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Representing Klinghoffers in Achille Lauro Case
On Oct. 7, 1985, Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean Sea. The following day, they killed a Jewish passenger, 69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer of New York City, and tossed his body and wheelchair overboard. The act became a shocking symbol of Middle East terrorism.
Fischer represented the Klinghoffer family in its suit against the Palestine Liberation Organization. Fischer's daughter, Tamar Stern, said her father became involved because one of his clients was a friend of Leon Klinghoffer's wife, Marilyn. Marilyn Klinghoffer, who was on the anniversary cruise with her husband, died of cancer four months after the incident.
Fischer structured his case by asserting that the PLO was not a sovereign power entitled to diplomatic immunity but an unincorporated association doing business in New York by virtue of its real estate holdings. The PLO was represented by Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general. After 12 years, the PLO agreed to settle the lawsuit for an undisclosed sum.
Alan Thomas, a partner in Fischer, Porter, Thomas & Reinfeld, said Fischer was "steadfast" during the unusual legal odyssey. "He believed in the case from the beginning and believed in it at the end," Thomas said. "He never doubted that the estate would prevail in the litigation."
"This was prior to 9/11 and my father believed terrorists should be held accountable," Stern said. "He was liberal and progressive on most political and domestic issues, but on terrorism he was hard-line, and believed we needed to marshal everyone in the civilized world to fight terrorism. That helped him stay on the case for 12 years."
Stern said her ailing father was unaware that U.S. Navy SEALs killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden two weeks ago, "but he would have been thrilled."
Fischer, a Bronx native, was active in the 1960s Democratic reform movement in New York City. He moved to Clifton in 1969 and practiced there before helping found the Englewood Cliffs firm in 1993.
Thomas called Fischer "the greatest lawyer I have ever seen in action" and said his voice was a large part of that. "His voice gave him the ability to sound very persuasive and authoritative," Thomas said. "Whether it was the cadence or something else, it just seemed as if Jay said something, it must be right."
Fischer is survived by his wife, Laurel; his daughters, Tamar Stern, Toby Morse and Judith Falk; and eight grandchildren.
Jew Age related article:</span Leon Klinghoffer - Biography
External links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Klinghoffer
Cтатья из Еврейской Энциклопедии Брокгауза-Ефрона
This article is published under GNU Free Document License (GFDL).
The article is contributed by: Dmitriy G. Pines.
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