Federal lawsuit alleges Students for Justice in Palestine is a Hamas front group

Source: Romain Guy/Flickr, Creative Commons

Listen to this story (5 minutes)

  • "There is a legal chasm between independent advocacy and knowingly serving as the propaganda and recruiting wing of a Foreign Terrorist Organization in the United States. AMP and NSJP are the latter. They are not innocent advocacy groups, but rather the propaganda arm of a terrorist organization operating in plain sight." - Plaintiffs

Victims of the Oct. 7 terror attacks in Israel are suing National Students for Justice in Palestine and the AJP Educational Foundation Inc., also known as American Muslims for Palestine, saying they are operating “as collaborators and propagandists for Hamas.”

The suit filed in US District Court in Virginia this week says the groups use “propaganda to intimidate, convince, and recruit uninformed, misguided, and impressionable college students to serve as foot soldiers for Hamas on campus and beyond.”

NSJP’s website identifies UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte, and Wake Forest University as “popular university for Gaza solidarity encampments.” [sic]

The plaintiffs are Americans Maya Parizer, Adin Gess, Noach Newman, Natalie Sanandaji, Yoni Diller, David Bromberg, and Lior Bar Or with Israeli plaintiffs Ariel Ein-Gal and Hagar Almog. They are represented by Florida-based law firm Greenberg Traurig.

In the Oct. 7, 2023, attack Hamas terrorists murdered 1,200 civilians and took more than 200 people hostage. Some remain in captivity. The next day, the two organizations named in the suit distributed a “NSJP Toolkit” with coordinated “resistance” materials. It says that their orgnizations are part of a “unity intifada.”

“Today, we witness a historic win for the Palestinian resistance: across land, air, and sea, our
people have broken down the artificial barriers of the Zionist entity, taking with it the facade
of an impenetrable settler colony and reminding each of us that total return and liberation to Palestine is near,” the toolkit reads. “As the Palestinian student movement, we have an unshakable responsibility to join the call for mass mobilization. National liberation is near— glory to our resistance, to our martyrs, and to our steadfast people.”

It advises students not to use the word “war” but call for “liberation” instead. Plaintiffs say that the detailed toolkit was clearly prepared ahead of the attacks. Its messaging, protest tactics, social media hashtags, and graphics for signs show a coordinated misinformation campaign with Hamas. Hamas is labeled a terrorist organization by the United States government. Plaintiffs argue that such support violates the Antiterrorism Act of 1996.

“Within hours of its terror attack, Hamas sent out a global call for its allies to mobilize and propagate Hamas’s disinformation campaign and instigate chaos through the West, including the United States. Hamas’s propaganda directed at American audiences is
instrumental to its strategy,” plaintiffs argue.

“The plain text of the NSJP Toolkit confirms that AMP and NSJP do not merely assist Hamas’s ongoing terror campaign abroad—they perpetuate it in the United States,” they say.

American Muslims for Palestine launched Students for Justice in Palestine in 2010 on campuses across the nation, including in North Carolina. The group is instrumental in staging the recent protests at UNC-Chapel Hill and elsewhere.

“AMP and NSJP are – among other things – coordinating the occupation of dozens of college campuses across the country to ‘force’ the American government and academia to bend to Hamas’s will,” the complaint alleges.  “When someone tells you they are aiding and abetting terrorists—believe them.”

In November, the Virginia attorney general opened an investigation into AJP and American Muslims for Palestine, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, amid allegations that the group may have used funds raised for impermissible purposes under state law, including benefitting or providing support to terrorist organizations.

In 2017, a similar lawsuit was brought against AMP and several Chicago-area nonprofits by Stanley and Joyce Boim, the parents of a teenager who was killed in Jerusalem in a 1996 terrorist attack attributed to Hamas. In December 2004, a jury found the defendants guilty of providing “material support” to Hamas and awarded the Boim family $156 million in damages. The family is still trying to collect the judgement award.