web analytics
August 1, 2014 / 5 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Visiting IDF bases and receiving briefings from IDF officers. Ultimate Mission – November 2014

Don’t miss this opportunity to explore Israel off the beaten track, feel the conflict first hand, understand the security issues and politic realities, and have an unforgettable trip!



If you won't play by the rules, you don't get the benefits

UPDATE Tax Exempt Status of Academics to Be Challenged over Boycott

A law professor will challenge the tax exempt status of the American Studies Association, because academic boycotts of Israeli universities is not in their mission statement or an activity privileged with tax exemption
Law Professor William Jacobson to challenge ASA's tax exempt status if it boycotts Israeli universities

Law Professor William Jacobson to challenge ASA's tax exempt status if it boycotts Israeli universities

SEE UPDATE AT END OF ARTICLE

Members of the American Studies Association, an academic group of university professors of American Studies, voted to approve an academic boycott of Israeli universities.

Its members vote tonight, Sunday, Dec. 15, on whether to ratify that decision.

But one legal academic will use Internal Revenue Service regulations in an effort to hamper anti-Israel activity.

The resolution on which the ASA members are voting calls on it

to support the call for boycott of Israeli universities in protest of the illegal occupation of Palestine, the infringements of the right to education of Palestinian students, and the academic freedom of Palestinian scholars and students in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel.

William A. Jacobson is a clinical professor at Cornell Law School.  He announced Sunday evening on his popular blog, Legal Insurrection, that if the ASA votes in favor of the boycott, he will challenge the ASA’s tax exempt status (I.R.C. § 501 (c)(3)).

His challenge has real teeth.

Jacobson logically points out that such a boycott would violate two essential legal standards of the ASA’s tax exempt status.

First, the ASA’s legal purpose as defined in its bylaws – an essential element in the application for an organization’s tax exempt status application – does not include an academic boycott of Israeli universities. According to the ASA’s mission statement, it is “devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.” Nothing about instituting boycotts of foreign universities there.

Second, an academic boycott of Israeli universities by the ASA exceeds the bounds of permissible activity under the §501(c)(3) requirements. Under this regulation, an exempt organization must be “organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable,…or educational purposes…”  An academic boycott of Israeli universities is beyond the scope of that legal boundary as well.

Jacobson also points to statements made by ASA members opposing the boycott which provide additional legal challenges to the ASA if the ASA boycott of Israel is ratified. For example, such a boycott may violate the New York State Human Rights Law as well as other anti-discrimination statutes. As the ASA opponents wrote:

In no other context does the ASA discriminate on the basis of national origin—and for good reason. This is discrimination pure and simple. Worse, it is also discrimination that inevitably diminishes the pursuit of knowledge, by discarding knowledge simply because it is produced by a certain group of people.

Jacobson told The Jewish Press Sunday evening that if the ASA ratifies the boycott resolution, his challenge to the tax exempt status of the ASA will be filed with the IRS in Washington, D.C. under the IRS Whistleblower Act, 26 U.S.C. § 7623. The Cornell professor has already engaged the services of an expert in the laws governing non-profit organizations to represent him in this legal challenge.

A final very important point: Jacobson makes clear his challenge has nothing to do with an infringement on the free speech rights of anyone or any organization.  His challenge, instead, is simply an effort to ensure that if the ASA chooses to act beyond the bounds of what is permitted for tax exempt organizations, it cannot expect to continue to benefit from tax exempt status.

UPDATE: Sunday evening, Dec. 15, the American Studies Association voted to ratify the boycott of Israeli universities. As Jacobson noted, although the vote was 2/3s in favor, 1/3 opposed, only one-quarter of the total ASA membership voted.  In other words, just 16 percent of American Studies professors in the official professional organization voted to boycott Israeli universities, but that boycott is now in effect.

EFFECT OF THE BOYCOTT

In practice, the boycott will have very little application beyond the ASA itself not being able to formally collaborate with Israeli universities, or with scholars who represent those universities, or with representatives of the Israeli government.

The boycott is non-binding on individual members of the ASA, and it does not apply to individual Israeli academics, so long as they are neither representatives of the Israeli government or of Israeli academic institutions.

