A Guardian article by Chris McGreal reports on a lawsuit brought by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) against the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), alleging the pro-Palestinian group with “conspiring to give financial and other means of assistance to terror organizations active in the Gaza Strip.”
The lawsuit, the Guardian explains in the article (“Zionist group uses US anti-terrorism laws to sue Palestinian activists”, Jan. 20), “was brought under the Anti-Terrorism Act, which permits victims of attacks by groups designated as foreign terrorist organisations by the US government to sue for damages in US courts”.
McGreal benignly describes USCPR as “a coalition of groups seeking to end the decades-long occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank”. However, as NGO Monitor has detailed, the group peddles extreme, demonising rhetoric about Israel, including accusations of “ethnic cleansing,” “genocide,” and “colonialism,” and supports a Palestinian “right of return.”
McGreal later writes that “the Israeli government has banned support for the BDS movement, saying that it wants Israel to cease to exist as a Jewish state and is therefore antisemitic.” This is not accurate. The law in question narrowly applies to non-Israelis, allowing the interior ministry to bar foreign BDS activists from entering the country.
McGreal then uncritically quotes Diala Shamas, a lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights representing the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, saying that “the goal here is to harass the US Campaign [for Palestinian Rights]…smearing human rights advocates with accusations of terrorism”.
We reached out to Arsen Ostrovsky, attorney and CEO of The International Legal Forum, which played a leading role in helping initiate the JNF suit, who told us the following:
“This [lawsuit] aims to expose the shocking and systematic manner in which this organization, masquerading under cover of a human rights charitable group, has instead been funneling money to Palestinian terror groups, for the purposes of carrying out acts of terror, and damage to property, as well as supporting the BDS movement, which is in direct contravention of U.S. anti-terror legislation and other federal laws. It is time, once and for all, to rip the facade off and expose the true nature of these terror-supporting groups.”
McGreal then writes that “the ministry of strategic affairs in Jerusalem is leading the government’s push against the BDS movement, including through funding groups such as the International Legal Forum”.
First, the ministry of strategic affairs ceased to function in July of 2021. It was re-established this month, but its focus has changed, and it will not deal with BDS. Additionally, contrary to McGreal’s claim, a spokesperson for the ILF told us that they do not receive any government funding.
We’ve complained to Guardian editors, asking that they correct the errors about BDS, the strategic affairs ministry and the ILF.