If You Can't Kill the Terrorists, Sue Them


The Tower has a fascinating profile of Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the founder of Shurat HaDin, an Israeli legal non-profit that helps victims of terror sue the terrorists, organizations, and governments responsible for deadly attacks and incitement. Shurat HaDin also fights against attempts by the Israeli legal and political left (often funded by liberal American Jews) to interpret international law in ways that could harm Israeli security.

Interestingly, writes Tower’s David Hazony, Darshan-Leitner was inspired by the legal activism of the American civil rights movement:

Avi took Nitsana to visit the United States, where he introduced her to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a famous civil rights group organization that used lawsuits to fight against neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan throughout the 1980s. That trip that would transform her understanding of what lawyers can do in the world, and offer an intriguing possibility for fighting terror in a totally new way.

“Southern Poverty wasn’t just about winning cases,” she tells me in their Ramat Gan office. “It was about using legal action to change reality on the ground. The court rulings didn’t just punish the white supremacists; it drove them out of business,” Nitsana explains, now self-consciously professorial. “It turns out that terrorism and KKK-style racism were actually quite similar. They both operate outside the law, creating injustice in ways that ordinary law enforcement has difficulty addressing. But they also both have to organize, raise money, have offices, a place to meet, and so on. What we learned from Southern Poverty was that you can use lawsuits–or even just the threat of lawsuits–to cripple their activities where law enforcement is either unwilling or unable to do the job. They can make their lives an endless headache, and they stop doing the bad things.”

Southern Poverty drove the KKK bananas, forcing them to repeatedly shut down their branches, making fundraising a nightmare, and eventually driving organized racism in America entirely underground.

Shurat HaDin is very active, according to Darshan-Leitner, in trying to stop future Boston Marathon-style attacks, writing to social media companies and warning them against hosting channels and accounts that belong to terror organization such as Hezbollah. An article worth reading in full.


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