The Arnie Silverman Internship Program

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Schooling the ASA on boycotting Israel (Times of Israel)

By Nitsana Darshan-Leitner

Last week, the American Studies Association’s (ASA) national council, unanimously passed a resolution calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The ASA, which bills itself as the “oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history,” then took the unusual step of asking its reportedly 5,000 members to cast their own votes on upholding the anti-Israel policy. While the deadline to reject the resolution runs out today, Sunday, December 15, the ASA scholars, which fancy themselves as the leading authorities on all things American, seem to have overlooked one small matter – a boycott resolution of this nature violates international, federal and state law in the United States. They leave the ASA and its membership open to both civil and criminal liability.

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Make Iran pay for terrorism it sponsored (The Hill)

By Nitsana Darshan-Leitner

As lawyers representing the bereaved families and victims of terrorist attacks funded, supported and perpetrated by the Iranian regime, we are both surprised and dismayed at Under Secretary Wendy Sherman’s failure to respond to our letter last month calling for the remembrance and due reparation of the victims of terror in her diplomatic effort with the Iranian regime in the most current round of negotiations. As the negotiations with Iran led by Under Secretary Sherman continue, we call on Congress to ensure that the U.S. government is working to keep the interests of the terror victims’ families on the table.

As a result of lawsuits taken by American victims of terror in U.S. courts, the Iranian regime currently owes billions of dollars from decades of terrorist activity resulting in dozens of victims and severed families. This debt has yet to be recognized or paid by the Iranian government with no sign of an intention to do so.

Our letter called for justice.  We wrote that “Iran must not be allowed under any circumstances to avoid making payment of reparations and due compensations to the families of those whose lives they have destroyed through terrorism…and through the terror organizations it supports: Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah”.

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Israeli leader faces test in US case accusing Bank of China of facilitating militant funding (Washington Post)

JERUSALEM — Over the decades, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cultivated an image as a tough-talking leader in the global struggle against terrorism. That reputation could be put to the test this month in a landmark court case that could force him to choose between supporting victims of Palestinian violence and risking a diplomatic rift with China.

Netanyahu’s government must decide whether to allow a former Israeli security official to testify as a star witness who could tip the scales in the case, filed by families of victims of suicide bombers who accuse the Bank of China of facilitating terrorist funding via accounts in the U.S.

Critics say that after initially encouraging the claims against the bank, Israel is now having second thoughts, fearing it could jeopardize valuable trade ties with China if it allows the former official, who is sworn to secrecy, to testify.

“Israel has to decide whether they are fighting terrorism and continuing the struggle which they initiated … or collapsing to the pressure of China and abandoning the terror victims,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, an Israeli lawyer involved in the case.

Darshan-Leitner is representing 22 families of people who were killed in Palestinian suicide bombings.

The families accuse the government-owned Bank of China, through its U.S. branches, of serving as a key conduit in transfers of money to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Palestinian groups that have killed hundreds of Israelis.

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The State of Israel Stayed Behind: She doesn’t have the mind of an anarchist, she doesn’t fight in the streets (Lady Globes)

She has led tens of lawsuits against terrorist groups and state sponsors of terror. Courtrooms around the world have ruled 1 billion dollars in favor of her and have allowed her to seize finances and assets so to bankrupt terrorists. Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner is leading battles the State of Israel won’t. Now, for the first time, she is fighting the state itself, which asked her to launch a major lawsuit against the Bank of China, but has abandoned her in the NY court. “They sent me to fight, made use of victims of terror, and abandoned them.”

November 2013 – Lady Globes

Last April Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner found herself in the middle of a story that seemed as if it was taken from a movie. The plot: global economic interests, political and diplomatic pressures, and Israel-China relations. On that same spring day, Darshan received a phone call from the American attorneys of the Shurat HaDin organization she heads. These attorneys manage the lawsuit that was brought against the Bank of China, the central bank of China, by Israeli victims of terrorism, where, they allege, accounts used by terror organizations in Gaza were held.

This was an urgent phone call. The feeling was that the ground was being pulled beneath their legs. The Bank of China’s representatives happily announced to the court in New York that the central witness in the case, the former intelligence official Uzi Shaya, who warned the Chinese about these accounts, will not be testifying. Darshan was in shock. At one point she was surprised, on another was mad, and finally she was angry and threatened that she would subpoena not only Shaya but any intelligence officials involved with this case.

“The first phone call was to Shaya, who admitted there was a problem,” she says. “The next phone calls were to officials in the intelligence community. I was very mad, and could not stay calm during these calls. I need to hear from the Chinese that Israel has broken her promises to me? I told them ‘You caused us to reach an insane situation,’ and they told me ‘You think that if you raise your voice it will help?’”

The story begins in 2005. “The Israeli security community discovered that the Bank of China had accounts belonging to a Hamas activist in Gaza. He received funds from the Hamas headquarters in Jordan and Syria, and each time they transferred a round sum of 100 thousand dollars, that would be deposited in the Chinese account in Guangzhou, a very active province when it comes to terrorism, because China does not classify the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations as terrorist organizations. The funds passed from China to the bank in New York, and from there they were immediately withdrawn and transferred to Gaza. We are talking about accounts which had at least 3 million dollars passed on to them during the Intifada years, at a time Gaza was under siege and this money was needed by her like air for breathing so that terror attacks could be perpetrated.

“In 2007 an intelligence organization approached me. The intelligence officials told me the story, described how they met with the managers of the bank and warned them, and how the latter did nothing. Terror funds continued to be transferred to Gaza, and the Chinese claimed that there was no problem with these accounts, and that no Chinese laws were broken. The intelligence officials asked me: ‘Can you sue the bank?’ They promised that they will help as needed – testimonies, documents, evidence. I immediately began working.”

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10 years in, Shurat HaDin fights Iranian terrorism and BDS in international courts (Jerusalem Post)

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, head of Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center, has come a long way in her personal battle against terrorism and against BDS activities since her first appearance, as a law student, before the High Court of Justice nearly 20 years ago.

Recalling her first experience as a legal activist, Leitner said that she and a few other Bar- Ilan students had filed a petition to the High Court to block a man who had been involved in a kidnapping operation from entering Gaza to vote on the Oslo Accords. Chuckling, Leitner said that she got to make the argument before the court because the others said that since she was a woman, the court would “not yell at her” or “make us pay court costs” on a petition that stood little chance of success.

Following five years performing more “typical” private sector legal work – though she still did some pro bono work with terror victims and battered women – Leitner founded Shurat Hadin in 2002.

The organization is most famous for winning hundredmillion- dollar judgments against countries like Iran, Syria and North Korea, by using laws like the US Antiterrorism Act to go after the assets of organizations and states connected with terror attacks that killed or harmed US citizens in Israel. Leitner said that such action, on the part of Shurat Hadin and others, has proven so successful that terror funding has moved out of the US, France and Germany to new countries like Thailand.

Shurat Hadin’s most recent and high-profile case on that front is representing a group of victims and families of victims in a case against the Bank of China. The case – also being pursued in parallel by the Wultz family – concerns terror attacks perpetrated between 2004 and 2007 in Israel, in which, starting in 2003, the Bank of China is implicated in allegedly executing dozens of wire transfers for Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad totaling several million dollars.

Uzi Shaya, a former government agent, is due to respond this month about whether or not he will testify in the case.

Shaya had planned to testify, and even filed an affidavit about a 2005 meeting he had with Bank of China representatives to prove that they were on notice for the terror-related money transfers.

But according to Leitner, the current government pressured Shaya about testifying a couple of months ago, ahead of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s trip to China and amid major business developments between the two countries.

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Shurat HaDin files suit against Australian academic for BDS campaign (JNS)

Israeli law center Shurat HaDin has filed a legal suit in the Australian federal court against the director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University in Australia Jake Lynch for supporting the the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Previously the organization filed a complaint against Lynch at the Australian Human Rights Commission. The new lawsuit states that Lynch’s support of the BDS movement violates Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act and is particularly focused in Lynch’s refusal to sponsor Hebrew University of Jerusalem academic Dan Avnon.

Shurat HaDin is seeking a court order requiring Lynch to apologize and renounce his BDS campaign, stating that his participation in and support of the BDS movement has led to “adverse distinction, exclusion, restriction and adverse preference based on the Jewish race, descent, national and ethnic origin of goods, services, persons and organisations,” reported The Australian.

Lynch dismissed the accusations against him, saying he is certain that “we will prove, in court if necessary, that it does not amount to any form of discrimination or racism.”

JNS news service

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Video: Shurat HaDin sues Sydney academic over boycott support (ABC News Australia)

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Making sure terror doesn’t pay (San Antonio Express-News)

By Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Director of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center

With San Antonio so far away from the Middle East, it seems unlikely that it could have an impact on foreign policy toward this troubled region. However, Americans need no reminding of the effects that terrorism, backed by the totalitarian regimes of the Middle East, can have on the lives of American citizens.

Iran, in particular, has become a leading backer of terror. It has industrialized and honed methods of inciting hatred, indoctrinating extremism and training terrorists — all the while supplying the funds and means to carry out attacks against Western targets.

The Iranians use their official Ministry of Intelligence and Security to gather knowledge for attacks, and the official Iranian Revolutionary Guard trains and supplies arms to terrorists. Moreover, they use international financial institutions to transfer funds to support terrorist activities.

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N.Y. Trial of Lebanese Bank Held to Satisfy Due Process (NY Law Journal)

A Lebanese bank that allegedly used an account in New York City to transfer millions to the financing arm of Hizballah can be sued in New York for deaths and injuries caused by that organization’s rocket attacks in Israel in 2006, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said due process is not violated by allowing a lawsuit to proceed against the Lebanese Canadian Bank, whose sole contact with the Southern District was a correspondent bank account with American Express.

The court’s decision in Licci v. Lebanese Canadian Bank, 10-1306-cv, reinstates a cause of action against the bank brought by Israeli, American and Canadian citizens who were injured, or whose family members were killed or injured, during a wave of attacks by Hizballah in Israel in July and August 2006.

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