web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



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

Share Button

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.

Share Button

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.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

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

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest News Stories
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden

Many Pakistanis consider bin Laden a “hero of Islam.”

Two major obstacles have kept Israel from joining the program: Allegations by U.S. officials that Israel has discriminated against Arab- and Muslim-Americans seeking entry, and a proliferation of young Israelis traveling to the United States as tourists and then working illegally.

A Lebanese man who was arrested in Thailand on suspicion of belonging to Hezbollah admitted to targeting Israelis, Thai media reported.

On Friday afternoon, Syrian fighter jets hit opposition/rebel targets and villages on the Syrian side of the Ramat HaGolan (Golan Heights), in the Quneitra region. Large pillars of smoke are seen rising from struck areas. Quneitra is the site of an official crossing between Syria and Israel on the Golan. IAF jets were sent out […]

As Rabbi Stav said, “You’re free to think what you want. But do you want me to recognize Chelsea Clinton’s child as a Jew?”

Chimpanzees and Orangutans eat Matza, unleavened bread traditionally eaten during the Passover holiday, at the Ramat Gan Safari on Thursday, April 17, 2014. I hope they can digest it. On Passover no leavened bread (Chametz) is allowed in Jewish possession, and that includes food we feed our animals.

Following intelligence reports of further expected Arab rioting and violence on the Temple Mount today, the police have placed restrictions on Muslim entry to the Jewish holy site, according to a report on Arutz-7. Entry will be limited to Muslims over the age of 50, and women, also they must be Israeli citizens or residency […]

PA President Abbas’s refusal to publicly condemn the terror attack that killed Baruch Mizrachi is putting a damper on the parade.

The Shas political party, founded and run by the late Rav Ovadia Yosef, has a appointed a new spiritual leader, according to a Galei Tzahal report. The rabbi chosen to replace Harav Ovadia and be the new president of the party’s Council of Torah Sages is Rabbi Shalom Cohen. Aryeh Deri is the political leader […]

In 1941, the Jews of Kiev received a similar leaflet. When they showed up the next day, more than 34,000 were murdered.

Teen stabbed in South Florida high school.

The Kotel Plaza, the stairs, the Kotel entrance, the roads, everything was packed for Birkat Cohanim – the Priestly Blessing of the People – now imagine if this had been held on top of Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount!

Four Israeli citizens were hurt Thursday in a road terror attack near Tekoa in Gush Etzion.

Israel Police closed access to the Temple Mount to Jews and other non-Muslims on Thursday due to Arab violence.

Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine this week were ordered to “register” themselves and their assets.

U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk is on his way back to the region to revive talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden

Many Pakistanis consider bin Laden a “hero of Islam.”

Flyers ordered Jews to appear at a designated location in Ukraine, in Sept., 1941. The next day, the Jews lined up at the Babi Yar Ravine.

In 1941, the Jews of Kiev received a similar leaflet. When they showed up the next day, more than 34,000 were murdered.

Teen stabbed in South Florida high school.

Ron Pundak was involved in many leftist “peace” initiatives. Pundak died on Friday.

Another failed anti-Israel Divestment measure. This one at Cornell University.

The US may pretend it was forced to give up Pollard, but it is US that most wants to continue talks.

Hirsi Ali’s critics wanted her silenced; Brandeis granted their wish.

Brandeis buckled to those who embrace diversity and tolerance only of their own views.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    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: