Groups object to Holocaust insurance bills

An array of Jewish groups has written to congressional sponsors of bills that would revive Holocaust insurance claims to express objections.

The enactment of the bills “could be detrimental to the interests of survivors, delaying or even jeopardizing tangible, ongoing efforts to provide support for them,” say the letters sent this week to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who have sponsored versions of the Restoration of Legal Rights for Claimants Under Holocaust-Era Insurance Policies Act in their respective chambers.

The groups—including the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith International, the World Jewish Congress, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the World Jewish Restitution Organization—say the legislation would upset the promise of “legal peace” that has persuaded European entities to settle Holocaust claims.

The sponsors of the legislation, which has been backed by a number of Florida Jewish groups and trial lawyers, say the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, the body that settled such claims, was inadequate and compromised.

The legislation would address claims by successive U.S. administrations that settling such claims is an executive branch foreign policy prerogative and not a matter for the courts.