web analytics
May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


FOIA Request: Did IRS Maliciously Audit Pro-Israel Organization?

Several pro-Israel organizations were audited immediately after a New York Times article suggested organizations should not receive tax exempt status if they provide support to Jews living beyond the "Green Line."
HaYovel is a pro-Israel non-profit organization on behalf of which a FOIA request was filed on the IRS.

HaYovel is a pro-Israel non-profit organization on behalf of which a FOIA request was filed on the IRS.
Photo Credit: Hayovel.com

Once again the alleged politicization of the Internal Revenue Service under the current U.S. administration is in the news.

Most of the attention, certainly by those in Washington, D.C., has been on politically conservative organizations such as Tea Party  groups, which claim discriminatory treatment at the hands of the IRS. However, a certain and very specific slice of pro-Israel non-profit organizations have also claimed victimization at the hands of the IRS.

On Wednesday, February 26, legal representatives for HaYovel, filed several Freedom of Information Act requests. HaYovel is a Nashville-based tax-exempt organization which provides volunteers to work in Jewish-owned vineyards in Judea and Samaria.

The FOIA requests were directed to the IRS, the Treasury Department and the State Department, and seek information relating to an oddly-timed and allegedly politically motivated audit by the IRS. The audit came in December, 2010, a few months after the organization was featured prominently in a July 5, 2010 New York Times article titled Tax-Exempt Funds Aid Settlements in West Bank.

The FOIA requests seek to determine whether there is a connection between the New York Times article, the current administration’s policies with regard to Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, and the 2010 HaYovel audit. There were four other non-profit, tax-exempt pro-Israel organizations which claim to also have received surprising audits shortly after the New York Times article raised the issue of whether U.S. charities which support entities beyond the 1949 Armistice Line (the so-called Green Line) should be entitled to tax-exempt status. The other four have refused to be publicly identified for fear of further alleged retribution by the IRS.

Those five pro-Israel organizations which were subject to allegedly maliciously-motivated audits, and a sixth one, which experienced a different form of treatment it claims violated its constitutional rights, are pro-Israel organizations which recognize and support Jews living in Judea and Samaria, popularly referred to as the “West Bank.”

Unlike many other pro-Israel organizations, and nearly all pro-Palestinian Arab organizations, those six support the right of all people to live in that territory, whether Jewish, Muslim or Christian. And that is the reason the New York Times article was critical of the organizations it named, and similarly situated ones.

The sixth pro-Israel organization which claimed discriminatory treatment by the IRS is Z STREET.* That organization is in a different situation than the others. That is because, as a brand new organization, it had only filed for tax-exempt status with the IRS in December, 2009, and its file was just being reviewed by the IRS agent to whom its file had been assigned, when the July, 2010 New York Times article was published.

Of course the New York Times is not empowered to direct activity by any branch of government, but pundits and others wondered whether the article did influence IRS activity.

Z STREET brought a lawsuit against the IRS in August of 2010, seeking to find out why its application was given “special scrutiny,” and to have the court order that its tax-exempt application be given a constitutionally untainted review.

It is the request for mandated action by the IRS (an untainted review of its request for tax exemption) that prevents a FOIA request from granting relief to Z STREET, unlike the other groups which already had received tax-exempt status.

The law firms which filed the FOIA requests for HaYovel are the Liberty Institute and the Washington, D.C. law firm Bancroft PLLC.

*The author of this article founded and was the president of Z STREET.

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. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

4 Responses to “FOIA Request: Did IRS Maliciously Audit Pro-Israel Organization?”

  1. Gene Ralno says:

    I wonder if the American people will follow Martin Niemöller's words that now have become a bit of a prophecy. Recall he said "First they came for me…" His outrage was against non-Nazi intellectuals who idled themselves in full view of the atrocities. Recall too that his oppression began slowly and was based on democratic elections seeded with seemingly innocuous political maneuvering. Sound familiar?

  2. Is there no depth of slime the Obama administration will not sink to, in order to 'shut up' anyone who does not agree with and march in lock step with its communization and Muslimization of the United States of America and the elimination of the State of Israel.

  3. Judea and Samaria will get used to work themselves although some will suffer for a while. I am sure your government will stand with you!

  4. Stuart Kaufman says:

    In October, we were in Itamar, picking grapes with Tommy Waller, the founder of Hayovel. A more worthy or moral organization I cannot even begin to imagine. Those who try to torment people such as Tommy Waller and others who believe that Judea and Samaria belong to the Jewish people will be cursed and destroyed.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Former Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky serves today as the Jewish Agency for Israel's Chairman of the Executive.
Jewish Agency’s Natan Sharansky Speaks Up for Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
Latest News Stories
Former Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky serves today as the Jewish Agency for Israel's Chairman of the Executive.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky expresses his firm support for Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.

Elephants in the Water

With temperatures soaring, everyone is getting in the water…

Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems deployed in a military exercise.

Russia closed its deal Monday to deliver the powerful S-300 missile defense system to Iran… eventually.

Flash flooding in Israel. (illustrative only)

Flash floods and more rain in Texas means a rising death toll and desperate people searching in kayaks.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Netanyahu government voted Wednesday to form a new ministerial committee on Arab affairs.

Shurat HaDin calls for expulsion of PA soccer chief Rajoub for inciting terror – hours before Swiss arrests of FIFA officials for various charges of corruption.

Rabbi Riskin believes the Rabbinate must be prepared to accept Halachic decisions that aren’t Ultra-Orthodox.

The case also called for banning the sale of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo and the Liberation newspaper in Egypt over “blasphemy against Prophet Mohamed.”

Saed Erekat: Israel first must agree to all of our terms before we negotiate.

The temperature is expected to reach extreme levels today, drink water.

“In the chaos of the conflict… Hamas…granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuse, amounting to war crimes.”

The Israeli Air Force responded to a rocket attack from Gaza by striking terrorist sites within the Strip.

Information on more than 100,000 US taxpayers was stolen by hackers who breached the IRS.

Hamas terrorist leaders are hiding again as Israel considers a response to Tuesday’s rocket attack.

“In the chaos of the conflict… Hamas…granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuse, amounting to war crimes.”

Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin plans appeal to Supreme Court over fight to stay in his position; city’s mayor also vows support.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister, inside the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, 1948

The Israeli Air Force responded to a rocket attack from Gaza by striking terrorist sites within the Strip.

The city of Palmyra in Syria was captured by ISIS on May 21, 2015.

This week ISIS captured two major cities, one in Iraq, one in Syria. Assad’s escape plan revealed.

Liberman apologizes for describing Netanyahu’s decision to meet with head of Arab Joint Party List as “autistic.”

Was the flub the result of the snub, or was Obama simply inadequately prepared for his meeting with the Saudi princes?

U.S. government documents reveal government knew within days terrorists were behind Benghazi attacks

Shaked: ‘ the judiciary, rather than the elected representatives of the people, wield the power to govern’

Yom Yerushalayim brought out lots of students, adults and supporters of Israel.

ISIS leader killed in raid by U.S. commandos, now ISIS ‘threatening to kill Obama and Christians.’

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/foia-request-did-irs-maliciously-audit-pro-israel-organization/2014/02/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: