Shredding terrorism’s budget

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.

PROCEEDINGS have been launched against Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in the US Federal Court by Israeli activist organisation Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Centre, claiming these social-media giants have hosted material inciting terrorism.

Speaking to The AJN before her visit to Australia as a guest of Magen David Adom Victoria (MDA), Shurat HaDin’s director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said social media are the latest focus for the organisation, which uses legal processes worldwide to deprive terrorists of their financial resources.

“In the United States, we already have cases going against Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on behalf of terror victims,” she said, with Google and Facebook having each announced plans for a taskforce to monitor online incitement.

Darshan-Leitner said social media corporations already possess the technology to monitor online hate speech on their websites and not using these resources could make them “liable for aiding and abetting extremism”.

Shurat HaDin is slowly change the policy of banks, which are no longer permitted to provide financial services to certain organisations operating in regions with high levels of terrorism, she explained.

Judgments won by Shurat HaDin include an award in a New York court of $US655 million against the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Palestinian Authority to victims of terrorism during the knife intifada.

A judgment of more than $US200 million was made against the governments of Syria, Iran and North Korea in compensation to terror victims, she said.

The Israeli organisation has won battles to successfully clamp liens on the assets of terrorist groups, and impose liabilities on corporations to dry up the export of funding destined for terrorist organisations.

“Terrorism is like any other corporation. It needs funds to work. If you block the funds, you block the terrorism,” said Darshan-Leitner.

In 2012 and again in 2015, Shurat HaDin advised World Vision Australia and the Australian government that their aid money to Palestinians was being transferred to front charities of Palestinian terror groups in Gaza. Canberra has given more than $3 million to World Vision projects in Gaza in the past three years.

“Despite our warnings, World Vision didn’t change its Gaza policy on funding projects,” said Darshan-Leitner.

But after Shurat HaDIn’s advice was rejected, Mohammed Halabi, a senior World Vision official, was charged in Israel for allegedly diverting millions of dollars to Hamas. (Halabi appeared in court in February and has pleaded not guilty).

Darshan-Leitner said governments and charities needed to check that their funding “actually goes to the places they say” and make this is a condition of providing the aid.

The cost of not making these checks and not making funding conditional is a heavy one, she said, and it is not governments and charities who ultimately pay the price, “but innocent women, kids and men”.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner will address the MDA Victoria appeal launch at the International-Brighton on Wednesday, August 30 at 7.30pm. To book,. call (03) 9272 5633, email [email protected] or visit