The nonprofit charity of former president Jimmy Carter has been sued for allegedly using taxpayer funds to provide material support to international terrorist groups in the Holy Land, in violation of federal law.
While the Trump administration has curbed funding to the Palestinian Authority for its support of terrorism, the Justice Department has filed to dismiss the lawsuit against the Carter Center, claiming it’s too expensive to prosecute, reported the Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo.
The lawsuit by the Zionist Advocacy Center, which recently was unsealed, alleges that in 2015, the Carter Center received more than $30 million in taxpayer grants while hosting designated terrorists at is facilities and providing various forms of assistance to the Palestinian terror group Hamas and other known terror entities.
The Free Beacon notes that the Justice Department had requested that its demand to dismiss the case on the grounds that it is too expensive remain secret.
The motion to dismiss will be heard Wednesday in court.
The complaint presents evidence that the Carter Center falsely certified it was not violating prohibitions on providing material support to terror groups.
It argues that the former president’s well-documented interactions with Hamas and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine figures are tantamount to material support for terror groups.
Carter has hosted many of these officials at his organization’s offices.
The government’s motion to dismiss acknowledges representatives of the Carter Center “have engaged in discussions and meetings with members of Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”
But it argues “the primary purposes of these activities were to facilitate dialog between the Palestinian factions and to urge Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist, forgo violence, and accept previous peace agreements.”
Because the interactions were public, the Justice Department contends, they should not be classified as material support for terrorists.
The DOJ and the Carter Center did not respond to requests for comment.
The Justice Department contends the case amounts to “a difference of opinion with the Carter Center about how to resolve conflict in the Middle East.”
“If the United States were to decline to intervene in the case … the United States, as the real party of interest, likely would be required to devote considerable resources to the litigation,” the DOJ argued.
Yifa Segal, director of one of the groups involved in the case, the International Legal Forum, rebutted the DOJ’s legal arguments in an interview with the Free Beacon.
He argued that providing expert advice or assistance can facilitate terrorism, even if the intent is to promote peace.
“The logic is simple. Any service provided to a terror group can help free up other resources within the organization,” Segal told the Free Beacon. “Taking into account that a terror organization, ultimately, aims at executing acts of terror, by freeing resources from other needs, you are very likely to contribute to the organization’s illegal acts of violence, whether you intended to do so or not.”
WND reported last month the American Center for Law and Justice asked the State Department for records to determine whether the Carter Center channeled taxpayer funds to terrorist organizations.
Carter was president when the U.S. sustained one of its worst foreign policy failures, the Islamic revolution in Iran and the hostage-taking of American government workers at the U.S. Embassy.
ACLJ noted the Carter Center’s website suggests that Jerusalem, recently recognized by the U.S. as the capital of Israel, belongs to “Palestine.”
The Carter Center received $306 million in cash, pledges and in-kind gifts in 2015-16, including significant income from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
While the center publicly advocates reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinian people, it consistently favors the Palestinians, ACLJ said, and “perceived anti-Israel statements on the part of President Carter have even led many of his long-time advisers to stop their work with him and publicly denounce his actions.”
“We at the ACLJ maintain that anyone is allowed to think and say what they want, and that free speech is part of what makes a democracy work. But when that speech turns into actual harmful conduct – and especially when U.S. tax dollars are concerned – then the government needs to step in,” the organization said.
ACLJ said it’s “concerned that the Obama State Department was ensuring the Carter Center was getting U.S. tax dollars, and that it has continued to this day through the deep state bureaucracy, while turning a blind eye to the Carter Center’s open ties with terrorist organizations and sympathizers in potential violation of U.S. law.”
WND reported 10 years ago a Michigan congressman proposed cutting federal funding for the Carter Center because of the former president’s trip to meet with leaders of terrorist organizations.
Carter has complained of “horrible persecution” of Palestinians by Israel, urging the Jewish state to give up land and calling its “domination” of Palestinians “atrocious.”
He’s called Israel’s “occupation” the “prime cause” of ongoing violence in the Middle East.