The Obama administration, not surprisingly, paid no heed to the requests of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and began the week by intervening in a terrorism case on the behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
Schumer’s letter last week to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of State John Kerry involves the case Sokolow v. Palestinian Liberation Organization, in which the PLO and Palestinian Authority were ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to American victims of six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2001 and 2004.
Plaintiff Mark Sokolow was in the World Trade Center, survived the 9/11 attacks, and four months later took his family on a trip to Israel. They were injured when a suicide bomber attacked Jaffa Street in Israel. They and other victims used the Antiterrorism Act of 1990 to sue the Palestinian leaders.
Schumer asked Lynch and Kerry to “refrain from taking any action in the case,” brought under a law enacted “so that terrorists and state sponsors of terrorism are held accountable for their terrible crimes.”
“The size of the judgement in this case reflects the severity of the crimes and the large numbers of families affected,” he continued. “I believe that the jury’s decision in this case, and the judge’s subsequent determinations, should be respected and the wheels of justice should be allowed to move forward without interference from the administration.”
According to State Department spokesman Mark Toner, the Statement of Interest filed by the U.S. government expressed “U.S. concerns about the harms that could arise if the ability of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to operate as a governmental authority is severely compromised.”
“Critical U.S. national security and foreign policy interests” should be taken into account in the bond amount, the administration argued.
Morton A. Klein, Zionist Organization of America national president, and Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, called the Statement of Interest “disgraceful and frightening” and lacking condemnation for the murders.
“The Department of Justice has never once prosecuted a single Palestinian killer of Americans. This Statement of Interest again shows our government’s shameful failure to crack down on Palestinian Arab terrorism in the way that it must,” they said in a statement.
“The ZOA also urges Congress to hold hearings on whether the Obama administration is truly supporting the rights of victims of terrorism, as it claims. Why then is the administration intervening in the Sokolow case? Were U.S. taxpayer dollars used to lobby the U.S. government to intervene on the side of the sponsors of terrorism? What steps will the administration be taking to ensure the judgment is collected, and will the U.S. government be intervening in the appeal? Why has the Obama administration done nothing in response to the PA’s continuing incitement of murder in every aspect of their culture, naming schools, streets and sports teams after terrorist killers, and having parades glorifying terrorists after they die? And why has the Justice Department failed to pursue Palestinian Arab terrorists and bring them to justice? All American citizens, including the victims of terrorism and their families in the Sokolow case, deserve answers to these questions.”