web analytics
April 21, 2015 / 2 Iyar, 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
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein
My Encounter with Rav Lichtenstein
Latest News Stories
Prague-bound El Al plane returned to Ben Gurion Airport after part of the landing blew came apart during take-off.

A plane is returning after its landing gear was found on the runway.

Police have closed the entrance to Alon Shvut, where eulogies for Har Etzion Yeshiva Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein will begin around 10 a.m. Rabbi Lichtenstein, who lived in Alon Shvut, died on Monday at the age of 81. Thousands of mourners who are expected to attend the eulogies and burial may park their cars in the […]

Amb. Thomas Pickering testified before the  House Armed Services Committee,  about Iran's nuclear program on June 19, 2014.

Forget about Israel, doesn’t Brandeis care about Iran’s abysmal human rights record?

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming towards the Yemeni coast to intercept Iranian ships believed to be supplying the Houthi rebels. April 20, 2015.

As Iran may be re-supplying the Houthis, US warships steam towards Yemen.

A Jewish man with a Russian accent stabbed an Arab worker Monday in Herzliya, next to Tel Aviv, while yelling “Death to Arabs,” police said. The attacker confessed that he intentionally targeted an Arab. The victim suffered light wounds in his shoulder, was treated on the scene and hospitalized. The assailant is a resident of […]

if Iran tries to move a Russian s-300 antimissile system to Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel will make sure it doesn’t get there.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his sorrow over the passing of Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein Monday. “Rabbi Lichtenstein’s knowledge found expression in his literary works. He served generations of students,” said the Prime Minister. He added, “When I gave him the Israel Prize a year ago, I saw before my eyes a great rabbi, teacher and […]

“Sexual violence in conflict has become a weapon of choice because it is cheap, silent and effective.”

Saudi Arabia has posted an alert of a possible terror attack on Aramco’s oil facilities and malls in the capital of Riyadh, Bloomberg News reported Monday morning. “We have informed security forces to be on alert and to take any necessary security procedures [against] a possible terrorist attack attempt,” spokesman General Mansour al-Turki told the […]

President Reuven Rivlin granted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu two more weeks Monday morning to form a new government coalition after negotiations with different t parties have not produced a positive result. Rivlin really had no other choice. He would like to see a national unity government with the Likud and the Zionist Union, the euphemism […]

He followed and spread the teachings of his late father-in-law, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.

An Egyptian court has sentenced an Egyptian man and two Israeli citizens to life in prison for allegedly spying for Israel. The Israeli citizens were sentenced in absentia, and are unlikely to travel to Egypt to serve their sentences. The Egyptian man, Salama Muhammed Saliman, was convicted of giving the two Israelis information regarding both […]

Netanyahu met with children of parents who lost their lives in service to the State of Israel.

Bennett drew his red line on Twitter, but don’t worry. There is a Jewish solution.

Former chief Rome Rabbi Elio Toaff died on Sunday the age of 99, two weeks before what was supposed to be his 100th birthday. He served as chief rabbi of the city for 51 years until 2002 after having served as the chief rabbi of Venice. Rabbi Toaf once prayed with Pope John Paul II, […]

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
Amb. Thomas Pickering testified before the  House Armed Services Committee,  about Iran's nuclear program on June 19, 2014.

Forget about Israel, doesn’t Brandeis care about Iran’s abysmal human rights record?

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming towards the Yemeni coast to intercept Iranian ships believed to be supplying the Houthi rebels. April 20, 2015.

As Iran may be re-supplying the Houthis, US warships steam towards Yemen.

Netanyahu met with children of parents who lost their lives in service to the State of Israel.

Once again a Palestinian Arab journalist sought money for the PA during a State Dept. press briefing

ISIS brutally murders African Christians, blaming Christians for Muslim murders throughout the world.

Childhood cancer rates in Haifa are much higher than in the rest of Israel, air pollution is blamed.

Obama to maintain phased-in sanctions relief pegged to compliance; he’ll give Iran a huge signing bonus instead!

First thwarted at the Israeli polls, now V15 funder’s “healthy” bars are also losers.

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: