US Groups Accused of Aiding Hamas Face Lawsuit

05/15/24 Reposted from

American Muslims for Palestine and National Students for Justice in Palestine alleged to have provided ‘material support’ to a designated terrorist organization.

A lawsuit filed in federal court alleges that two organizations — American Muslims for Palestine and National Students for Justice in Palestine — act as propaganda arms for Hamas and have coordinated anti-Israel protests on American university campuses.

“It is vitally important to expose who and what is behind the coordinated campaign that has led to and continues to foment and fund the current campus violence. That is a primary goal of this lawsuit,” Atlanta-based attorney David Schoen told the AJT.

The 49-page suit was filed May 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia by the Schoen Law Firm; the National Jewish Advocacy Center, whose director, Mark Goldfeder, is a senior lecturer in the Emory University Law School and legal counsel for Hillels of Georgia; Greenberg Traurig, LLP, and the Holtzman Vogel law firm.

The suit seeks monetary damages on behalf of nine Americans and Israelis, stemming from the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks on kibbutzim, towns, and a music festival in a section of southern Israel, in which 1,200 people were killed and 240 taken hostage. The plaintiffs include six survivors of the attacks, the brother of a man murdered at the music festival, and two people displaced from their homes.

A statement issued by the plaintiffs said: «It is time that Hamas and all of its agents, like AMP and NSJP, be held responsible for their horrific actions. We want to go on record to expose these groups for the terrorists they are and make certain that they are stopped from operating in the United States and other countries they infiltrate.”

Hamas was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department in October 1997.

American Muslims for Palestine’s website calls the group “a national education and grassroots-based organization, dedicated to educating the American public about Palestine and its rich cultural, historical and religious heritage.” Also known as the AJP Educational Foundation, Inc., it received 501(c)(3) non-profit status under the federal tax code in March 2010.

The lawsuit asserts that NSJP was founded by American Muslims for Palestine “to control of hundreds of Students for Justice in Palestine chapters across the country” and “uses propaganda to intimidate, convince, and recruit uninformed, misguided, and impressionable college students to serve as foot soldiers for Hamas on campus and beyond.”

In Georgia, anti-Israel protests of varying sizes have taken place at Emory University, Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, Kennesaw State University, and the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Mark Goldfeder, director of National Jewish Advocacy Center and senior lecturer in the Emory University Law School, also serves as legal counsel for Hillels of Georgia // File photo

AMP and NSJP are accused of providing “material support” for Hamas, thus violating portions of the federal Anti-Terrorism Act. The U.S. code defines “material support” as: “any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safe houses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (one or more individuals who may be or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials.”

The suit alleges that on Oct. 8, the day after the terror attacks, the groups distributed a manifesto that confirms “AMP and NSJP are not merely organizing to assist Hamas’ ongoing terror campaign abroad — they are intentionally extending their aid to fomenting chaos, violence, and terror in the United States.”

Schoen said: “The complaint alleges that the defendants answered Hamas’s call to action immediately following the Oct. 7 atrocities, including its call for armed struggle, which is included in the ‘Toolkit’ distributed to university campuses around the country.”

According to the lawsuit, an entry in that “toolkit” declared: “Resistance comes in all forms — armed struggle, general strikes, and popular demonstrations. All of it is legitimate, and all of it is necessary.”

No court date has been set for hearings on the suit.

“We are not in any way, shape, or form challenging the right to speak or the right to advocate through the hate-filled, antisemitic, and anti-American message directed by the defendants and, in fact, that is such an important principle that we make that clear in the complaint,” Schoen said. “But when conduct crosses the line, as alleged in the complaint, and includes violence and threats of violence and murder, that’s not protected speech and the universities have an obligation to protect student safety.”

Goldfeder told the AJT: “This is important because when someone tells you they are trying to provide material support to terrorists, it behooves everyone to listen. And this is not a Jewish problem. As we have been saying all along, Jews are the canary in the coal mine of intolerance. Already the masks are off and they are chanting ‘Death to America.’ We are confident that, God willing, we will prove everything we need to prove in court.”

Hatem Bazian, chairman of American Muslims for Palestine, told the Washington Post: “We will defend ourselves. The lawsuit is an Islamophobic text reeking in anti-Palestinian racism and resorts to defamation to deflect from the live-streamed genocide in Gaza.”

Christina Jump, an attorney for AMP, told the Washington Post: “AMP will gladly demonstrate in any jurisdiction that it operates fully within the laws of the United States.”