Financial institutions in the US and Spain are under fire for providing accounts to the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, which promotes a boycott of Israel and defends Iran’s nuclear program.
Renowned Harvard University jurist Alan Dershowitz told The Jerusalem Post on Friday: “The organization [IADL] was founded as a communist front and supported financially by the Soviet Union. It is anti-democratic to its core and supportive of terrorism and repression. No decent person or institution should be associated with or supportive of its anti-democratic agenda and actions.”
IADL states on a pro-Palestinian website that it “supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement to boycott Israeli products as well as businesses which support the Occupation, and to sanction Israel for its crimes.”
IADL’s own website solicits donations and lists accounts with Comerica Bank in Michigan and the Spanish bank Caixa d’Est Alvis (Caixa d’Estalvis i Pensions de Barcelona). The latter bank has been renamed La Caixa.
Wayne Mielke, a spokesman at Comerica’s headquarters in Dallas, told the Post, “Comerica Bank as with all other financial institutions in the United States is legally and duty bound to protect the privacy of its clients. Accordingly, we don’t discuss customer relationships with third parties.” He added, “Please know that we have a robust compliance program at the bank to ensure that the customers who bank with us are legally entitled to have a bank account.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called in early February for legislation penalizing companies that boycott Israel. “No Texas tax dollars should support companies who boycott Israel, one of our nation’s greatest allies, in the name of political correctness or in pursuit of flawed political agendas,” he said.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed an anti-BDS law in January.
Angel Mas, president of ACOM (Acción y Comunicación sobre Oriente Medio), a pro-Israel Spanish organization, told the Post, “The BDS movement in Spain has been dealt several serious judicial and political blows over the last months, clearly showing that their campaigns of hatred can be stopped.
“Financial institutions have the legal and moral obligation to perform an adequate due diligence on their clients. All BDS groups, including those masquerading as legitimate pro-human rights associations, have ultimately an antisemitic, discriminatory agenda that justifies violence, and the banks that support them must immediately stop providing services for their unlawful activities.”
IADL’s website has at least three pages devoted to criticism of Israel. During the IDF’s Operation Pillar of Defense to stop Hamas rocket fire in 2012. IADL wrote that it “condemns illegal Israeli aggression in Gaza.”
Jan Fermon, the secretary- general of IADL, appeared to endorse Iran’s last Tuesday’s International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada in Tehran, which was attended by US-designated terrorist groups Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.
Fermon told The New York Times on Tuesday, “Even under international law, Palestinians, being occupied, have the right to fight back. You can’t simply say, ‘Oh, if they do they are terrorists.’” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, in a speech at the conference, pledged his support to groups waging war against Israel. He called the Jewish state “a cancerous tumor.”
IADL has defended Tehran’s nuclear program, saying Iran’s government “wishes to develop its nuclear matter research for peaceful use. Such a use is obviously the right most basic to each country.”
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the head of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, told the Post: “The IADL, which describes itself as ‘progressive,’ is a member of the NGO network that leads the demonization campaigns targeting Israel. Like other such groups, they use pseudo-legal claims to deny Israel the right to defend its population from terror. Its partners have included PCHR [the Palestinian Center for Human Rights] – a Gaza-based NGO with alleged ties to the PFLP terror organization, as documented by NGO Monitor.”
IADL and La Caixa bank did not immediately respond to Post queries.