The following investigation into the Israeli lawfare outfit, Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Centre (ILC) by the UK organisation, Spinwatch (spinwatch.org), is a must-read. You may remember Shurat HaDin's characterisation in the Murdoch press here as a 'civil rights' organisation. As Spinwatch's research shows there's a little more to it than that. Given its length, I'm posting it in two parts:
BDS campaigner targeted by law firm with links to Israeli intelligence
by Tom Griffin & David Miller (5/10/13)
"A law firm targeting the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement has close links to Israeli intelligence, US government cables leaked by Wikileaks show:
"Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Centre (ILC) made a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission last month against Jake Lynch, the director of the Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies at Sydney University, over Lynch's support for BDS. The ILC, set up in 2003, claims to be 'a fully independent non-profit organization, unaffiliated with any political party or government body.' However, the organisation's director, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, has privately admitted to taking direction from the Israeli Government over which causes to pursue and relying on Israeli intelligence contacts for witnesses and evidence.
"Darshan-Leitner made the comments in 2007 to diplomats from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, who reported the conversation in a cable leaked by Wikileaks four years later. It states:
Leitner said that in many of her cases she receives evidence from GOI [Government of Israel] officials, and added that in its early years ILC took direction from the GOI on which cases to pursue. 'The National Security Council (NSC) legal office saw the use of civil courts as a way to do things that they are not authorized to do,' claimed Leitner. Among her contacts, Leitner listed Udi Levy at the NSC and Uzi Beshaya at the Mossad, both key Embassy contacts on anti-terrorist finance cooperation. Leitner offered a case against Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as [an] example of ILC's close cooperation with the GOI. After obtaining a judgement against PIJ for NIS 100 million (USD 25 million), ILC requested a lien for that amount against the Abu Akker Trading Company as a third party defendant. At the time, Abu Akker was one of the largest Palestinian importing companies, and Leitner said the Mossad provided her with the intelligence (similar to information provided to USG officials in a classified briefing) to prove that the company was funneling money to PIJ. According to Leitner, the ILC now decides its cases independently, but continues to receive evidence and witnesses from Israeli intelligence.
"The US cable goes on to comment that:
While the ILC's mission dovetails with GOI objectives of putting financial pressure on Israel's adversaries, the often uncompromising approach of ILC's attorney's seems to overreach official GOI policy goals. ILC's relentless litigation has proven to be an obstacle to the GOI's releasing of all customs revenues previously withheld from the PA [Palestinian Authority].
"ILC has engaged in a wide variety of other actions in the US, Australia, Israel itself and in Egypt as well as targeting Iran, Syria, North Korea and the Palestinian Authority. Amongst its targets have been financial situations including UBS, American Express Bank and the Lebanese-Canadian Bank, President Jimmy Carter, World Vision Australia (a Christian aid agency) and, most notably, the largely successful attempt to stop the second Free Gaza Flotilla. This involved a blizzard of legal threats against insurance companies, port authorities and satellite firms. They were informed they would open themselves to criminal liability for 'aiding and abetting' a 'terrorist' organisation or would become 'legally liable' for any future attacks by Hamas.
The Bank of China Affair
"Further details of the ILC's links with Israeli intelligence have emerged amid fallout from a case brought by the firm against the Bank of China. According to accounts in the Israeli press, officials from the NSC approached Darshan-Leitner, after identifying the bank as a conduit for Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Darshan-Leitner found a suitable plaintiff to bring the case in the family of Daniel Wultz, a 16-year-old American citizen killed in a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv in 2006. Yediot Ahronot reported: 'In her discussions with the intelligence agents, Darshan-Leitner insisted that she receives massive assistance from the government. She demanded convicting information on the bank's activities, affidavits from authorized people and a commitment to provide for the trial an authorized witness who will say that the Chinese knew about the nature of the accounts and refused to close them. The consent was given - orally. In 2009, a lawsuit was filed to the NY Federal Court.'
"This arrangement began to collapse in the face of Chinese Government pressure ahead of a visit to Beijing by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year. The Wultz family has accused the Israeli Government of sabotaging the case by failing to provide the documents it promised at the outset. The standoff is particularly embarrassing because Daniel Wultz's mother, Sheryl Cantor Wultz, is a cousin of Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader in the US Congress.
"Among the key documents at the centre of the case is an affidavit by Uzi Shaya, who may be the same person as 'Uzi Beshaya', the Israeli security official named in the 2007 cable as a contact of both Shurat HaDin and the US Embassy. Another US cable describes Shaya as an officer of Israel's Shin Bet [security] service, working in the Counter Terror Finance Bureau of the Israeli NSC alongside Udi Levi, Darshan-Leitner's other intelligence contact."
To be continued...