My Right Word
25 August '10
For years I have been on to the efforts of anti-YESHA groups to hack away on the issue of tax-exemption.
It started when I joined Dassie Marcus and her fight against the major Jewish charities that refused to transfer funds ear-marked for YESHA in the mid-1980s and even twenty-years later. Even the JNF refused. They claimed the State Department prohibited that and we responded that that was illegal. We eventually won and even Federation funds came across the Green Line
More recently, Gush Shalom, Peace Now, Arab (here too) and even far-out right-wing groups have been complaining and combating in various ways. See here and here and also here. Here, too.
And now, there's a new development, bad (Obama administration thinks it is Nixonian) and good: Jews, Z Street in particular, are fighting back) even though it is not specifically a YESHA issue:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 25, 2010
IRS SUED FOR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ORGANIZATIONS
THAT DON’T SHARE ADMINISTRATION’S POSITIONS ON ISRAEL
Z STREET, a pro-Israel non-profit corporation, filed a lawsuit in federal court today charging that the IRS violated the organization’s First Amendment rights. The suit was filed after Z STREET was told by an IRS official that its application for tax-exempt status has been delayed because an IRS policy requires consideration of whether a group’s views on Israel differ from those of the current Administration.
“Not only is it patently un-American but it is also a clear violation of the First Amendment for a government agency to penalize an organization because of its political position on Israel or anything else,” said Z STREET president Lori Lowenthal Marcus, a former First Amendment lawyer. “This situation is the same as if the government denied a driver’s license to people because they were Republicans or Democrats. It goes against everything for which our country stands.”
Z STREET filed for tax-exempt status in January of this year and, despite having met all of the requirements for grant of this status, the application has been stalled. An IRS agent told Z STREET’s lawyers that the application was delayed because of a Special Israel Policy that requires greater scrutiny of organizations which have to do with Israel, in part to determine whether they espouse positions on Israel contrary to those of the current Administration.
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