web analytics
September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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
Logos of the Arab Bank
Arab Bank Found Liable for Hamas Terror Funding
Latest News Stories
Logos of the Arab Bank

After 2 days of deliberation by a jury, following a 5 week trial, and 10 years of legal battles, Jordan’s Arab Bank has been found guilty of helping Hamas financially.

The flag of ISIS

ISIS urged all Muslims to kill all non-Muslims, and referred to Kerry as an ‘uncircumcised old Geezer.’

The ISIS spokesman issued a statement that said the coalition led by the United States against ISIS was the “final campaign of the crusaders.”

A Muslim social media campaign against ISIS was begun by the British Active Change Foundation.

British Muslims launch social media campaign against ISIS, called #NotInMyName.

A seniors’ tennis team from New York is going to a court of law to keep from playing a tournament on Shabbat.

The cease-fire does not mean Hamas can’t prepare to end it.

“How can you separate politics and health? The two go hand-in-hand.” – editor of Lancet medical journal.

7:30 pm From the Ginot Shomron CTU Commander: Official Announcement regarding the security incident in Ginot Shomron today: There was a reported sighting of a suspect in Ginot this afternoon. The suspect was most probably a teenager with a paintball rifle. There were no injuries, no arrests and there are no suspects. The entire incident […]

For the record, Jewish law allows you only to hear on shofar at a time on Rosh HaShanah.

Add BDS to the long list of those who never will forgive Obama.

The Mossad international intelligence agency has launched a new website to recruit potentially qualified candidates.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announces that any citizen who went abroad to fight with jihad groups may as well stay there.

Kurdish fighters in Syria say they have stopped the advance of ISIS towards the town of Kobani near the Turkish border.

The US has allegedly sent military aid and intelligence to the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist organization, according to the NYT.

ISIS terrorists are preparing to defend captured territory and using human shields to do it, but they’re also living the high life with chocolate.

For the first time, Hezbollah has used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to bomb its enemies in Syria.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
The flag of ISIS

ISIS urged all Muslims to kill all non-Muslims, and referred to Kerry as an ‘uncircumcised old Geezer.’

A Muslim social media campaign against ISIS was begun by the British Active Change Foundation.

British Muslims launch social media campaign against ISIS, called #NotInMyName.

Canada will strip citizenship from those who travel abroad to join ISIS or other terrorist groups.

There are IDF officers whose job is to oversee all operations and endeavor to ensure the civilian population is protected.

Yemen, where the ‘Arab Spring’ begun, continues to be mired in turmoil and terror.

Only 30 % of European Jews will attend high holiday services; 1/4 fear wearing Jewish symbols.

This Monday, starting at 4:30 p.m. ET, a rally is taking place on the steps of Lincoln Center. The rally is intended to give a voice and add faces to the ongoing furor over the Metropolitan Opera staging a wildly anti-Semitic opera, “The Death of Klinghoffer.” The opera was first staged in 1991, and is […]

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

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: