Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center on Wednesday hit controversial former NBA star
Dennis Rodman with a subpoena to be deposed about his financial dealings with
North Korea following a recent trip he made there related to filming a
basketball TV series in conjunction with HBO.
Rodman recently caused a
stir with his North Korea visit, particularly when he met with the country’s
leader Kim Jong-un and publicly complimented him.
His visit was doubly
controversial as it came shortly after North Korea angered the international
community with its third nuclear weapons test, and the country has been treated
coldly by the Obama administration.
Shurat HaDin won in 2010 an historic
$378 million judgment against North Korea for its involvement in the 1972 Lod
Airport massacre, but has been unable to collect on the judgment to
Deposing Rodman about what he may have learned about North Korea’s
finances during his trip and through his contacts, the law center hopes will
help lead to better targeting of North Korean assets.
Shurat HaDin head
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said that despite “the spirit of humor surrounding the
[TV] series and Rodman himself, Rodman’s actions in North Korea are not a
“There is no question that in order to get to a point
where a person meets personally with senior government officials and for sure
with the president, there is a need for information, for contacts and for
processes with the dictatorial North Korean regime,” Darshan- Leitner
“Rodman’s complimentary statements to the ruler after his visit
already go beyond mere silliness or a TV series on basketball,” she
The $378m. judgment was handed down by the US District Court for
the District of Puerto Rico in favor of Puerto Rican American family members of
the victims of the massacre who were on a visit to Israel to view Christian holy
The Lod Airport Massacre was an infamous terrorist attack which
killed 26 people perpetrated by Japanese Red Army members, who were enlisted by
the Population Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and financed by
After passing through border control, three inconspicuous
Japanese passengers dressed in business suits disembarked from Air France Flight
132 from Rome and moved to claim their belongings from the baggage
They had placed grenades and machine guns in their bags, at a
time when only carry-on luggage was screened for weapons.
civilians were caught in the death trap, including Air France passengers, other
arriving parties, airport employees and even bystanders waiting behind the glass
wall for their returning family members.
Among the Israelis killed was
renowned scientist Aharon Katzir, whose brother, Ephraim Katzir, became
president a few years later.
Two of the three Japanese terrorists did not
survive the attack, while the lone surviving gunman, Kozo Okomato, was injured,
arrested by security forces and given a life sentence.
He was later freed
in the 1985 prisoner swap known as the Gibril Deal between Israel and the
According to Shurat HaDin, Pyongyang provided training and
funding for the Japanese Red Army, including sending advisers to train them at
terrorist bases in Lebanon, flying JRA and PFLP members to North Korea and
giving PFLP founder George Habash a state welcome.
As a result of North
Korea’s involvement, a civil damages case was filed in 2008, eventually leading
to the historic judgment rendered against it.