Category Archives: Press Releases

Lawfare Project To Expedia: Stop Enforcing Kuwait Airways’ Anti-Semitism

Leading civil rights group fires latest salvo against airline's illegal policy

The Lawfare Project

The Lawfare Project

Yesterday, The Lawfare Project dispatched a letter to Expedia Group CEO Mark Okerstrom warning him of the potential consequences of continuing to facilitate Kuwait Airways’ policy of refusing to sell tickets to Israeli passport holders.

The Lawfare Project has challenged this illegal, discriminatory policy for several years in various jurisdictions. In 2015, the airline was forced to shutter its flight route from New York JFK to London Heathrow, along with its entire inter-European route network in 2016.

Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, released the following statement:

“Kuwait Airways has already made it clear: they hate Jews more than they like flying passengers. Sadly, this company has chosen to enforce a racist, illegal policy no matter the impact on its operations or the cost to its bottom line.

“We hope Expedia will choose a different path. The world’s largest travel agency must decide whether to stand on the side of equality and justice or continue to enforce Kuwait Airways’ discrimination and subject itself to reputational damage and potential legal liability.”

Read the full letter here.

Read more about Kuwait Airways’ unlawful discrimination and The Lawfare Project’s work to combat it here.

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The Lawfare Project is a global network of legal professionals that contribute their skills, time, and expertise to defending the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and pro-Israel community, and fighting discrimination wherever they see it.

Condolences On The Passing Of Israel’s First Lady Nechama Rivlin

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

On behalf of Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and the American people, we extend our deepest condolences to President Reuven Rivlin, his family and the people of Israel on the passing of Israel’s First Lady, Nechama Rivlin.

Beloved for her warmth and kindness, she touched the hearts of so many over the years.

Our hearts are with all who mourn her loss during this difficult time.  May her memory be a blessing.

Rocket Attacks On Israel

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The United States strongly condemns the ongoing barrage of rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad from Gaza upon innocent civilians and their communities across Israel. We call on those responsible for the violence to cease this aggression immediately. We stand with Israel and fully support its right to self-defense against these abhorrent attacks.

As noted in the State Department Travel Advisory, U.S. citizens should exercise caution and remain alert to emergency situations.

Hearing Takes Place At European Court Of Justice In Landmark Case Against Discriminatory Labeling Of Israeli Products

The Lawfare Project

The Lawfare Project

A hearing took place yesterday at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in a landmark case against the discriminatory labeling of Israeli products. The case was referred to the ECJ by the French Conseil d’État. It was brought by Psâgot Winery Ltd, an Israeli wine producer and exporter, together with The Lawfare Project, a U.S.-based think tank and litigation fund that files cases against anti-Semitic discrimination around the world.

Psâgot and The Lawfare Project, represented by French Supreme Court law firm Cabinet Briard, challenged an opinion published by the French Minister of Economics and Finance in November 2016. The Minister’s opinion stated that products from the Golan Heights or West Bank have to be labeled as coming from Israeli settlements (“colonies Israéliennes”) or equivalent terms.

At yesterday’s hearing, counsel for Psâgot—François-Henri Briard, Supreme Court Attorney of France—strongly argued that the insistence on applying the label of “colonies Israéliennes” goes beyond the law. The law was not designed for such political labeling but to provide fair and clear information for consumers. Polling carried out last year among French consumers revealed that they had very little interest in the politicized labeling of products.

Furthermore, argued Briard, applying the law in such a way would open a “Pandora’s Box,” requiring extremely complex labeling for products from over 100 different territories around the world where there are territorial disputes.

The three-hour hearing was presided over by President of the European Court, Koen Lenaerts, who also heard from representatives of Sweden, Ireland, and France. These three countries’ governments argued strongly in favor of discriminatory labeling, falsely implying that Israel does not exercise authority over these territories in the context of trade.

The ECJ Advocate General will publish his opinion on June 14, 2019. A decision from the Court is expected a few weeks after that, which would interpret EU law on the issue for all EU member states, including France, which referred the case. As a result, the Court’s decision will have landmark implications across the EU regarding the discriminatory labeling of Israeli products.

Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, said:

Of the hundreds of territorial disputes around the world, it is Israeli businesses alone that find themselves targeted by these unnecessary and politicized labeling requirements. The importance of the Court’s decision shouldn’t be overstated: it will either end this double standard against Israel or legitimize it across Europe. I hope the Court grasps this opportunity to end the double standard.

