Israel's Legitimacy as Jewish State Under Legal Assault in US Courts

ACLJ joins legal defense

Jay Sekulow ACLJ, Chief Counsel

BY JAY SEKULOW

We have just taken on the most significant U.S. federal court case in defense of Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state.

Palestinian activists opposed to the existence of the State of Israel have filed a billion-dollar lawsuit in federal district court in Washington, DC, against numerous organizations that support Israel – including citizen, business, and nonprofit groups – as well as a laundry list of major U.S. companies and individuals who dare to do business in or support Israel.

The complaint alleges that these individuals, groups, businesses, and friends of Israel have committed:

  1. CIVIL CONSPIRACY
  2. WAR CRIMES, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, AND GENOCIDE
  3. AIDING AND ABETTING THE COMMISSION OF WAR CRIMES
  4. AGGRAVATED AND ONGOING TRESPASS

It’s an absurd and outrageous attempt to use the federal courts to accomplish what Palestinian radicals have been unable to accomplish before – the delegitimization of the State of Israel on a global scale.

We are directly defending one of the numerous Israeli defendants: the Gush Etzion Foundation.  I have just entered my appearance in the case, Al-Tamimi v. Adelson, in federal district court in Washington, DC.

The Foundation is a charity dedicated to defending the history and people of Gush Etzion – the Etzion Bloc – a group of Israeli cities, towns and villages in the Judean Mountains near Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Prominent Jerusalem-based lawyer Marc Zell, who serves as lead counsel – and who himself is a resident of the town of Tekoa in Gush Etzion – brought ACLJ into the case to serve as defense co-counsel. This is an area of great historical and strategic significance from Biblical times to serving as a significant defense of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.

As Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion eulogized the defenders of Gush Etzion in 1948, “I can think of no battle in the annals of the Israel Defense Forces which was more magnificent, more tragic or more heroic than the struggle for Gush Etzion … If there exists a Jewish Jerusalem, our foremost thanks go to the defenders of Gush Etzion.”

The Arab Legion massacred the Jews of Gush Etzion in 1948, but after the miraculous Six Day War of 1967, when Judea and Samaria were liberated, the Jews returned and rebuilt. From 450 residents in four villages that were destroyed in 1948, Gush Etzion is now home to 90,000 Israelis in 22 flourishing towns and villages.

Make no mistake: what this case is about is another attempt by Israel’s enemies to attack the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel and undermine the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state. Having failed at warfare every time they confront Israel militarily, Israel’s enemies are now using our courts to fight her with lawfare.

Their purpose is clear.  Their tactics are viciously aggressive – a scorched earth legal attack.  We will take the fight to them: our defense will be aggressive, direct, and unwavering.

By defending our client against these attacks, we are defending Israel, the Israeli people and the right of Jews to live in the very heart of the Jewish homeland. Marc Zell’s town of Tekoa itself is built where Biblical Tekoa was located – the birthplace of the prophet Amos and a town that is mentioned over and over throughout the Bible. Today Israel’s enemies want to use the courts to deny the right of Israel to exist by denying Jewish history.

This is our biggest litigation effort in defense of Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state.  It is the beginning of what may be a years-long legal battle.

The 200-page complaint’s wild accusations, relying on sources such as “The Electronic Intifada” (Intifada referencing the violent Palestinian terrorist uprisings against Israel), may on their face sound absurd, but they will require a complete and thorough response in federal court.  I am leading a senior litigation team at the ACLJ, including our office in Jerusalem, in this case.

I’ve defended Israel’s legitimacy as a nation and its right to defend itself before the Office of the Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.  I spoke on behalf of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Now, we’re ready to do so again in federal district court in Washington, DC.

We will fight vigorously to stop these blatant attempts to undermine Jewish rights in the Land of Israel and the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state. We will keep you updated as this crucially important case continues.


Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), one of the most prestigious law firms in the country. He is an accomplished Supreme Court advocate, renowned expert on religious liberty, a number 1 New York Times-bestselling author, and a respected broadcaster. Jay Sekulow is an attorney with a passion for protecting religious liberty – freedom – democracy. For nearly a quarter of a century, he’s been on the front lines – working to protect religious and constitutional freedoms in the courts, in Congress, and in the public arena. At the Supreme Court of the United States, Jay Sekulow has argued 12 cases – including several landmark cases which have become part of the legal landscape in the area of religious liberty litigation


Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.