The writer Toni Morrison has just sent out a fund appeal for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an authoritative civil rights law firm whose strategy is to crush hate groups with lawsuits. They also monitor racist incidents in the US, have school classroom programs, & issue a list of hate groups.
Hammering the courts with lawsuits is also a strategy used by anti-abortion groups in the US. Some have criticized SPLC for undermining the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights by going after groups who express reactionary views & labeling them as hate groups. But there’s another problem with SPLC which highlights the dilemma of liberal Zionism. In their Fall 2007 SPLC Intelligence Report they identified anti-Zionism with antisemitism & have ignored requests to clarify their views & repudiate such an odious imputation. What gives SPLC the authority to define who is a hate group if they cannot distinguish objections to the political ideology & practices of Zionism from social hatred of Jews? Does that mean they will eventually place BDS groups on their hate list?
Of much greater concern is SPLC’s relationship to Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, an Israeli attorney, & Shurat HaDin, the law center she founded in 2003 which models its strategy on the SPLC strategy of bankrupting who they define as hate groups. Shurat HaDin does not just model SPLC but according to Darshan-Leitner in an interview, she was schooled personally by the SPLC in Alabama.
Shurat HaDin models more than strategy by portraying itself as a civil rights group but in fact, according to a leaked Wikileaks cable, it has tight associations with Mossad & Israel’s National Security Council. Shurat HaDin’s function is to engage in “lawfare” bringing suits on behalf of victims of alleged terrorism against Palestinian groups, political leaders, & who they consider their financial patrons.
This strategy is going to become an important impediment for BDS groups & Palestinian solidarity, which is what it’s intended to do since there is little chance most of the law suits will reap much in actual damages. The intention is to discredit Palestinians as terrorists for defending themselves against ethnic cleansing, to tie up the resources of Palestinian groups, & to vilify Palestinian supporters as advocates of terrorism & as antisemites. They have already (in Australia) begun going after BDS groups & it’s only a matter of time before they start trying to tie up the resources & vilify other BDS groups.
Rather than give money to the SPLC which does not repudiate their role in creating this monster, it’s far better to build the hell out of the economic & cultural boycott of Israel & continue to demand “no aid of any kind to Israeli apartheid & ethnic cleansing!”