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Landmark terrorism funding case reversed

A U.S. appeals court reversed a jury decision to hold Islamic fund-raisers responsible for a terrorist attack.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a December 2004 decision to hold several charities that provided financial assistance to Hamas accountable for the killing of David Boim, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen. Boim, a yeshiva student, was gunned down in 1996 while waiting at a bus stop with other students in the West Bank settlement of Beit El.

The original jury decision awarded the Boims $156 million in damages from the charities.

Judge Ilana Rovner said in her decision last Friday that “problematic” sources, including a news release from the Israeli government, a newspaper article and a statement under oath from Stanley Boim, David’s father, that “it was public knowledge that Hamas was behind the attack,” were behind the original decision.

The case has been sent back for a possible new trial. The Boims’ attorney told The Associated Press they might appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Defendants included the defunct Islamic Association for Palestine; the defunct Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which closed down after its assets were frozen by the U.S. government; and the Oak Lawn-based Quranic Literacy Institute.

The Anti-Defamation League expressed dismay at the decision Monday.

“Allowing victims to sue those who fund, support and enable their attackers is a key weapon in the fight against terrorism. The court today blunts that critical tool,” said Lonnie Nasatir, ADL’s Chicago regional director. “This case is especially troubling because the court rejected the clear intention of Congress which allowed for such lawsuits against those who aide and abet terrorists. The court also rejected well-settled American law which permits such liability.”

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