Federal judge dismisses baseless case against American Muslims for Palestine
October 22, 2020 (Washington, DC) - A federal court in Chicago handed a victory to American Muslims for Palestine on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, ruling in its favor. Since May 2017, the plaintiffs of the case had been trying to hold AMP responsible for a judgment in another lawsuit for actions that occurred before AMP even existed.
Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman granted AMP’s request to dismiss a $156 million civil lawsuit against it. This was an amended complaint to the case originally filed in 2017. In August of 2017, Judge Coleman had also dismissed the charges against AMP and two of its leaders. Stanley and Sharon Boim, both US citizens living in Israel whose son was killed near Jerusalem in 1996, brought the lawsuit in May 2017. The Boims were seeking to recover the multi-million judgment resulting from their original complaint, filed in 2000, against Palestinian rights and Muslim organizations. The plaintiffs pointed to AMP’s mission to support their claim the national organization was an ‘alter ego’ of those they sued and put out of operation years ago.
The judge disagreed. “(T)he Boims do not present evidence that AMP and AJP and the defunct Boim defendants had substantial continuity in operations, common ownership, leadership, the same business purpose, or that there was a transfer of assets – nor do they set forth evidence of unlawful motive. Instead, they offer speculative allegations,’' Coleman wrote in her judgment. In other words, the lawsuit was a specious one with absolutely no grounds to link AMP to their son’s unfortunate 1996 death near Jerusalem. She concluded, “Based on the foregoing, the Court grants defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and declines to exercise jurisdiction over plaintiffs’ state law claims.”
“From the first day of this case, it was clear to us that it was a frivolous lawsuit with a malicious intent aimed at criminalizing our constitutional right to bring awareness to and advocate for the Palestinian cause,” said Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, AMP’s Executive Director. “It was an attempt to silence and intimidate organizations and individuals who speak for Palestinian human rights, as well as to bankrupt AMP and remove it altogether from the equation mainly because our work is effective.” Abuirshaid concluded, “the judge's decision vindicates our efforts to seek justice for Palestinians by building a grassroots movement through education and advocacy."
We understand that these failed attempts to silence organizations that educate and advocate for Palestinian rights will continue - but we will remain steadfast and stand our ground. Moreover, while Palestine solidarity activism is being increasingly targeted in the US with attempts to criminalize it, this legal decision sends a message not only to the Palestine solidarity community but also to those who seek to undermine our work that waging lawfare will not deter us from continuing to advocate for our just and noble cause of Palestinian rights and self-determination.
AMP is grateful to all of our supporters who stood with us during this time. We are also grateful to our legal team. Our victory would not have been possible without its commitment, professionalism, and the high caliber of its legal representation. AMP was represented by the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, which is funded by the Muslim Legal Fund of America. There are no words that can express the depth of our gratitude and appreciation for its efforts and wonderful work.