François-Henri Briard, attorney before the French Supreme Courts and counsel for Psâgot, said:

I am confident that the ECJ will be very careful to keep its interpretation of EU law within a legal framework, without making foreign policy. The purpose of the EU rules is to protect health for consumers and to provide fair information on food products; they have nothing to do with political geography. The attempts of the European Commission to justify the use of the word “colony,” using an argument based on social and ethical consumer information, goes beyond EU text and looks like an awkward legal framework; I do not think the ECJ will follow such poor and political argument.

About The Lawfare Project: Headquartered in New York, The Lawfare Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a legal think tank and litigation fund committed to protecting the civil and human rights of Jewish communities around the world. To learn more, please visit www.thelawfareproject.org.

California State University (CSU) Agrees To Landmark Settlement With The Lawfare Project And Winston & Strawn LLP To Safeguard Jewish Students’ Rights

University will acknowledge Zionism as an important part of Jewish identity and implement wide-ranging measures to protect Jewish students

The Lawfare Project

The Lawfare Project

The Lawfare Project and Winston & Strawn LLP today reached a landmark settlement in their lawsuits against the California State University (CSU) public university system.

The settlement in Volk v. Board of Trustees comes ahead of this month’s scheduled trial for a lawsuit brought by two Jewish students who allege that San Francisco State University (SFSU) and the Board of Trustees of CSU discriminated against them.

As part of the settlement, SFSU agreed to:

  • Public statement: Issue a statement affirming that
    “it understands that, for many Jews, Zionism is an important part of their identity”;
  • Coordinator of Jewish Student Life: “Hire a Coordinator of Jewish Student Life within the Division of Equity & Community Inclusion” and dedicate suitable office space for this position;
  • External review of policies: “Retain an independent, external consultant to assess SFSU’s procedures for enforcement of applicable CSU system-wide anti-discrimination policies and student code of conduct”;
  • Independent investigation of additional complaints: “SFSU will, for a period of 24 months, assign all complaints of religious discrimination under either E.O. 1096 or E.O. 1097 to an independent, outside investigator for investigation”;
  • Funding viewpoint diversity: “SFSU will allocate an additional $200,000 to support educational outreach efforts to promote viewpoint diversity (including but not limited to pro-Israel or Zionist viewpoints) and inclusion and equity on the basis of religious identity (including but not limited to Jewish religious identity)”; and
  • Campus mural: Engage in the SFSU process to allocate “space on the SFSU campus for a mural to be installed under the oversight of the Division of Equity & Community Inclusion, paid for by the University, that will be designed by student groups of differing viewpoints on the issues that are the subject of this litigation to be agreed by the parties (including but not limited to Jewish, pro-Israel, and/or Zionist student groups, should such student groups elect to participate in the process).”
“California State University’s public recognition that Zionism is an integral part of Jewish identity represents a major victory for Jewish students at SFSU and across the country. Today, we have ensured that SFSU will put in place important protections for Jewish and Zionist students to prevent continued discrimination. We are confident that this will change the campus climate for the better,” said Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project. “The Lawfare Project was proud to play a role in securing justice for Jewish and Zionist students at SFSU. We commend the student plaintiffs who showed the courage to stand up and advocate for their civil rights.”

“We are incredibly happy with this result,” said Ross M. Kramer of Winston & Strawn LLP. “Our clients’ goal was to bring about meaningful, lasting change at San Francisco State University and throughout the California State University system, and to make sure that the rights of all Jewish students are safeguarded now and into the future. That’s what this settlement achieves.”

About The Lawfare Project: Headquartered in New York, The Lawfare Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a legal think tank and litigation fund committed to protecting the civil and human rights of Jewish communities around the world. To learn more, please visit www.thelawfareproject.org.

About Winston & Strawn LLP: For more than 160 years, Winston & Strawn LLP has served as a trusted adviser and advocate for clients across virtually every industry. In that time, through careful growth and thoughtful fiscal management, we have built a law practice with tremendous breadth and a global reach. We are proud of the many accolades we have received over the years—a tribute to our lawyers’ creativity, flexibility, depth of experience, and commitment. The most meaningful accolade to us, though, is the continued trust and confidence of our clients. To learn more, please visit www.winston.com.

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