For attorney Gary Osen of Hackensack’s Osen LLC, the case against Arab Bank is the continuation of a career built on fighting for people who have been cast into the role of victims.
“It’s not who they want to be or how they want to be remembered,” he said. “This case provides them an opportunity to do something, to be proactive, and perhaps change the world just a little bit for the better and maybe salvage something from the circumstances that have been thrust on them.”
|Gary Osen File Photo|
Inspired by his father, attorney Max Osen, Mr. Osen began his career in Holocaust restitution. Max Osen came to the United States at age 11, fleeing from Nazi Germany. He returned in 1945 as a U.S. soldier, and after the war he received his law degree and began taking on restitution cases. When Gary Osen graduated from law school in 1992, his father took him to Germany to see properties that had been seized during the war, and the younger Osen became fascinated by the history behind his father’s cases, four of which were successfully resolved by Germany’s highest courts. Gary Osen began taking on additional cases, including those fighting for the return of stolen artwork.
“It’s never been boring and never been dull,” he said, “and along the way we’ve been able to help some people.”
Mr. Osen first got involved in terrorism law after the September 11, 2001, attacks, in which one of his neighbors had been killed. The family asked him to look into joining a lawsuit against al Qaeda, and his research on that case led him to begin focusing on Saudi Arabia’s global donations, particularly to Hamas.
“I saw in my research that the Saudis who funded al Qaeda were relatively clandestine because there was some pushback in the kingdom because of al Qaeda’s criticism of the Saudi royal family,” he said. “The funding of Hamas in the beginning of the century, however, was something largely encouraged and done openly. When the second intifada broke out, the Saudis infamously raised money for the intifada in a telethon and much of that was reported in the Arabic press.”
From Holocaust restitution to September 11 victims to Palestinian terrorism, “There’s no question that these cases have certain common themes,” Mr. Osen said. “Often, at least at the beginning, they seem to be a bit quixotic. We take great pride in trying to help people who haven’t had a lot of other places to turn.”