Stanley and Joyce Boim, whose teenage son was killed in a 1996 terrorist attack in Jerusalem, are trying to force the American Muslims for Palestine group to pay a $156 million judgment obtained over the attack, attributed to Hamas.
An American couple whose teenage son was killed in a 1996 terrorist attack in Jerusalem have filed a lawsuit to force a U.S.-based pro-Palestinian group to pay a $156 million judgment they obtained over the attack, attributed to Hamas.
Stanley and Joyce Boim filed their lawsuit on Friday against the American Muslims for Palestine group and its affiliated Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation, which they say are the "alter egos" of now-defunct groups that a jury found liable in 2004 for the death of their 17-year-old son David.
"It's a frivolous lawsuit," AMP Chairman Hatem Bazian said in an interview. "They are using the Islamophobic environment we are in to try to tarnish and defame an organization that is in good standing, and has been working diligently to provide a perspective on the Palestinian cause to the American public."
The lawsuit is one of several in the United States seeking to hold groups, and sometimes the Palestinian Authority, liable for attacks attributed to the Gaza-based terrorist group.
In their complaint filed in Chicago federal court, the Boims said they have collected only a "small fraction" of the judgment, and the defendants should be held civilly liable for the rest under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the judgment in 2008.
"It was never their intention to get rich" from the lawsuit, which was designed to end funding of terrorism from the United States, the Boims' lawyer Stephen Landes, said. "The Anti-Terrorism Act can't be set aside simply by rebranding yourself."
AMP, founded in 2006, claims its mission is to educate Americans about "Palestine and its heritage."
Bazian said the group has "no relationship whatsoever with any group or organization outside the United States."
In the 2008 decision, Circuit Judge Richard Posner wrote that Hamas has "engaged not only in terrorism" but also in providing health, education and other services. He said anyone who knowingly contributes to the "nonviolent wing" of a known terrorist group "is knowingly contributing to the organization's terrorist activities. And that is the only knowledge that can reasonably be required as a premise for liability."