IRS May Have Targeted at Least Five Pro-Israel Nonprofits, Investigation Reveals
JNS.org – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), already the subject on an ongoing national scandal due to its admission of targeting conservative groups, may have also targeted at least five pro-Israel organizations in the auditing process, an investigation by the Washington Free Beacon revealed. Some of the organizations, which clashed with the Obama administration’s opposition to Israeli construction beyond the 1949 armistice lines (commonly known as the “Green Line”), allege that the administration purposefully coordinated the actions of the IRS.
It is not illegal for charitable organizations to contribute money to Israeli groups or people who live beyond the Green Line, but according to the Wall Street Journal, Z Street, a pro-Israel group in Pennsylvania, was told by the IRS in 2010 that its tax approval application was taking a long time because auditors were required to inspect more thoroughly any groups “connected with Israel… to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the administration’s public policies.”
In addition to IRS auditing, lobby groups aligned with the White House have criticized the organizations’ tax-exempt status in the media. “Our concern at that time was that these articles… may have reflected an evolving policy shift in the Obama administration to scrutinize charitable giving by organizations on behalf of Jewish communities and institutions over the Green Line,” said Jerusalem-based attorney Marc Zell, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Specifically, a New York Times cover story in July 2010 quoted Daniel Kurtzer, a senior Obama Middle East adviser, as saying charities donating to Jews living beyond the Green Line “drove us crazy.” HaYovel, one of the five pro-Israel groups reportedly targeted by the IRS, was the first group mentioned in the New York Times story.
“They really kind of focused on us,” HaYovel’s founder, Tommy Waller, told the Washington Free Beacon regarding the New York Times story. “Then six months later we had an [IRS] audit.”