Over two decades after their son was killed in a terrorist attack in Israel, a U.S. couple is returning to court to fight against Palestinians organizations that they claim fund terror.
On May 13, 1996, at the age of 17, David Boim was shot and killed by two Hamas gunmen while waiting for a bus to Jerusalem. Four years less a day later, on May 12, 2000 – the day before the statute of limitations expired – his parents Stanley and Joyce Boim filed a lawsuit against several organizations in the United States that provided material support to Hamas.
The main defendant was the Holy Land Foundation, the largest Muslim charity in the U.S at the time, who claimed that they were providing financial support to widows and orphans, but not revealing that those were widows and orphans of martyrs. Other defendants included groups like The Islamic Association for Palestine and The American Muslim Society.
In 2004, the Boims won a $52 million judgment, which was trebled under the 1992 Anti-Terrorism Act to $156 million. However, after paying only a small fraction of the judgment, the organizations claimed that they had no funds to further pay the judgment and had ceased operations.
Last week, 17 years after the first suit was filed, attorneys Nathan Lewin, Alyza Lewin and Stephen Landes filed a new lawsuit against American Muslims for Palestine and Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation, groups they allege are alter egos and successors of HLF, AMS, and IAP, that were originally found to be liable to the Boims under the Anti-Terrorism Act. According to the complaint, the same people listed in the first lawsuit are now working at AMP and AJP, which is just down the street, have the same donors and share the same philosophy.
In an interview with Jewish Insider, the attorneys representing the Boims asserted that the date picked to file the new lawsuit was symbolic – exactly seventeen years after they filed the first lawsuit and in memory of David who was seventeen years old when he was killed.
“The Boims did not do this to make money,” Landes told Jewish Insider. “Mrs. Boim testified in court during the trial that if she could prevent another penny going to these organizations so the tragedy won’t be inflicted on others, then she would have accomplished a great deal.”
“That’s the idea – that these defendants now are obligated to pay the original judgment because we believe it’s the same defendants from the original case who are now continuing to operate under just a new name,” Alyza Lewin explained. “There’s a legal principle that you cannot evade your legal liabilities just by re-opening under a new name. You’re essentially the alter ego of the original organization and that liability follows you.”
Landes added that the family’s objective is to make sure that the Anti-Terrorism Act is “strengthened so that victims of terror have their rights upheld and are not trampled on by this idea that you can just rebrand yourself to avoid a judgment.”