CHICAGO – The parents of a 17-year-old yeshiva student fatally shot in the West Bank by Hamas terrorists in 1996 filed a federal lawsuit Friday against two Chicago-area Palestinian-American groups to collect on a legal judgment stemming from the death.
Stanley and Joyce Boim filed the lawsuit in Chicago against American Muslims for Palestine and Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation. The Chicago Tribune reports the couple alleges the Bridgeview-based organizations are "alter egos" of three Islamic fundraising groups held liable several years ago for the death of their son, David, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Beit El.
The Boims initially filed a lawsuit in 2000, alleging the American Muslim Society, the Islamic Association for Palestine-National and the Quranic Literacy Institute gave to Palestinian charities that ultimately helped fund terrorism. A federal jury entered a $52 million judgment against the charities in 2004, and the trial judge tripled the amount to $156 million. A federal appeals court upheld the judgment in 2008.
Boims' attorney, Stephen Landes, said the family received only a fraction of the award because the defendants said they had no money to pay the judgment and shut down. He said the successor groups named in Friday's lawsuit formed later with many of the same men in similar leadership roles.
"What we ended up finding is they just tried to rebrand themselves, and they set up down the street," Landes said.
If the groups are allowed to move on without paying the judgment, Landes said, "it makes a mockery" of federal anti-terrorism laws.
Messages left with American Muslims for Palestine by the Tribune were not returned. Friday's lawsuit also names three individuals identified as leaders of the group, including Abdelbasset Hamayel, identified as its executive director and the secretary general of the defunct Islamic Association for Palestine.
Hamayel told the Tribune he was unaware of the lawsuit and declined to comment. He didn't immediately return a message left after-hours at his office by The Associated Press.
It's unclear if Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation is still operating; it doesn't have a separate website or a publicly listed phone number.
Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com