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Orthodox Jewish Chamber Joins Jewish Organizations to File Amicus Brief in US Supreme Court to Stop Tax Deductions for 501c3 Groups Funding Terror Orgs

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The National Jewish Advocacy Center, StandWithUs, American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, The Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, and Coalition for Jewish Values have filed a motion for leave to file an amicus brief in the case of Keren Kayemeth Leisrael, et al. v. Education for a Just Peace in the Middle East, currently before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The amicus brief seeks to support the petitioners' argument that the enforcement of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) should align with the clear intent of the statute, especially when dealing with entities that may be providing support to terrorist organizations.
 
The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) was enacted by Congress in order to provide civil litigants with the ability to seek relief against any person or entity that provided material support to foreign organizations or individuals engaged in terrorist activities against the United States. This action was necessitated by recurrent lower court rulings that failed to recognize claims under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) based on theories of "secondary" liability. JASTA clarified the broad scope and reach of the ATA as a vehicle for civil restitution against those who facilitate acts of terror against United States citizens abroad.
Congress sought to ensure that the ATA could be used as a tool for seeking civil restitution against those who facilitate acts of terror against United States citizens abroad.
 
The argument made by the amici centers around the need for broad enforcement of (JASTA) to provide civil litigants with the broadest possible basis to seek relief against individuals or entities that provided material support to foreign organizations or persons engaging in terrorist activities against the United States. The amici contend that early court rulings set a high threshold for demonstrating a defendant's knowledge of aiding in terrorist activity, rendering many non-actionable. This undermined the purpose of JASTA and allowed terror-supporting entities to evade accountability. However, subsequent court decisions have revisited and reversed these earlier rulings, recognizing the need to impose liability at any point in the causal chain of terrorism.
 
Furthermore, the amici discuss a specific case before the Court of Appeals, where the approach to enforcing JASTA was deemed incompatible with the statute itself. The court's treatment of a U.S.-based non-profit organization's legitimate activities as probative with respect to its aiding and abetting of terrorist activity was seen as taking into account extraneous information to complicate an otherwise straightforward assessment. The amicus brief asserts that uncovering what is hidden from plain sight is the purpose of discovery and that there is already ample evidence of a robust relationship between the non-profit organization and Hamas.
 
The amici argue that the expansion of liability and the need for further discovery to establish these connections is crucial for holding those who facilitate acts of terror accountable. By seeking relief against entities that knowingly support terrorist activities, JASTA aims to provide justice to victims of terrorism and their families. The amici assert that the current enforcement of JASTA does not align with the clear intent of the statute and could potentially hinder the ability to hold terror-supporting entities accountable.
 
The amicus brief filed by the National Jewish Advocacy Center, StandWithUs, American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for Jewish Values, seeks to support the petitioners' argument in Keren Kayemeth Leisrael, et al. v. Education for a Just Peace in the Middle East, by urging the court to enforce JASTA in alignment with the clear intent of the statute. This includes broadening liability and allowing for further discovery to establish connections between entities and terrorist organizations. The amici argue that the purpose of JASTA is to hold those who facilitate acts of terror accountable, and the current enforcement of the statute does not align with this goal.