Palestinians have a master plan to hurt Israel in every possible way—militarily, politically, economically and now, financially. Part of the Palestinian moves against Israel involves both the IRS and the US Department of the Treasury.
Two American Arabs and an American Jew have filed a lawsuit against the US Treasury for not supervising nonprofit groups that are giving money to Israel. The suit accuses the United States of aiding terrorism because Israeli organizations have “friends of” offices in the US. These offices, the plaintiffs claim, raise money that is donated to Israeli causes (and everything Israeli is, according to their world view, a component of terror). And these agencies are tax exempt.
The plan will not succeed, but it will be annoying.
The “friends of” groups mentioned in the suit are neither terrorist supporters nor are they racists. They do however have vastly different agendas than the three people bringing the suit who find themselves squarely in the anti-Israel camp.
The pro-Israel “friends of” groups receiving the monies are not specifically named in the suit. They are brought forth as examples of violations of US law and Treasury rules for tax-free donation.
The complaint is 72 pages long and was formally submitted on December 16th. It claims that over $1 billion a year of US money goes to illegal causes and is tax deducted. The complaint argues that that money should be taxable and that the gifts are illegal because they support terror.
The defendants include, Friends of IDF, Friends of Ariel University, The Hebron Fund and The Gush Etzion Foundationi. The case asserts that, because of the status of these groups, up to a trillion dollars of tax money has been lost over the past few decades (although no real math is actually given). Like the Palestinian master plan, this suit has no merit and will likely be thrown out. Still, it is disturbing.
The central problem with the case is that it is not actually based on law or on US Department of Treasury procedure. The suit’s arguments are all predicated on the assumption that everything that Israel does is illegal and violates international law. That Israel’s very existence is a violation of Palestinian rights and everything the Jewish state does defending itself is supposedly terror.
“U.S. tax-exempt entities,” the complaint reads, “and their donors, settlement leaders, and the construction companies they hired to build housing developments and shopping malls can all be criminally prosecuted because they have conspired to fund, facilitate, trespass on, demolish and/or confiscate private Palestinian property, all in the name of settlement expansion.”
According to an attorney for the plaintiffs: “Huge tax deductions are being taken that support ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Guess who picks up the tab? The American taxpayer. There’s something wrong with that. ”
The people behind this suit want these “friends of” groups to be called “special designated global terrorists,” stripping them of their tax-exempt status and freezing their assets.
What is the suit really trying to say? It is trying to say that since the United States has already termed certain Palestinian groups as terrorist organizations, the US Treasury should now do the same for Israeli groups. Why? Because as is written in their suit: “the entities cannot promote or finance racially or religiously discriminatory practices, nor can they violate federal statutes in the process of raising funds and/or transmitting the funds overseas.”
It is a foolish lawsuit. But just because it lacks merit does not mean it will go away easily. This lawsuit clearly demonstrates that the Palestinians and their supporters, like those in the BDS movement, are becoming even more creative in their attacks against Israel. They are trying a new way to hurt Israel in the pocket book.