Anti-Israel demonstrators (AP/Alberto Pellaschiar) (AP/Alberto Pellaschiar)
anti-Israel demonstration BDS

The lawsuit against the National Lawyers Guild for discriminating against an Israeli organization can proceed, says a New York court.

By: United with Israel Staff

The Supreme Court of the State of New York last Friday denied the National Lawyers Guild’s (NLG) second motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by plaintiff Bibliotechnical Athenaeum, an Israeli organization, represented by The Lawfare Project.

Bibliotechnical initially filed suit after the NLG rejected its paid ad, submitted for inclusion in NLG’s annual banquet “Dinner Journal.”

According to NLG’s National Office, the rejection was based on an organizational “resolution barring [NLG] from accepting funds from Israeli organizations.” The complaint therefore alleges that NLG illegally discriminated against Bibliotechnical purely on the basis of national origin.

The lawsuit is breaks new ground legally by arguing that New York City and State human rights laws prohibit BDS-motivated (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) commercial discrimination by violating anti-boycott provisions.

By denying the second motion to dismiss, the court cleared the way for the discovery phase of the case.

The Lawfare Project, a legal think tank and defender of civil rights, is representing the plaintiff, and is collaborating in this matter with attorney David Abrams of the Zionist Advocacy Center.

“We are pleased with the court’s well-reasoned and just decision to deny the National Lawyers Guild’s motion to dismiss and allow this case to proceed,” said The Lawfare Project’s Chief Operating Officer, Benjamin Ryberg, who is acting as lead counsel in this suit. “The discriminatory motivation behind their rejection of our client’s advertisement could not have been made clearer by the Guild’s National Office.”

“It is heartening that the Court recognizes the strength of this case and the frivolity of NLG’s arguments,” added David Abrams, Bibliotechnical’s principal officer and a lawyer with the Zionist Advocacy Center. “I am confident that the Court will enforce New York’s anti-discrimination laws fairly to protect persons and entities of all national origins.”

A Long History of Anti-Israel Bias

The National Lawyers Guild, which calls itself the “progressive alternative” to the American Bar Association (ABA), was founded in 1937 and has chapters across the country.

It also has a well-documented history of singling out Israel in national resolutions and supporting anti-Israel activities. In May of 2017, two members of the NLG chapter at University of California Irvine attended an anti-Israel protest as purportedly neutral “legal observers” but apparently failed to report the anti-Semitic shouts of demonstrators, as recounted by witnesses to the incident.

The NLG has a “Palestine Subcommittee” which “advocates for justice in Palestine, organizes delegations, provides legal support to BDS movements, works to support Palestinian political prisoners, and works to implement Palestinian rights.”

In 2014, the NLG called for the Obama administration to face charges of war crimes for funding Israel’s Iron Dome.

Alan Dershowitz criticized the NLG in September 2014 as being “the sworn enemy of Israel and the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the early 1970s following the Soviet Union’s switch from supporting Israel to opposing it.”

“The National Lawyers Guild has lost most of its lawyers since that time and has instead filled its membership roles with paralegals, amateur investigators and other assorted ‘legal workers,’” wrote Dershowitz.  “It has no credibility in the legal profession and even some of its anti-Zionist members have recently quit, calling its policies regarding Israel ‘crazy,’ ‘irresponsible,’ and ‘bigoted.’”

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