Middle East studies in the News
Lawsuit Targets American Muslims for Palestine [incl. Hatem Bazian]
by Steven Emerson
A national anti-Israel group and several of its activists are "alter egos and/or successors" of a Hamas-support network that was found liable for an American teen's death in a 1996 terrorist attack, litigation filed in Chicago federal court Friday claims.
After Stanley and Joyce Boim won $156 million in damages, defendants including the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) and the American Muslim Society (AMS) shut down and claimed to be unable to pay. It was a ruse, the Boims' attorneys claim, as many of the same people opened up American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) at a nearby address.
A subsequent criminal prosecution found that other defendants in the original lawsuit, like the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) and the United Association for Studies and Research, were part of a Muslim Brotherhood-created Hamas-support network in the United States called the Palestine Committee.
The IAP used to hold annual conventions. The year after it shut down, AMP held its first national meeting, offering the same "audience, content, management, speakers, and ... message" as the IAP gatherings, the complaint said.
Today, AMP and its financial arm, Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation, continue the work done by the defunct groups in the original Boim suit, the complaint said. AMP donors and officers "are substantially identical to the management and donors of their alter egos and predecessors, HLF, IAP and AMS."
In 2015, the Investigative Project on Terrorism first identified the connections between the AMP and Palestine Committee groups. Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Vice President Jonathan Schanzer built on those connections in congressional testimony last year.
Rafeeq Jaber, a defendant in the new action, handles AJP's taxes, the complaint says. He previously served as president of both the IAP and AMS. AMP President Abdelbasset Hamayel was IAP's secretary general. AMP board member Osama Abu Irshaid edited the IAP newsletter, Al-Zaytounah. The publication ran Hamas communiques and solicited donations for the Holy Land Foundation.
Although the Boim complaint makes no allegations about religion, AMP Chairman Hatem Bazian dismissed it and the allegations it makes as "frivolous and highly Islamophobic."
The original Boim lawsuit focused on 17-year-old David Boim's 1996 murder in a Hamas shooting attack on a bus stop in Israel. His parents collected only a small portion of the damages awarded in that suit. The defendants "deliberately created and [hid] behind new legal entities, to obscure their identity and avoid paying the judgment," a memorandum filed along with the new complaint said.
It was filed on the 17th anniversary of David Boim's murder.
"These defendants cannot escape their legal liability and accountability for murder by merely changing the names of their organizations. We are filing this lawsuit to secure justice for David's memory precisely 17 years after the Boims' original lawsuit was filed against those who murdered their 17-year-old son," attorney Alyza Lewin said in a statement.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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