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Federal appeals court upholds terrorist designation for militant Jewish group

[JURIST] The Jewish organization Kahane Chai [CFR backgrounder] was properly designated as a terrorist organization by the US Department of State [official website] in 1997 and former Secretary of State Colin Powell [official profile] in 2003, a federal appeals court held Tuesday. In 2003, Powell also decided that 20 other organizations were aliases for Kahane Chai, including the website Kahane.org. The group argued, in part, that the designation of the website as a terrorist organization was an unconstitutional infringement on First Amendment rights and was religious-based discrimination because no non-Jewish websites were also designated as terrorist organizations, including the websites of well-known Arabic terrorist groups. Kahane Chai also alleged that the administrative record did not support the designations, and that the State Department violated their due process rights under the Fifth Amendment [text] by withholding from the group the non-classified portions of the administrative record.

In the opinion [text], the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the administrative record allowed Powell to "reasonably conclude" that Kahane Chai was a terrorist group because the group was shown to have used explosives or firearms with the intent to endanger the safety of individuals, threatened and conspired to carry out assassinations, and solicited funds and members for a terrorist organization. Kahane Chai has been accused [Guardian report] of plotting to assassinate Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. As for the website, Chief Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg wrote that the proper inquiry was not whether the State Department had identified other websites as terrorist organizations, but whether the State Department had identified non-Jewish organizations as terrorist groups, which it had. The New York Times has more.

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