Jewish and Israeli news sources world-wide are reporting on the possible denial of tax-exempt status for the pro-Israel organization “Z Street”, founded in 2009 by Lori Lowenthal Marcus to counter the arguably anti-Israel organization, “J Street”, which does have tax exempt status. Reporting on this have been the JTA, Globes, an Israeli business journal,Arutz Sheva, Politico, and the World Tribune.
“Z Street” filed a lawsuit against the IRS on 25 August, 2010.
“Z Street” is an organization that supports Israel’s right to refuse to “negotiate with, make concessions to, or appease terrorists.” According to the World Tribune, in January 2010, “Z Street” applied to the IRS for tax-exempt status, granted to non-profit organizations that engage in educational activities. Five months later, the suit said, IRS agent Diane Gentry requested additional information on “Z Street”, including personal information on each board member. “Z Street” said Ms. Gentry refused to respond to several inquiries regarding the group’s application.
Upon her response, when it came, Agent Gentry hemmed and hawed some in her actions, first citing doubts about the educational activities of “Z Street”.
What likely prompted the lawsuit was the admission by Agent Gentry on July 19, 2010, where, according to “Z Street’s” lawsuit, she talked of the IRS’s special concern about applications from organizations whose activities are related to Israel, and that are organizations whose positions contradict the US Administration’s Israeli policy.
In addition there was an apparent admission that “the applications of many such Israel-related organizations have been assigned to ‘a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the administration’s public policies.’”
Apparently, the new policy in Washington is that those who disagree with President Obama will be discriminated against — in law and in fact.