web analytics
September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



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
Sen. Ted Cruz acts senate for unanimous consent to pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act. Sept. 18, 2014.
Ds Reject Voting to Strip Citizenship From US Jihadi ISIS Volunteers
Latest News Stories
Drones in Israel Show

It doesn’t matter your age, and there’s no embarrassment in other boys knowing, boys like toys that fly and that make big, loud sound, or do other cool stuff. In fact, if the boys are smart, they make it look very serious, so they can play with the toys at work too. That’s when remote […]

British PM David Cameron meets with Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu

The people of Scotland have spoken: they will remain part of the United Kingdom.

Terrorists from Shuafat Refugee Camp opened fire at a home in Pisgat Ze’ev…

Iron Dome Missile Defense System protecting parts of southern Israel.

Defense official do not believe Hamas will actually begin shooting rockets at Israel over the next week or two.

Cruz sought but failed to obtain senate’s unanimous consent to pass Expatriate Terrorist Act of 2014.

Terror tunnel work accident leaves 1 terrorist dead.

The world’s oldest known Jewish prayer book, or siddur, was displayed for the first time to the general public at the Bible Lands Museum.

The cabinet is set to vote on the path of the security fence which would cut off Gush Etzion from Jerusalem as well as be a major eyesore.

UK Muslims are calling on ISIS to release British aid volunteer Alan Henning, whose life is now threatened by the group.

Border Police officers blocked an axe-toting Arab man from carrying out a terror attack near Jerusalem.

A Code Red incoming rocket alert was sounded for Gaza Belt and Ashkelon Coastal communities.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz says former Pres. Bill Clinton is wrong about PM Netanyahu.

A massive sting operation hauled in 15 suspects and foiled a plot by ISIS to hold a public beheading in Australia.

A 3-hour strike at Ben Gurion International Airport at check-in counters has delayed thousands.

Have you seen Menachem Bodner’s twin brother Jeno, or Jolli Gottesman? He’s out there.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
British PM David Cameron meets with Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu

The people of Scotland have spoken: they will remain part of the United Kingdom.

Sen. Ted Cruz acts senate for unanimous consent to pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act. Sept. 18, 2014.

Cruz sought but failed to obtain senate’s unanimous consent to pass Expatriate Terrorist Act of 2014.

British sports store fired security guard who barred Jewish kids from entering the store.

Arameans are now recognized as a distinct nationality in Israel.

Naftali Frenkel’s mother’s message for Rosh HaShana is for the Jewish people to remain united, as one family.

ISIS released a slick trailer warning Obama that the “Flames of War” are “coming soon.”

There were reports that ISIS shot down a Syrian regime’s war plane over its “capital,” Raqqa.

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: