Festival, which had been held at the venue for eight years, to take place there again unless the organisers returned £1,400-worth of sponsorship from the Israeli embassy. The theatre said the organisers should not take money ‘from any party to the current conflict’ in Gaza so the Tricycle could remain politically neutral, and offered to provide the lost sponsorship itself.”

The Tricycle Theatre has since lifted its ban on Jewish Film Festival.

 “A sportsman in Ireland tweets if he sees my kind he’ll punch us in the face and recommends others follow suit.”

Footballer Tommy McGuigan tweeted: “If you are lucky enough to know or work with a Jew, punch him right in the nose tomorrow.”

He has since deleted the tweet and his account.

“Social media is rife with vitriol towards me (even from so-called friends). And in Bradford I’m told that I am not even permitted to enter the city.”

Ryde has reported anti-Semitic pages, groups, and tweets, and that friends of his have sometimes reported abuse directed at them to the police.

In Bradford, the MP George Galloway was filmed declaring Bradford an “Israel-free zone” in front of a Palestinian flag.

Local police have since launched an investigation into his comments.

The bottom line is that public authorities, institutions, and media companies have social responsibility in investigating incidents and removing offensive material, and everybody has the right to notify them.

James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies and director of its strategic technologies program, said companies have been taking down offensive imagery:

“Taking this stuff down off the social networks is important,” he said. “You shouldn’t suppress the facts, but you can suppress the image. That’s just pornography.”

Phillip Smyth, a University of Maryland researcher who tracks the social media activity of jihadists, has noted a modest but noteworthy rise in the speed with which rogue accounts are being removed from Twitter and terror-supporting pages are being pulled from Facebook.

The importance of blocking terrorists from abusing social media for recruitment purposes cannot be overstated. The statistics and facts are startling. Here are just a few:

  1. 1-in-800 young British Sunni men are fighting in Syria/Iraq 
  2. Today, the Austrian government has detained nine people with alleged plans to join rebels in Syria.
  3. The first “all-American” suicide bomber self-detonated in Syria. 

These examples are a few of the latest in a string of international jihadists — Britons, Australians, Chechens, Chinese and Indonesians — to appear in propaganda for Islamic terror groups.

Shurat HaDin calls on everyone to join in the fight against terror – if you see something, say something. There is always someone to report to, and usually someone that can be held responsible for perpetuating this offensive and often illegal activity.

Getting UNRWA out of Gaza II: Reroute UNWRA funds to the PA?

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UNRWA seeks donations by placing billboard in Times Square for Palestinians in Syria and Gaza

Last week Dr. Yishai Ashlag wrote about the advantages of Israel spearheading the rebuilding of Gaza’s economy. Middle East analysts Alexander Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky have proposed another alternative: transfer UNRWA’s responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority to politically strengthen the PA. 

Both analyses agree that UNRWA should have no role in any negotiated arrangement regarding Gaza’s reconstruction, estimated to cost $6 billion dollars: Gaza cannot be rebuilt at western expense only to return to this perverse status quo.

To recap, UNRWA is a completely Palestinian organization for decades, and effectively a branch of Hamas:

  1. Rockets were found in UNRWA schools on three occasions, and at least once they were returned to Hamas.
  2. UNRWA accused Israel of targeting civilians sheltering in a school when in fact those deaths were caused by a Hamas rocket that fell short.
  3. UNRWA accused Israel of targeting a shelter and civilians when in reality terrorists outside the facility were hit and civilian bodies are believed to have been planted at the scene.
  4. The overwhelming majority of UNRWA’S Gaza employees belong to the Hamas-linked trade union. An unknown number of employees are actual Hamas fighters (or at least know UNRWA employees with keys to the schools so that rockets can be stored in classrooms over the summer).
  5. The curriculum taught in UNRWA schools is shaped by Hamas, which earlier this year rejected textbooks that failed to tout “armed resistance” as too “peaceful.”
  6. UNRWA has condemned the rockets found in its schools, but it has not condemned Hamas’ firing of rockets from in and around its facilities, or any other locations such as residential areas, hospital parking lots, and hotels.
  7. Booby-trapped explosives were built into the UNRWA facility and detonated, killing three Israeli soldiers.

All these have now been documented, often reluctantly, by journalists who have left Gaza, who have also made it clear that they were subject to Hamas surveillance, harassment and intimidation. Instead, UNRWA and its spokesman Chris Gunness have tweeted accusations, voiced hollow defenses, and cried on television.

Here is where the analyses diverge: Joffe and Romirowsky believe that the key to dismantling UNRWA and building good governance in Gaza is transferring the defunct organization’s responsibilities to the PA: UNRWA’s employees should be made PA employees and international funds redirected to support its programs.

The authors admit that this recommendation has its flaws, because the PA is monumentally corrupt:

“There must be the expectation that Western funds and supplies will go missing, only to end up in the bank accounts and businesses of PA leaders and their families. But if at long last international donors become serious about cracking down on PA corruption, and Gazans demanded accountability from their government, there is at least the chance for good governance to emerge.”

“…in Gaza allegiances are based in the first place on who pays the bills. Better this be the PA with Western help than Hamas with Qatari help. Adding UNRWA’s 13,000 employees in Gaza to the PA’s roster would be a boost.”

Readers, what do you think? Is this an example of naïveté on the part of Western commentators, who seemingly ignore the fact that Arab leaders distrust Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the PA, and deny him adequate financial support? Or should the PA truly be considered a viable alternative to UNRWA and Israel?

Read the full article at the New Republic here.

Intern of the Week: Melanie S

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What is your name?

Melanie

Where are you from?

Toronto, Canada

How old are you?

23

What law school are you in?

I attend Queen’s University Faculty of Law.

Why did you go to law school?

I went to law school because I wanted to immerse myself in a discipline that uses strong analytical skills and critical thinking; that is challenging; and interesting. Law school satisfies those criteria.

Is this your first time in Israel? Please describe something you have learned about Israel that surprises you or that interests you.

I have been to Israel before, to visit family. What interests me about Israel is the diversity and accessibility of its physical geography. It is possible to go, in one day, to the lush greenery of the north to the desert in the south. It seems that every neighborhood has its own unique geography that gives it character.

How did you hear about Shurat HaDin, and what inspired you to apply to the internship program?

I heard about Shurat HaDin from a friend who had interned at the organization years ago. I chose to apply because the internship enabled me to meet several of my summer goals: to gain legal experience, to volunteer, and to travel to Israel. Shurat HaDin’s mission greatly appealed to me and my sense of justice, and was a significant motivating factor for choosing to apply to the program’s organization.

What are some of the takeaways from the internship program that you will apply to your studies and future career?

I have gained many skills from this internship program that I will apply to my studies and future career. For my academic career, I will apply the in-depth knowledge I have gained about international law to my relevant courses. For my professional career, I will apply my legal research and writing skills, which I have been able to practice and improve during my internship. I will also apply creative legal thinking – an invaluable skill that has been honed during my internship at Shurat HaDin, and a skill that is not easily taught in law school.

What are your future plans and goals?

After law school, I plan on working in a law firm in Toronto. I am not yet sure in which area of law I would like to practice, but Shurat HaDin has peaked my interest in international law.

Check out Melanie’s blog post below:

My perspective about Israel and conflict within Israel has changed during my internship at Shurat HaDin. I was exposed to lectures from lawyers, academics, government officials, judges, locals, terror victims, and other individuals in Israel; I watched court sessions and trials; and I experienced Israel first hand during my two and a half months in the country.

Something that I struck me immediately was the extent to which people in Israel care about their country. Everyone with whom I spoke was passionate about Israel, regardless of their political position or affiliation. When Shurat HaDin took us interns on a field trip to the north of the country, we visited a kibbutz. One of the members of the kibbutz gave us a passionate speech about his connection to the land – literally, to the agricultural basis on which the kibbutz depends, but also to the more abstract land of Israel. He described his experiences defending the kibbutz from various attacks from Lebanon and Syria communities, which were a mere stone’s throw away from the kibbutz and easily visible from where we were standing. He didn’t express his views on various Israeli political leaders, but vehemently defended his right to live on Israeli land. I found that many Israelis expressed similar feelings of connection to Israel.

Something else that struck me was the extent to which judicial and law enforcement officials care about Israel, and about enforcing its laws properly and fairly. When Shurat HaDin took the interns to a military courthouse, we listened to a lecture by Lieutenant Menachem Lieberman, President of the Ofer Military Court. He described to us the extent to which the court strives to achieve justice. For example, military judges are guaranteed judicial independence – the judges are not subject to any authority but the law. He said that he personally never felt external pressure to reach a certain verdict. After the lecture, we watched part of a military hearing for four Palestinians. The Palestinians had legal representation, and from the enthusiastic contribution from both sides, it was clear that both sides’ lawyers, too, were passionate about the Israeli legal system.

That same day we went to listen to General Shaul Gordon, who is the chief legal advisor to the Israeli police, and who once served as a judge in the military courthouses. He spoke to us about administrative detention. He explained to us that the process is designed to ensure fairness to the individual brought in for detention. For example, the individuals must, by law, be brought in for judicial review in a military courthouse within 96 hours of their detention. Afterwards, they have the right to appeal their verdict. General Gordon explained to us that he made a highly unpopular decision to require the police and judges to personally review each of the individual’s files (which can be hundreds of pages) so as to not make any mistakes or injustices, even though this put a great strain on the police’s resources. It is clear to me that General Gordon takes his job seriously and works hard to promote a just system in Israel. The three experiences I mentioned are just some of many encounters I had that demonstrate the passion of Israelis about their own country. This passion, in my opinion, is highly positive in that it encourages the flow of ideas and furthers the goal of democracy.

 

 

How the UN and UNRWA played into the hands of Hamas and became complicit in war crimes

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Alan Dershowitz, the famous American civil rights lawyer, Harvard Law professor, jurist, author, and political commentator, has penned an article at the Jewish World Review focusing on how questions the United Nations and the international community must try their hardest to become part of the solution in Gaza, rather than part of the problem. He asks the reader a number of thought provoking questions:

  1. How many times have you heard on television or read in the media that the Gaza Strip is “the most densely populated area in the world”?

Repeating this statement, however, does not make it true. There are dense parts of Gaza, especially Gaza City, Beit Hanoun and Khan Younis, but there are far less dense areas in Gaza between these cities. Just look at this population density map.

  1. Why doesn’t the media show the relatively open areas of the Gaza Strip? Why does the media only show the densely populated cities?

Several possible reasons – no fighting going on in the sparsely populated areas, so showing them would be boring. But that’s precisely the point—to show areas from which Hamas could be firing rockets and building tunnels but has chosen not to. Or perhaps the reason the media doesn’t show these areas is that Hamas won’t let them. That too would be a story worth reporting.

  1. Why doesn’t Hamas use sparsely populated areas from which to launch its rockets and build its tunnels?

If it did, Palestinian civilian casualties would decrease dramatically, but the casualty rate among Hamas terrorists would increase dramatically. Hamas uses its civilians to protect its terrorists. Hamas builds shelters only for its terrorists, intending that most of the casualties be among its civilian shields. That is precisely why Hamas selects the most densely populated areas from which to fire and dig.

The law is clear: using civilians as human shields—which the Hamas battle manual mandates—is an absolute war crime. There are no exceptions or matters of degree, especially when there are alternatives. On the other hand, shooting at legitimate military targets, such as rockets and terror tunnels is permitted, unless the number of anticipated civilian casualties is disproportionate to the military importance of the target. This is a matter of degree and judgment, often difficult to calculate in the fog of war.

The law is also clear that when a criminal takes a hostage and uses that hostage as a shield from behind whom to fire at civilians or police, and if the police fire back and kill the hostage, it is the criminal and not the policeman who is guilty of murder. So too with Hamas: when it uses human shields and the Israeli military fires back and kills some of the shields, it is Hamas who is responsible for their deaths.

  1. Why does the United Nations try to shelter Palestinian civilians right in the middle of the areas from which Hamas is firing?

Hamas has decided not to use the less densely populated areas for rocket firing and tunnel digging. For that reason, the United Nations should use these sparsely populated areas as places of refuge. Since the Gaza Strip is relatively small, it would not be difficult to move civilians to these safer areas. They should declare these areas battle free and build temporary shelters—tents if necessary—as places of asylum for the residents of the crowded cities. It should prevent any Hamas fighters, any rockets and any tunnel builders from entering into these sanctuaries. In that way, Hamas would be denied the use of human shields and Israel would have no reason to fire its weapons anywhere near these United Nations sanctuaries. The net result would be a considerable saving of lives.

But instead the UN is playing right into the hands of Hamas, by sheltering civilians right next to Hamas fighters, Hamas weapons and Hamas tunnels. Then the United Nations and the international community accuses Israel of doing precisely what Hamas intended Israel to do: namely fire at its terrorists and kill United Nations protected civilians in the process. It’s a cynical game being played by Hamas, but it wouldn’t succeed without the complicity of UN agencies.

Read the rest of the article here.

How to get UNRWA out of Gaza and rebuild Gaza’s economy

UNRWA cry

An unusual display of emotion from an organization that is ostensibly neutral in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict


An interesting op-ed on Globes Business News by Dr. Yishai Ashlag PhD, discusses Hamas’s twisted economic strategy, UNRWA’s failure to provide Gazans with a dignified way to earn a living, and how Israel must spearhead the rebuilding of the Gazan economy, rather than leaving it up to defunct UN agencies.

Dr. Yishai Ashlag is an entrepreneur, author of the book “TOC Thinking” and partner at Goldratt consulting firm which has branches in Japan, Brazil, the US and India.

A few choice pieces from his article:

Hamas’s economic strategy:

Ever since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, the economy there has been based on two main ‘export” industries': humanitarian aid and providing terrorism services. In order to continue financing its activity, Hamas needs a round of fighting with Israel every few years, at the end of which it can market its military “victory” to the financers of terrorism and the misery of its people to providers of humanitarian aid worldwide.

Why UNRWA has failed:

It is ridiculous that Israel evacuated the Jewish communities from the Gaza Strip and gave the Palestinians all the attributes of self-government, while the Palestinians are still defined in international discourse as refugees in need of aid.

UNRWA’s operational mechanism has not done a thing for the residents of Gaza, nor has it provided them with a dignified way to earn a living. Over the past 50 years, UNRWA has only perpetuated the situation of the people of Gaza, their distress, and in effect, the aid system itself. UNRWA has thereby left the residents of the Gaza Strip in need of more aid, which comes from radical religious groups and terrorists.

The UNRWA budget, which is provided mainly by the US, Canada, and the European Union, amounts to $1 billion a year. Israel needs to discuss and cooperate with these donors in order to replace UNRWA’s humanitarian aid mechanism by a different economic mechanism.

Only Israel can do the job: 

The billions spent by UNRWA on its aid activities to date could have been used to build an economy in Gaza as a counterweight to the countries that finance terrorism. Were there enough factories and jobs in Gaza providing employment to its people in exchange for wages, the power of radical religious organizations would also wane.

In order to create a real alternative to UNRWA, Israel will have to pay for it. It must head a coalition of donor countries and offer by itself several hundred million dollars for a new organization in place of UNRWA. The purpose of the new organization will be to develop Gaza’s economy.

Money will be invested only in projects with definite civilian content. The organization will also finance construction of water, electricity, and housing infrastructure, but will focus on and support mainly the creation of jobs in sectors using civilian technology, such as agriculture and textiles.

The Israeli contribution to the development of Gaza could be an element in regional economic cooperation. For example, the natural buyers of Israel’s natural gas reserves are Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey.

The Point:

Getting UNRWA out of Gaza is a supreme interest of Israel. Getting rid of this organization is of security importance, for which an economic price should be paid. Therefore, from a position of strength, Israel should offer to pay from its state budget the money needed to eliminate UNRWA from Gaza.

Read the rest of the article here.

 

“Lawfare” à la Hamas: use dead civilians to garner international support

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Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., Executive Director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security and Professor at Duke Law School, analyzed Hamas’s twisted use of “lawfare” in the current Gazan conflict on Just Security.

Hamas’ strategy of lobbing rockets indiscriminately at Israeli population centers along with engaging in a few firefights in an effort to kill at least some Israelis is not, militarily speaking, a meaningful warfighting effort.

Rather, Hamas is employing a “lawfare” strategy. A lawfare strategy uses (or misuses) law essentially as a substitute for traditional military means; it is employing law much like any “weapon” to create effects or obtain results in an armed conflict.

Hamas is engaging in lawfare by attempting to use the fact of Palestinian civilian casualties to cast Israelis as war criminals. In doing so it seems that Hamas is hoping to achieve their aims not by defeating Israelis on a Gaza battlefield, but rather by delegitimizing Israel in the eyes of the world community by establishing them as lawbreakers in an era when adherence to the rule of law is so important to democracies.

According to an Associated Press report, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights believes that since the previous conflict with the Israelis in 2009, they have become “more efficient in touring sites of destruction, taking photos and collecting witness accounts.”

And Hamas has enjoyed some real success.  Many, perhaps most, governments and nongovernmental organizations are accusing Israel of excessive use of force in Gaza.  Disturbingly, however, some of the opposition in Europe even appears to be morphing into anti-Semitism, which must be pleasing to Hamas operatives.

Regardless, Hamas won an important lawfare victory when a resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council denounced Israel for “widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms” during its military operations in Gaza (even though the “independent” investigation also called for by the resolution has not yet gotten underway).

As successful as Hamas has been thus far, its lawfare offensive may be slowing down, as indicated by the following factors:

  • the Israeli Defense Forces are countering with a state-of-the-art public information campaign heavy with videos and charts designed to illustrate what it does to minimize civilian casualties. And it does seem that at least for some audiences the more facts they get the less likely they are to be supportive of Hamas.
  • Gallup poll shows that 71% of Americans who are following the news “very closely” believe that Israel’s actions are justified as opposed to just 18% who do not follow very closely who hold that view.
  • Additionally, the poll also shows that those with more education support the Israeli actions. All of this might suggest that as people become more familiar with the facts they are less likely to support Hamas, and this could mean that time is not on Hamas’ side.
  • a growing belief that, as already suggested, Hamas is deliberately jeopardizing lives of Palestinians in order to pursue its lawfare strategy. Indeed, Hamas seems to be admitting as much. USA Today quotes a Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri using the word “strategy,” in commending people for “ignoring Israeli warnings” to evacuate before a bombing: “The fact that people are willing to sacrifice themselves against Israeli warplanes in order to protect their homes, I believe this strategy is proving itself.”
  •  the claim in Algemeiner Journal that Turki al Faisal, who once headed Saudi Arabia’s intelligence services, said “Hamas is responsible for the slaughter in the Gaza Strip.” This is especially damaging given other reports that many Arab leaders are now assessing Hamas as “worse than Israel.”
  • the bloodshed and destruction may be weakening support even among suffering Palestinians themselves. Moreover, the New York Times reports that Hamas, perhaps “feeling pressure over the mounting deaths,” altered its message to Palestinians from telling them to ignore Israeli warnings to telling Palestinians to “avoid hot areas” and to “stay inside after 11 p.m.”

 

Read the rest here.

A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza

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Senator Ted Cruz is a Texas Republican co-sponsoring a resolution denouncing the use of civilians as human shields by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in violation of international humanitarian law.

Senator Cruz contrasts Hamas’s use of the largest hospital in Gaza, al-Shifa, as “a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders,” with Israel’s Ziv Medical Center in Zefat, which has treated more than 1,000 Syrians injured in Syrian civil war free of charge:

“Hamas sees no downside in this arrangement. Knowing that Israel prioritizes protecting civilians, the terrorists can be reasonably confident that al-Shifa will not be targeted, and they can continue their murderous activities undisturbed. If the Israelis finally decide that these activities are intolerable and that to destroy Hamas they must target their headquarters, Hamas will have pictures of the quintessentially innocent martyrs — hospital patients unable to flee — to plaster across international media in their ongoing propaganda war to demonize the Jewish state.”

The contrast in this tale of two hospitals could not be more clear: Hamas exploits their medical facilities as a human shield to launch terrorist operations against Israel, while Israel uses theirs to provide cutting-edge medical care to people whose government’s avowed goal is to destroy the Jewish state.

Read the full article here.

Q&A: Nitsana Darshan-Leitner sues to gain control of Iranian regime’s Internet licenses

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Karmel Melamed from the Jewish Journal recently interviewed Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, an Israeli attorney of Iranian Jewish heritage who represents Jewish victims of Palestinian and Iranian terrorism. She has successfully sued the Iranian regime in U.S. federal courts for their sponsorship of terrorism. His interview explores Nitsana’s latest move in filing a lawsuit in U.S. federal court in Washington, D.C., to seize control of Internet licenses and domain names belonging to the Iranian regime. The legal motion was made in June against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a U.S. government agency that controls all Internet domain names. The maneuver aims to force the Iranian regime to pay nearly $1 billion in unpaid judgments from civil lawsuits won by Jewish victims against the Iranian regime for funding suicide bombings and shootings by Hamas and Islamic Jihad nearly two decades ago. The following is a segment of his interview…

For many years now you have tried to seize the Iranian regime’s assets and bank accounts in the U.S. and Europe to collect on the judgments against the regime for its direct support of terror. What motivated you to seek an attachment on their internet licenses and domain names? And how successful do you think you will be in collecting on this judgment in a U.S. federal court?

The years are passing by and we have over a billion dollars in unsatisfied court judgments against Iran. Our clients, the terror victims and families, have grown impatient and understand that if we aren’t proactive, if we aren’t vigilant and aggressive, we will never be able to have Teheran pay voluntarily. We believe in going on the offensive. ICANN provides these licenses and domain names to Iran, they are a property, an asset, and we intend to seize them for the victims. Legally we are correct and we hope the courts will act justly. ICANN is a U.S. government agency and in the past the U.S. government has prevented different plaintiffs seeking to collect on judgments against the Iranian regime from moving forward.

How confident are you that the Obama administration will not block this latest move by your law firm on behalf of the victims of terror?

There has been legislation, some that we were instrumental in passing that makes it easier now for terror victims with judgments to go after Iranian assets in the US. We are pursuing ICANN under these statutes and we are hopeful that we can seize the internet licenses and at least in part satisfy the judgments. The Obama administration has in recent years been making greater strides to warm relations between the U.S. and the Iranian regime.

Have you encountered any opposition or resistance from the administration to block your latest move on attaching the regime’s internet licenses and domain names?

Well the State Department and others involved in appeasing the outlaw regime in Iran are always frowning upon any private effort by lawyers to hold Iran accountable for its sponsorship of international terrorism and the suicide bombings and rocket attacks in Israel. On the other hand we maintain good relations with the intelligence services and US armed forces who understand that Iran is determined to continue to enrich uranium at all costs and continues to be the largest sponsor of terrorism globally. So we will continue to work with the rational elements and agencies in the US, Israel and Europe that have a clear eyed understanding of the threat of Islamic extremism. Just recently I lectured before a group of senior officers at the US Naval War College in Rhode Island. My speech was very well received. Those senior officers don’t have any allusion about appeasing Islamic extremism. Accordingly, those committed to fighting the jihadists and who understand you cannot compromise or ignore the threat from Iran are all on the same page – the Iranian and Revolutionary Guard ideology cannot be placated, it’s an aggressive and dangerous cancer, and it must be fought by the government, the military and the private sector relentlessly.

Is there any legal precedent for some suing ICANN to obtain another country’s or entity’s internet licenses and domain names in matters of collecting on a judgment?

This is a case of first impression. It’s unprecedented and we are very determined and excited to see what ICANN and the court will do. We know we are legally correct and have the right to seize all Iranian property we can locate in the US to satisfy our federal court judgments.

What message are you and the terror victims’ families hoping to send with this latest move to get an attachment on the Iranian regime’s internet licenses and domain names?

The message we are trying to send to Iran is – you have financed these Hamas attacks, you killed and injured innocent Jews and now it’s time to pay compensation for your crimes. 60 years after the Holocaust Jew haters worldwide have to know there is a steep price to pay for murdering Jews. Iran has to be taught that sponsoring Palestinian terrorism will lead to its economic destruction. While some want to reach a misguided agreement with Iran on the nuclear issue, and want to ease the sanctions, we are determined that the issue of Iran’s financial support for Middle East terrorism not be swept under the rug. We are demanding compensation and justice for the victims and families.

If the US Administration wants to whitewash Iran’s decades of terrorism and war crimes that is its problem, we won’t let them throw the terror victims under the bus. In the past the Iranian regime has ignored your lawsuits and judgments, how certain are you that this latest legal move will grab their attention?

They have ignored our cases, however, when we have moved to actually collect they sometimes hire US law firms to fight. We do not care if they respond in the ICANN case because we intend to seize the licenses and have title passed to the victims of Iranian terrorism. So they can boycott the proceedings at their own peril.

You are of Iranian Jewish heritage and have seen how the Iranian regime has treated Jews for 36 years. How personally important is it for you to see the victims’ families collect this judgment against the Iranian regime?

It’s personally important to me both because my family is Persian and more importantly because these victims are Jews who were targeted because they are Jewish. We believe that the slogan “never again” means first and foremost that no one can murder Jews and simply walk away. There has to be a heavy price and simply forgiving Iran or shrugging our shoulders means that Jewish blood will be deemed cheap in the eyes of the nations. Not pursuing the financers of Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorism endangers not just Israelis but the entire world Jewish community. It’s very hard not to be ashamed of Iran, its treatment of minorities and woman, the wanton murders carried out in the name of religion, its widespread civil rights violations, the tortures and the destruction of its societal fibers. Persia today under the Ayatollahs is a tragic and criminal skeleton of what it once was. In a little over three decades the Islamic extremists have erased much of Persia’s glorious culture and history and replaced it with a foreign and immoral cult of Jihadism, escalating racism and Revolutionary Guard corruption. Every Persian person, whether Muslim, Bahai or Jewish, who can still remember what Persia once was, needs to join with us in fighting this wicked and artificial regime. We are combating Iran through the courts.

If this latest legal move is blocked by the U.S. administration or the U.S. courts, will you continue to fight this fight? If yes, then why?

Yes of course. We’ll oppose all legal challenges, appeal to the highest courts and seek assistance from Congress. Why should Iran enjoy licenses and benefits from the US government, a country they actively seek to destroy, and at the same time thumb their noses at the US court system and the terror victims who have legal judgments against them? Iran is like any other deadbeat creditor who needs to pay up. They lost at trial. They murdered Jews and now they need to hand over the cash.

Why should Jews and average Americans care about this case? Some people reading about your work wonder why you are rocking the boat and trying to push this case so much. How do you respond to them?

Firstly, I represent private families with judgments from federal courts who are pursuing their rights. It’s their business not the public’s. More importantly, Iran is an outlaw regime and only the most naïve observer would believe for a moment that Iran has changed its agenda or its stripes. We are going to continue pursuing justice for the terror victims in every forum, in every jurisdiction, worldwide. We will pursue Iran until the end and we believe we will succeed. We owe it to the families. Teheran should know the terror victims haven’t yet begun to rock the boat.

What do you think is the most important aspect of your efforts in this case?

For years the Iranian government has refused to pay its judgments, thumbing its nose at these terror victims and the American court system. Our clients continue to suffer from the suicide bombing that Iran financed in Jerusalem nearly seventeen years ago. It is not our intention to shut down Iran’s internet usage, but we want what is rightfully due. If by seizing any funds earned from these licenses and contractual rights we can satisfy the judgments, we will have served our clients.

Read the article on the Jewish Journal website here.

Intern of the Week – Jordan

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Next up: our intern Jordan shares with us his fascinating perspective on life in Israel under rocket fire, and the secret to Israel’s strength during times of conflict.

What is your name?

Jordan

How old are you?

26

What law school are you in?

Columbia Law School

Why did you go to law school?

I have always been interested in social sciences and feel that the study of law reveals the most sophisticated design and structure of a civilized society. This subject can be the best tool for us to understand both the human nature and the progress of civilization.

Is this your first time in Israel? Please describe something you have learned about Israel that surprises you or that interests you.

Yes. What interests me most is Israelis’ attitude of “never let the terrorism/war influence the normal life”, which is also the part I admire most.

How did you hear about Shurat HaDin, and what inspired you to apply to the internship program?

I read about Shurat HaDin on my law school’s career service website. I was attracted by the ideology of fighting terrorism without guns.

What are some of the takeaways from the internship program that you will apply to your studies and future career?

I honed my basic legal skills, including the research, analysis and writing skills. Also, from all the lectures and field trips, I realized how important a mutual cultural understanding could be in the modern international community.

What are your future plans and goals?

In the short-term, I may become a commercial lawyer. But for the long-term, I’m thinking about devoting myself to some works promoting cultural understanding among different nations.

Check out Jordan’s original and insightful blog post below:

“You could become strong when you choose to do so.”

Living in Israel during the recent war was a life experience: the first time hearing the siren, first time seeing the bomb shelter and first time covering myself on the street. Among all these new experiences, the most impressive and memorable one is actually the people’s attitude towards the war, which basically is “never let the war influence our normal life.”

Even under the most constant bombardment, restaurants, bars and public transports are still running. People go to work and entertainments as usual. Without the sirens and the news, I could not even feel that I was literally in a war. Before going to Israel, I was always curious how Israelis could build up such a strong and rich country in the dessert while being surrounded by all the hostile countries. No doubt the support from United States and the assistance from international Jewish community do help. But after two months living there, I feel the Israelis’ attitude definitely plays a much more important role.

If you cannot choose the situation, the only thing you could do is to choose a positive and productive attitude. If the attack cannot be avoided, the only thing you may do is to minimize its negative influence on your life. My Israeli friends invited me to watch world cup on the beach while the sirens went on from time to time. We just did what we planned. Life has to go on. If you don’t want your enemy to hurt you, the best way is to keep on doing what you are supposed to do.

People might say that it was because of the effectiveness of the Iron Dome. True. But the Iron Dome was developed only during the past several years while such kind of attitude was already part of the nation’s blood long time ago. Buses and markets were bombed almost everyday during second Intifada. However, instead of living under the fear and being stuck at home, people there kept on making efforts to build up a stronger country. Education, economy, and technology, nothing has ever stopped being developed.

It is necessary to point out that this attitude is not a reckless boldness.  Everyone understands that there is a possibility of being injured because of the rockets, people still take the sirens very seriously and follow the guidance all the time. Putting all the political controversy aside, I truly admire this attitude. While you need to take every available measure to protect and defend yourself, you should not be driven by the fear or the uncertain, which you cannot control. In other words, change whatever you can change, and then keep calm for the things you might not be able to change. You could choose to live under the fear and stop moving on. Then the fear is always a fear. You could otherwise choose to keep calm and make yourself stronger and stronger. The fear will never be a fear sooner or later by this way. You could become strong only when you choose to do so. Israelis set up a good example for us, showing how many achievements could be reached by holding such kind of attitude.