IRS Agent Admits “Special Israel Policy” to Block Israel’s Supporters


The Z Street Logo

The Z Street Logo

Z STREET, a pro-Israel non-profit corporation, filed a lawsuit in federal court this week, charging that the IRS violated the organization’s First Amendment rights.  According to the lawsuit, Z STREET 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.

Z STREET filed for tax-exempt status in January of this year and, despite having met all of the requirements, 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 greater 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.

It is 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.  This situation is the same as if the government denied a driver’s license to people because they were Republicans or Democrats.   It is downright un-American.

Z STREET is a non-profit Zionist educational organization formed as a response to the founding by George Soros and others of the toxic J Street lobby that claims to be pro-Israel.   Z STREET proudly supports Israel’s right to refuse to negotiate with, make concessions to, or appease terrorists.   Z STREET’s positions on Israel, and on the Middle East “peace process” in particular, differ significantly from those espoused by the Obama administration.

If Z STREET had tax-exempt status, its donors would be able to deduct contributions from their taxable income.  The lawsuit alleges that the IRS’s refusal to grant tax-exempt status to Z STREET has inhibited the organization’s fundraising efforts, and therefore impeded its ability to speak and to educate the public regarding the issues that are the focus and purpose of Z STREET.

The lawsuit, Z STREET v. Shulman, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  A copy of the legal filing is posted on-line here: http://www.zstreet.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96:z-street-v-irs-commissioner&catid=5&Itemid=30>

If it is true that their application was being held up to accomodate a newly established special unit that investigates non-profit status only for any organization concerned with Israel, to examine their published positions  in the light of whether they conform to the policies of Obama’s White House, that would indeed be an outrageous violation of the First Amendment.

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