The position of the ASA seems to be that the boycott shall remain in effect until, in their view, the Israeli “occupation” ends and equal rights are extended to Palestinian Arabs.

No mention about the fact that there were no academic institutions of higher learning until the “occupation” began, and that illiteracy rates have plummeted since the “occupation” began.

Professor Jacobson told The Jewish Press he will file his challenge to the ASA very soon, either later this week or next week.

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.


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 “UPDATE Tax Exempt Status of Academics to Be Challenged over Boycott”

  1. Prof. Jacobson should be warned that he is opening a can of worms since there are a considerable number of Jewish organizations whose tax-exempt status might be open to question since their mission statements say nothing about providing funds for illegal Jewish settlements oin the Occupied Palestinian West Bank.

  2. Robert Elias Abu Shanab says:

    I wonder if the ASA resolution were to boycott the Palestinians living under brutal occupation instead of Israel, then would this person follow similar challenge?

  3. Bill Bilek says:

    Perhaps Jeff Blankfort could also tell us when the settlements were adjudicated by an internationally recognized juridical body to be ” illegal”, or when, or by what law or legal process did the disputed territories become “Palestinian”?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
An anti-Semitic poster seen in Europe.
Belgian Doctor to Jewish Woman: Go to Gaza, I Won’t Treat You
Latest News Stories
An anti-Semitic poster seen in Europe.

More ugly anti-Semitism in Europe, with the Gaza war serving as the wick for the firebombs of hatred.

caveman cease fire

Anyone taking bets on how long this cease fire will last, and how many rockets will be fired up to the last minute?

A site where a rocket hit in Ashdod, July 14, 2014.

As Gaza terrorists continue to ‘carpet-rocket’ Israel, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and US Secy of State John Kerry plan another cease fire.

Shuka Dorfman, head of the Israel Antiquities Authority, has passed away at 64 after a serious illness.

There can only be a finite number of tunnels, but the IDF keeps finding more of them…

Israel’s Chief Rabbis give ruling exempting IDF soldiers from fasting on Tisha B’Av.

8:00pm In the mortar attack on the Eshkol region, 10 people were wounded by a Gazan mortar, 6 in serious condition.

Life Lesson #1: Don’t go outside to photograph the Iron Dome system overhead if you don’t have to…

Obama has chosen shaky ally on the way out over strong ally solidly in the American orbit.

“Pro-Palestinian” activists continue to target Jews around the world; Aussie commentator: Where outrage about beheadings in Syria?

An Israeli-Arab Bedouin Sheikh arrives at Beer Sheva Saroka hospital yesterday to distribute flowers to wounded IDF soldiers. Each flower had a note attached to it, “We’re all in this together”.

Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau likens Hamas and Israel with Al Qaeda and the United States; says “no talks with Hamas.”

Video: Residents of Ma’aleh Adumim catch Palestinians illegally entering Israel, report incident to police.

Eight were wounded midday Thursday when Hamas shelled the Eshkol district near the Gaza border.

Tourism Minister Uzi Landau compared Israel’s relationship with Hamas to America’s relationship with Al Qaeda.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
An anti-Semitic poster seen in Europe.

More ugly anti-Semitism in Europe, with the Gaza war serving as the wick for the firebombs of hatred.

U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel.

With all the violent hot spots around the world, only the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv reduced visa services.

Former head of German Jewry warns Jews of danger and decries others for silent complicity.

UNRWA spokesman wouldn’t say whose rockets were found in its schools for the third time.

In an alleged conversation, Obama demanded Israel agree to ceasefire, accept enemies as mediators.

Kerry’s performance panned by Israeli public, media, and even the PA. Why fury directed only at the Israeli government?

Calling for a global recitation of the Shema at 12:00 noon EST, 7:00 a.m. PST, 7:00 p.m. in Israel.

The UN Security Council wants a cease fire now. The focus is on the safety of Gaza civilians, but not Israel’s security.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/law-prof-will-challenge-tax-exempt-status-if-asa-votes-to-boycott-israel/2013/12/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: