Western Union and Boeing had better look out. The American giants are in the cross-hairs of an Israeli lawyer with a track record of humbling huge corporations and winning multi-million-dollar settlements for her clients.
Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has spent the past decade filing lawsuits for the victims of terror attacks against the governments, banks and corporations that enabled or financed the violence. As a result of her efforts, more than $200 million has been collected for terror victims and their families (including out of court settlements), and some $600 million in assets has been frozen.
Darshan-Leitner has also used the courts to fight against what she considers to be unfair lawsuits against Israeli military commanders. In one notable case, she stopped a Spanish lawsuit against Israel’s Chief of Staff Dan Halutz over a bombing raid in Gaza by filing a similar suit against Javier Solana, a top Spanish politician who had overseen NATO’s bombing of Kosovo. Spain changed the law.
The Bar-Ilan University-educated mother of six will speak about her work in a live interview in Jerusalem on Sunday, June 4 in our next Times of Israel Presents event, produced in association with Nefesh B’Nefesh. (Book tickets HERE).
Last year, she won an unprecedented $655 million verdict against the Palestinian Authority and PLO on behalf of 11 American families whose loved ones had been killed or injured in attacks in Israel. That decision was overturned by the US Court of Appeal, but Darshan-Leitner says she is not deterred.
Darshan-Leitner and Shurat Hadin, the non-profit law center she heads, are self-funding and do not receive backing from any government, including that of Israel. Sometimes she can be more effective even than the Israeli army: In 2011, she prevented a Gaza-bound activists’ flotilla from leaving Greece after challenging the seaworthiness of the vessels in a local court.
Now she has discovered that Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah is using Western Union to channel funds, and Iran is planning to use Boeing aircraft to deliver missiles to Syria. She plans to sue them both.
“Hezbollah is launching a fundraising campaign and using Western Union to accept the donations, so one of the moves that we are planning is to go after Western Union,” says Darshan-Leitner. “In addition, we learned that Boeing not only signed a horrible deal with Iran providing them with 80 aircraft with a special waiver for the sanctions, Iran actually is using these aircraft to deliver missiles into Syria and let Hezbollah drive them to South Lebanon to shoot them over Israel.
“We are suing Boeing now to stop the deal, and we are launching a campaign to put pressure on the administration not to let Boeing continue,” she says.
Darshan-Leitner is also suing Facebook, Twitter and other social media giants for their alleged role in “facilitating” terror activity.
“Facebook, Twitter and Google provide material support in the form of social media network services to Hamas, to ISIS. This is unacceptable. It’s also a violation of American law. So we’ve filed lawsuits against them as well,” she says.
Are the courts the right battleground to fight terrorism? Does her work encourage Israel’s enemies to resort to their own “lawfare” against Israeli targets? We’ll be asking those questions and more when we interview Darshan-Leitner on June 4.
Join us for what promises to be a fascinating conversation and the chance to meet one of Israel’s most dynamic lawyers.
In conversation with Matthew Kalman
8 pm, at Beit Shmuel’s Hirsch Theater
6 Eliyahu Shama Street, Jerusalem
60 NIS (Advance tickets 50 NIS HERE)
In association with Nefesh B’Nefesh
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