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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The IRS Declares Israel is a Terrorist State, So The US Constitution Can Be Ignored

The fact that the Obama administration is not a big fan of the First Amendment show itself every time Kathleen Sebelius threatens a company that speaks out against Obamacare.  But there are other ways they fight against people's right of free speech, the heavy hand of the IRS.

This past August Z Street filed a federal lawsuit against the IRS. The suit was filed after Z STREET (an Israel advocacy organization) was told by an IRS official that its application for tax-exempt status has been delayed because an IRS policy requires consideration of whether a group’s views on Israel differ from those of the current Administration.
“Not only is it patently un-American but it is also a clear violation of the First Amendment for a government agency to penalize an organization because of its political position on Israel or anything else,” said Z STREET president Lori Lowenthal Marcus, a former First Amendment lawyer. “This situation is the same as if the government denied a driver’s license to people because they were Republicans or Democrats. It goes against everything for which our country stands.”
Think about the implications of that policy, pro-life organizations wouldn't be able to receive funding because it is a different position than Obama, nor would small government PAC, or maybe even religious organizations that are different than the president's.

Z STREET filed for tax-exempt status in January of this year and, despite having met all of the requirements for grant of this status, the application has been stalled. An IRS agent told Z STREET’s lawyers that the application was delayed because of a Special Israel Policy that requires more intense scrutiny of organizations which have to do with Israel, in part to determine whether they espouse positions on Israel contrary to those of the current Administration.

Obviously tax-exempt status is important because donors would be able to deduct contributions from their taxable income. The IRS’s refusal to grant tax-exempt status to Z STREET  inhibited the organization‘s fundraising efforts, and impeded its ability to speak and to educate the public.

As part of defending itself against the lawsuit, the IRS has filed court papers defending itself, and giving the reasons for their attack on the first amendment. And their rationale is as whacko as their statements leading up to the suit.

In a signed affidavit, an IRS official explains that there is no "Israel Special Policy," instead it is a Terrorism Special Policy, and that Israel is included. That's right, Israel is a terrorist state because terrorism happens there. It doesn't matter that, Israel is the victim, (they're the IRS, they don't have to give a damn about facts) This brings moral equivalency to a whole new level. Every American should be screaming from the rooftops. The brief is here and the most significant of the IRS affidavits is here. The affidavit of the agent in charge of Z STREET's application is here. And you'll be shocked, shocked to learn that the government completely ignores having asked another organization whether that organization "supports the existence of Israel", and that organization's "religious beliefs about the land of Israel."  

Of course, that doesn't quite fit into their new defense. Nor, of course, the Constitution.  And the Obama administration doesn't really care about the Constitution.


10ksnooker said...

We have a problem we need to dispose of.

Andre (Canada) said...

Are you sure this story is not from "the Onion"? It is so unbelievable that it is hard to fathom anyone in the IRS taking this position with a straight face.
Of course, the IRS will eventually drop the case, as soon as Z Street has closed down for lack of funding.
Is 2012 here yet?

Paul Marks said...

The IRS will only drop the case if it is pushed to drop the case.

Something being absurd will not, on its own, stop them.

A classic example is when L.B.J. (then in Congress - but who kept close contact with the Executive branch of government) got the IRS to declare that churches who took an open (rather than disguised) political stance (endorsing candidates and so on)would lose their tax free status (Johnson reasoned, quite correctly, that churches on the left would be better at taking a disguised political stance, than churches on the right - who were used to being more open and up front).

The Johnson influenced IRS stance was absurd (churches had been openly endorsing candidates since the very start of the American Republic), however it remains "the law" to this day.

All it takes for an absurd position to become "law" and stay "law" is for there to be no great resistance to it.

Unknown said...

This is beyond ridiculous. Relax with the paranoia. The IRS asked about the position re the existence of the land of Israel for a very simple reason: it cannot give a tax exempt status to an organization that supports the destruction of Israel, and had they not been checking these things you would be claiming pretty much the same thing you are claiming now. It takes some serious will to flip this on its head, but apparently you do not lack that will. The religion question is even simpler: this was a group that asked for tax exempt status on religious grounds, which requires the IRS, under specific Supreme Court precedent, to inquire whether those beliefs are seriously held, NOT pass judgment on the validity of those beliefs. And if you think asking that question of Jews is absurd, think if you can find anti-zionist Jewish groups. If you can't, I can give you a list.
What you have here is an idiot IRS agent with poor communication skills. But I'm sure if you want to see demons you will see them everywhere you want to see them. It's just that I wish it was a little less hysterical.

And by the way, Who has the clearer agenda here, the White House against Israel, or Z Street against the White House? Don't bother answering. I know, Obama is a secret Muslim who hates whites, and Jews in particular, yes?