A Washington DC court on Thursday threw out a billion-dollar lawsuit by an anti-Israel Arab activist which targeted donors to the Jewish state, claiming they had funded “war crimes” and engaged in civil conspiracy.
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the lawsuit, brought by 50-year-old veteran anti-Israel activist and BDS advocate Bassem al-Tamimi and some 35 other Arab Americans against 50 prominent donors and supporters of Israel, including billionaire casino magnate and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson.
Adelson, an ally of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who backed President Donald Trump in last year’s presidential election, owns the Israel Hayom freebie newspaper in Israel.
The suit also targeted Democratic donor Haim Saban and John Hagee, a pro-Israel evangelical leader. The plaintiffs claimed that they had suffered directly as a result of the defendants support for Israel, and demanded compensation, including punitive damages for the defendant’s donations to the Jewish state.
But in a 23-page ruling, Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected the suit, writing that the court had no jurisdiction to judge “the lawfulness of the development of Israeli settlements in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem stretching over thirty years into the past.”
“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. Instead, these issues must be decided by the political branches.”
Following the decision, Shurat HaDin, an anti-BDS legal organization which combats Arab incitement and Palestinian Authority support for terrorism, praised the court’s decision.
"We whole-heartedly support the court's decision to dismiss this frivolous lawsuit,” said Shurat HaDin president Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. “Cases such as al-Tamimi vs. Adelson are brought solely to furnish a foundation of legal legitimacy for the BDS movement, and undermine the legitimacy of Israel. The plaintiffs sought to create a stigma and intimidate those who donate to Israeli charities and support the Jewish State. We are grateful that the court understood the objective and agenda of these radicals, as well as the fabrication in their claims. We hope that the Judge will see clear to impose the large costs of these proceedings on the plaintiffs to deter future frivolous suits."