Who gave the IRS the idea of going after pro-Israel groups?
Eugene Kontorovich asks some important questions about IRS scrutiny of pro-Israel groups
One major question raised by the IRS scandal is where these ideas
came from. At least as far as Jewish groups go, the IRS scrutiny is not a
fluke. That is not to suggest it was ordered by the White House – that
is highly unlikely. At the same time, it certainly does not come out of
the blue. The past several years have seen a concerted campaign in the
mainstream liberal press to bring the IRS down upon certain pro-Israel
groups, particularly those that support activities in the West Bank (or
the Territories Formerly Occupied By Jordan).
For example, in 2009 David Ignatius had a story in the Washington Post, A Tax Break Fuels Middle East Friction.
“Critics of Israeli settlements question why American taxpayers are
supporting indirectly, through the exempt contributions, a process that
the government condemns,” he wrote. The Guardian in 2009 also had a piece calling for IRS action.
In 2010, the New York Times continued the theme
with a massive, expose-style front page story, which concluded that
while such tax breaks do not seem to be exactly illegal, it creates :a
surprising juxtaposition: As the American government seeks to end the
four-decade Jewish settlement enterprise and foster a Palestinian state
in the West Bank, the American Treasury helps sustain the settlements
through tax breaks on donations to support them.” The article then tried
to raise questions about whether such groups really satisfied U.S.
tax-deductible requirements, suggesting the IRS should look into them.
The activities the supported, the Times article suggests, were illegal
Picking up the gauntlet, J Street called on the IRS to “probe” groups that support settlements, despite there being no apparent violation of tax laws involved.
And last year, an op-ed in the Times
by Peter Beinart argued that “we should push to end Internal Revenue
Service policies that allow Americans to make tax-deductible gifts to
This is just a sampling: the notion that right wing Jewish groups
should be “probed” by the IRS because they do not line up with President
Obama’s (former?) absolutist anti-settlement policy is not a new one.
All the organs of intelligent opinion agreed that some generally right
wing Jewish groups need to be dealt with by the IRS because they
contradict government policy, not because of any evidence of tax fraud.
And surely IRS bosses read the Post and the Times; it may even be their
“absolute truth” as Times editor Jill Abramson memorably put it.
Hmmm. Definitely not a coincidence.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Internal Revenue Service, J Street, New York Times, Washington Post