Agudath Israel: Supreme Court Should Hear Case Involving Bank That Financed Terrorism


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Agudath Israel of America, along with several other Jewish organizations, have asked the United States Supreme Court to hear Weiss v. National Westminster Bank (NatWest). The case, brought by victims of Hamas terrorism, argues that the bank should be liable for its role in financing Hamas’s terrorist activities.
The terror victims claim that NatWest, the bank, facilitated financial transactions to a supposed charitable organization called Interpal that helped fund Hamas and its terrorist activities. In an surprising decision, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the bank’s facilitation of financial transactions with an entity that the bank knew to be affiliated with a terrorist organization was not sufficient as a matter of law to move the case forward and require a jury trial to determine the bank’s liability to the terror victims.
In their amicus curiae brief, Agudath Israel and the other Jewish organizations argue that the Second Circuit Court was incorrect in not allowing the case to proceed by forbidding the victims from amending their lawsuit to allege that NatWest knew about Interpal’s role in assisting Hamas. The organizations’ brief states that, in doing so, the Second Circuit not only ignored evidence that NatWest knew of Interpal’s role in financing Hamas, but also ignored other court decisions that indicated that NatWest knew of Interpal’s role in financing Hamas.
“While financial compensation cannot repair the harm done by terrorists, we hope that the Supreme Court will hear this case, and allow the case to be heard by a jury so that the victims and their families can receive some measure of justice,” said Rabbi Mordechai Biser, special counsel to Agudath Israel. “A ruling against NatWest would send a strong message to banks that they will be responsible if they facilitate terrorist activities.”
Agudath Israel thanks Justin C. Danilewitz and his colleagues at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr for volunteering to research, draft, and submit this important amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on a pro bono basis.