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The Daily TIP: Iran Ordered to Pay $63 Million to Former U.S. Marine Imprisoned, Tortured for Four Years

Posted by Tip Staff - October 05, 2017

Iran Ordered to Pay $63 Million to Former U.S. Marine Imprisoned, Tortured for Four Years
American Actress Greta Gerwig Regrets Signing Israel Boycott Letter
New York Jewish Businesses Receive Threatening Anti-Semitic Flyers
Israeli Philanthropist Donates Six-Figure Gift to Fund Hearing Treatment for Syrian Children

Iran Ordered to Pay $63 Million to Former U.S. Marine Imprisoned, Tortured for Four Years

A judge on Friday ordered Iran to pay $63.5 million in damages to Amir Hekmati, a former United States Marine, who was jailed and tortured in the country for more than four years.

According to Hekmati, he was held in extreme solitary confinement, where he was beaten, threatened, and deprived of food and sanitary conditions, The Washington Post reported. His experience mirrors the treatment of other U.S.-Iranian citizens illegally imprisoned and tortured by Iran.

Hekmati, an Iranian-American from Michigan, was released from captivity in January 2016 as part of an exchange deal with Iran, which also included Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, and another American, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari.

Judge Ellen Huvelle of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., granted Amir Hekmati’s motion for a default judgment against the Islamic Republic, after the country failed to respond to Hekmati’s lawsuit in May 2016.

Iran’s “conduct was truly horrific and it caused substantial and permanent harm. In addition, defendant’s conduct is part of a long-standing pattern and policy, making the need for deterrence clear,” Huvelle wrote.

“No award ever could fully compensate Amir Hekmati for the cruel and inhuman treatment he endured over five years at the hands of his brutal Iranian captors,” Hekmati’s attorney, Scott D. Gilbert of Washington, said in a statement.

“But this brings Amir and his family another step closer to closure and ultimately, we all hope, to being able to move on with their lives,” Gilbert said, adding that “As for the Iranian government, this well documented opinion shines a spotlight on who they really are. And they will pay for that.”

The former U.S. Marine was detained by the Islamic Republic on espionage charges in August 2011, whilst on a family visit to the country to spend time with his ailing grandmother.

Iran has a long history of imprisoning Americans without due process.

American Actress Greta Gerwig Regrets Signing Israel Boycott Letter

American actress Greta Gerwig has expressed regret for signing a letter calling for a boycott of Israel.

The actress was a member of a group of more than 60 artists who in July signed a letter urging Lincoln Center to cancel performances of “To The End Of The Land,” a play based on a novel of the same name by famed Israeli novelist David Grossman, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

The signees called for the boycott of the play because it was funded by Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs in North America. The letter was circulated by the Adalah-NY group, which calls for the boycott of Israel over its treatment of Palestinian Arabs.

Last Friday, Gerwig admitted in an interview with the New York Post that she was not knowledgeable enough on the subject to have called for a boycott. “This past summer, a close friend asked me to lend my name to a letter,” Gerwig said.

She added: ”While I respect the passion and integrity of others who signed this letter, for me to put my name to something outside of my personal realm of knowledge or experience was a mistake — my mistake — and I am sorry for any confusion or hurt I may have caused.”

The phenomenon of celebrities calling for a boycott of Israel is not a new one and supporters of the BDS movement are routinely threatening artists who are set to perform in Israel, with a number of entertainers saying that the harassment has led them to fear for their lives.

In The Rise of ‘Soft’ Holocaust Denial, published in the October 2016 issue of The Tower Magazine, Zach Ben-Amots identified Waters as a prominent proponent of “soft” Holocaust denial due to his comparisons between the Nazi regime and the Jewish state.

New York Jewish Businesses Receive Threatening Anti-Semitic Flyers

Seven New York City Jewish businesses in Brooklyn and Manhattan received threatening flyers with an image of a swastika that said "out with the Jews” on Wednesday.

Among the businesses targeted were three law firms in Sheepshead Bay, the Harlem Business Alliance on Lenox Avenue, the Numero Uno Jewelry store on East 116th Street, Borough Park Bakery and a Starbucks on West 145th Street, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Under the image of a swastika, the flyer included a Holocaust-era German phrase meaning "out with the Jews.” It also vowed to "Make America Great Again," the famous campaign slogan of United States President Donald Trump, along with other threatening language against the black and homosexual community.

"I was not afraid, but it is shock," Weiss Bakery owner Abraham Weiss told ABC News. "First it's shock, then it's disgusting. We're going back to the World War II era. Why would people do such a thing? I would never do anything to anyone,” he added.

The subsequent six letters are identical to the bakery letter.

Jewish business in the New York area have become the target of anti-Semitic attacks with an increased frequency in recent weeks and the swastika flyers mark only the latest escalation in an alarming uptick in anti-Jewish hate crimes.

"We don't have specific numbers on hate mail," said Evan Bernstein, with the Anti-Defamation League. "We know the NYPD has seen over a 30 percent spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City already this year...so that's incredibly concerning for us.”

The incidents are being investigated by both the NYPD and the Brooklyn District Attorney's Offices.

Israeli Philanthropist Donates Six-Figure Gift to Fund Hearing Treatment for Syrian Children

A six-figure donation from Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn is going to Ziv Medical Center in Safed (Tzfat) to fund treatment of hearing loss among Syrian children brought from conflict areas to Israel for medical care.

The hospital near the border with Syria, recently visited by celebrity Conan O’Brien, has extensive experience treating wounded Syrian civilians.

Exams performed at Ziv have revealed that one out of every three Syrian children from combat zones suffers hearing loss. The grant will cover direct expenses related to clinical treatments, surgery and rehabilitation as well as state-of-the-art hearing devices for an estimated 50 children.

“We have treated more than 1,000 Syrians of all ages who needed our help over the past four years. It’s really important for me as a physician, as an Israeli, and as a human being. I am extremely grateful to Anish Kapoor and the Genesis Prize Foundation for shedding light on the important work we do. With their help, we can make the world a better place for a lot more Syrian children,” said Dr. Salman Zarka, director of Ziv.

“The brutal civil war in Syria has created nearly 5 million refugees, many of them children. The Genesis Prize Foundation invites other donors, Jews and people of other faiths, to support the great work being done by the Ziv Medical Center and other organizations that aim to alleviate the suffering of the wounded, especially children,” said Stan Polovets, chairman and co-founder of the Genesis Prize Foundation.

The Genesis Prize is a global award launched in 2013 to celebrate Jewish achievement and contribution to humanity, established by the Genesis Prize Foundation, the Prime Minister’s Office of the State of Israel, and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI).

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