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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Z Street sues the IRS

Z Street, the pro-Israel group that was founded at the University of Pennsylvania to fight against J Street, is suing the IRS. The introduction to the complaint tells you about all you need to know:
The plaintiff in this case, Z STREET, is a nonprofit organization devoted to educating the public about the facts relating to the Middle East, and that relate to the existence of Israel as a Jewish State, and Israel’s right to refuse to negotiate with, make concessions to, or appease terrorists. The case is brought because, through its corporate counsel, Z STREET was informed explicitly by an IRS Agent on July 19, 2010, that approval of Z STREET’s application for tax-exempt status has been at least delayed, and may be denied because of a special IRS policy in place regarding organizations in any way connected with Israel, and further that the applications of many such Israel-related organizations have been assigned to “a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization's activities contradict the Administration's public policies.” These statements by an IRS official that the IRS maintains special policies (hereinafter the “Israel Special Policy”) governing applications for tax-exempt status by organizations which deal with Israel, and which requires particularly intense scrutiny of such applications and an enhanced risk of denial if made by organizations which espouse or support positions inconsistent with the Obama administration’s Israel policies, constitute an explicit admission of the crudest form of viewpoint discrimination, and one which is both totally un-American and flatly unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

Z STREET brings this case seeking a Declaratory Judgment that the Israel Special Policy violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; and for injunctive relief barring application of the Israel Special Policy to Z STREET’s application for tax-exempt status or to similar applications by any other organization; and to compel full public disclosure regarding the origin, development, approval, substance and application of the Israel Special Policy.
Ben Smith of Politico reports that the IRS has refused comment on the case.


At 2:41 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

What will be the next issue for the IRS, living in the US while jewish?

This is beyond ridiculous. Part of me hopes this is just a significant misunderstanding by an IRS official.

Part of me is asking why this government is turning on the jewish people.

And part of me is wondering if our welcome is getting worn out here.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The IRS policy is illegal. It can only revoke non-profit status on certain technical grounds. But as with Nixon, Obama may have decided to use the IRS to go after the Administration's political enemies.

And if that is the case, there is much worse to come. Let's hope the IRS official spoke out of line than representing a new IRS policy towards non-profits.


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