The Zachor Legal Institute, a U.S.-based advocacy group that produces legal materials “made available for use by the entire Zionist umbrella of organizations,” sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) calling for a criminal investigation of Black Lives Matter and other groups, claiming they are “fronts” and “affiliates” of three Palestinian organizations designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the Secretary of State. As evidence the July 9, 2020 request cites statements of support from Palestinian solidarity organizations for demonstrations over the murder of George Floyd that use the word “infitada,” an Arabic term also used to describe demonstrations by Palestinians against actions of the Israeli government. The letter also refers to allegations made in a 2018 request from Zachor to DOJ that similarly portrays issue advocacy and political solidarity as the equivalent of “affiliation” and material support of terrorism. DOJ did not respond to the 2018 letter.
Central to Zachor’s claims is a broad and undefined use of the term “affiliation.” It is used to describe groups that share stated goals regarding racial equality and human rights and who may collaborate on shared activities. These activities are otherwise known as “freedom of association” and “freedom of expression” in the First Amendment. Zachor then claims these associations constitute illegal material support of terrorism because, in its analysis, support for Palestinian rights is the same as support for the groups listed by the Secretary of State. The letter does not cite any facts that support its theory that the American groups are controlled by the listed groups.
The letter also collectively blames the groups for “widespread violence” in what have been largely peaceful demonstrations. As part of this claim Zachor says that Antifa is an “affiliate” of Black Lives Matter, even though fact checkers in reputable news sources have made it clear that Antifa is an unstructured entity.