In a case of first impression, on April 15, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will hear the case of Ahmad v Foundation for International Research and Education, DBA Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, where 13 residents of the West Bank (two of which are also United States citizens) are suing 5 U.S. charities for supporting violent fringe settler groups in the West Bank and Jerusalem who attack Palestinians and non-Jews. The case raises two issues of first impression: (1) It is the first lawsuit by U.S. citizens living in the West Bank against U.S. charities under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA); and (2) It addresses the question left open in Presbyterian Church Of Sudan v. Talisman Energy, Inc., 582 F.3d 244, 259 (2d Cir. 2009) as to whether these particular U.S. charities have a “shared purpose” with particular violent settler groups in fringe areas of Nablus and Hebron in the West bank and in East Jerusalem to drive out Palestinians and non-Jews in violation of international law which, if proven, supports jurisdiction and liability under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS).
The dates in the case also contain hidden significance. The lawsuit was filed on May 17, 2013, which is Independence Day in Norway, site of the Oslo Accords, and a strong supporter of both Israel and Palestine. The District Court dismissed the case on May 5, 2014, which is Israeli Independence Day. Finally, the Second Circuit scheduled argument in this case indirectly challenging tax deductions for supporting violence on April 15, 2015, which is the deadline for filing tax returns and also Patriots’ Day in Boston.