Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tax Exempt Status Now Dependent On Toeing Line On Obama Israel Policy

Does your organization support the existence of the land of Israel?
Describe your organization’s belief system toward the land of Israel.
From a letter from the IRS to a religious Jewish organization

If you are a Jewish organization that does not agree with Obama's Israel policy: look out--the IRS may be after you. That is the message for pro-Israel organizations who stand up for Israel:

A hawkish pro-Israel group today filed a lawsuit against the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service containing the explosive allegation that the IRS is devoting special scrutiny to pro-Israel groups whose policies conflict with that of the Administration.

The group Z Street, intended as a conservative Zionist answer to the liberal J Street, says in its complaint that its counsel was informed that its status as a tax exempt group was delayed, and could be denied, because of that scrutiny.

Agent Diane Gentry told the group's lawyer that the IRS is "carefully scrutinizing organizations that are in any way connected with Israel," the complaint, filed in federal district court in Pennsylvania, says. "Agent Gentry further stated to counsel for Z STREET: 'these cases are being sent to a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization's activities contradict the Administration's public policies.'"
All this because Z Street takes a strong stand for Israel--see their About page.
Check out the Muqata, where Joe Settler points out that not only does J Street not have this problem, J Street has also found a way to get around the 501(c)(3) restriction against endorsing political candidates.

Then again, it's not as if J Street differs with Obama on Israel policy.
But if--like Z Street--you do not agree with Obama's policy, look out!

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