Isn’t it more accurate to state that the Israeli-Arab Palestinian conflict can only be resolved if both sides are clearly committed to reaching the same goal: peace?
J STREET’S CAMEO IN THE CURRENT IRS CONTROVERSY
If J Street is not firmly and primarily focused on ensuring there be peace in the Middle East, but is instead only committed to the creation of a Palestinian State, is it appropriate for J Street to use its American-granted tax-exempt status to attempt to interfere with the government policies of a foreign government?
Tax experts tell The Jewish Press that the permissibility of political activity focused on changing the law of a foreign government is a gray area, one not contemplated in the Internal Revenue Code. Fair enough. But the lack of a clear red line did not stop J Street from calling on the U.S. government to scrutinize legitimate U.S. organizations which dared to support policies J Street does not support, even when those policies were not illegal and not impermissible under the tax code.
J Street’s current call for American interference in – and subtle threats directed toward – the Israeli government for failing to mouth J Street’s mantra is especially galling, given J Street’s very public 2010 – does that date sound familiar? – urging of the U.S. government to launch investigations into groups with tax exempt status which support “settlement activity” in the “West Bank.”
On July 6, 2010, J Street issued the following statement:
J Street calls on the United States Treasury Department and relevant Congressional bodies to launch thorough investigations into whether or not the organizations funding settlement activities on the West Bank named in today’s New York Times report have broken the law.
The alleged links between the named organizations and former officials and donors associated with far-right Jewish groups that are classified as terrorist organizations by the State Department provide a reasonable starting point for an investigation. J Street reiterates our ongoing concern over the intention and impact of American organizations and individuals that fundraise for settlement activity over the Green Line, including for many outposts that even the Israeli government considers illegal. Ongoing settlement construction is diminishing the chances of a two-state solution and endangering Israel’s very future as a Jewish, democratic home. Funding such activity is both irresponsible and provocative.
You know what is really irresponsible and provocative? Demanding the Israeli government place a priority on the creation of a Palestinian State when there is no credible evidence it will be anything but a terrorist entity.
Maybe while congress is looking into abusive tactics by the IRS it might also want to launch a separate investigation into tax exempt organizations seeking to promote the immediate creation of a terrorist state right next door to our closest ally in the Middle East.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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