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February 20, 2014 9:16 am

Following Scarlett Johansson Furor, Oxfam Threatened With Lawsuit for Providing Aid to Branches of Terror Group

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Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Tel Aviv-based Shurat HaDin Law Center. Photo: Mike Cohen.

Global charity Oxfam has been threatened with criminal and civil lawsuits for funding branches of the internationally designed terror organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center said in a statement on Thursday.

The move comes just weeks after actress Scarlett Johansson ended ties with the charity over a difference of opinion regarding her role as ambassador for the Israeli company SodaStream.

Shurat HaDin, which “represents victims of Palestinian and Islamic terrorism in courtrooms around the world,” demanded Oxfam sever its ties with the Union of Health Workers Committees (UHWC) and the Union of Agricultural Worker’s Committee (UAWC). It said the two agencies of the terror organization “were created by the PFLP” and “operate under the direct patronage and in close cooperation with the PFLP.”

“The PFLP is one of the most violent and dangerous of the Palestinian terrorist organizations having carried out decades of murderous operations against civilian targets,” Shurat HaDin said in a letter sent to Oxfam’s U.K., Dutch, American and Australian branches.

PFLP’s attacks include “airplane hijackings, the massacre at Ben Gurion Airport in 1972, intifada suicide bombings, the assassination of an Israeli minister and the murder of a Jewish family, including three infant children in the Itamar community in March 2011.”

“The PFLP is responsible for the criminal deaths of Israeli, American and European victims around the world. Several of its leaders are currently serving life sentences in Israeli prisons for their involvement in heinous terrorist attacks,” Shurat HaDin added.

Citing the Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project United States Supreme Court’s ruling — as well as EU, Dutch, U.K., Israeli, Australian, and United States laws — the group said lending any assistance or support to designated terrorist groups, including agricultural aid, is criminal. Their help renders Oxfam and its officers “criminally and/or civilly liable.”

“This includes liability for past, present and future terrorist attacks carried out by the PFLP,” the group said.

“We request that you immediately provide us written confirmation that Oxfam has discontinued the provision of aid and material support to the UHWC and the UAWC. Absent such confirmation, we will seek all available relief and remedies against Oxfam and its officers in all relevant jurisdictions,” Shurat HaDin warned.

Shurat HaDin’s director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who was described in a recent profile as “the woman who makes the jihadis squirm,” said, “While Oxfam accuses Israel of war crimes, they themselves have partnered and financially supported a designated Palestinian terrorist organization.”

“Any money given to a terrorist organization, including its instrumentalities, advances its ability to carry out murderous attacks,” she added. “Oxfam claims to care about human rights in Gaza but doesn’t seem to care as much about the victims of the PFLP terrorist, including the lives of the Fogel family children who were massacred in their sleep.”

Oxfam garnered global attention over the incident with actress Johansson when it criticized her decision to help promote carbonated drinks manufacturer SodaStream because of the company’s West Bank factory. The star explained her decision to cut ties with the charity by citing “a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”

Asked if the lawsuit threat was prompted by the incident with Johansson, Darshan-Leitner told The Algemeiner that while “the SJ incident certainly put Oxfam in the news,” her organization is “always trying to track the funds going to terror groups and their front charities and instrumentalities.”

Darshan-Leitner didn’t say how much Oxfam could potentially be sued for, but her center has won hundreds of millions of dollars in judgments.

The specific terror victims she represents include those “from a suicide bombing at Karnei Shomron pizza place, where two American girls got killed and many other injured. It was carried out by the PFLP,” she said.

“But these will not be the ones to sue due to statue of limitation,” she added. “Other potential victims who can sue are the Fogel family victims (but they are not represented by us yet).”

Darshan-Leitner said that she has not yet received a reply from Oxfam. Matt Grainger, head of media at Oxfam International in London, did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.

In an interview with The Algemeiner last month, Anne Herzberg of watchdog NGO Monitor criticized Oxfam for aligning itself with the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. “The fact that Oxfam would align themselves with that movement is highly disturbing and shocking,” she said at the time.

NGO Monitor says on its website, “Oxfam consistently paints a highly misleading picture of the Arab-Israeli conflict, departing from its humanitarian mission focused on poverty.” It also accuses the charity of demonizing Israel.

In 2003, Oxfam-Belgium produced a poster of an “Israeli orange” dripping with blood to promote anti-Israel boycotts. The caption read “Israeli fruits have a bitter taste… reject the occupation of Palestine, don’t buy Israeli fruits and vegetables.” Following protests over what NGO Monitor called “antisemitic ‘blood libel’ overtones,” Oxfam withdrew the campaign.

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