Lori Lowenthal Marcus, the founder of Z Street who filed a lawsuit against the IRS, notes that “the very first hearing in Z STREET v IRS was recently scheduled for the afternoon of Tuesday, July 2,  in the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia.” If Marcus were not a lawyer herself and very persistent, there would be no appeal for Z Street. And need I point out that justice delayed is justice denied?
21. [IRS] Agent [Diane] Gentry also informed Z STREET’s counsel that the IRS is carefully scrutinizing organizations that are in any way connected with Israel.
22. Agent Gentry further stated to counsel for Z STREET: “these cases are being sent to a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.”
a. The application indicated that Z Street could be providing resources to organizations within Israel or facilitating the provision of resources to organizations within the state of Israel;
b. Israel is one of many Middle Eastern countries that have a “higher risk of terrorism.” (LR.M. 126.96.36.199.5.2(1). See also http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2008/122433.htm); and
c. A referral to TAG is appropriate whenever an application mentions providing resources to organizations in a country with a higher risk of terrorism.
And at least one purely religious Jewish organization, one not focused on Israel, was the recipient of bizarre and highly inappropriate questions about Israel. Those questions also came from the same non-profit division of the IRS at issue for inappropriately targeting politically conservative groups. The IRS required that Jewish organization to state “whether [it] supports the existence of the land of Israel,” and also demanded the organization “[d]escribe [its] religious belief system toward the land of Israel.”
Three years ago, long before this week’s scandal broke, (Carl) reported that the IRS was holding up the registration of the pro-Israel group Z Street as a tax-exempt organization. Z Street sued the IRS, and in court it introduced a letter from the IRS asking whether it supported Israel. The next court date in that case is July 2, but in the meantime the IRS is facing a much larger scandal in which pro-Israel organizations may only be a small part (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
In a conference call with reporters last week, the IRS official responsible for granting tax-exempt status said that it was a mistake to subject Tea Party groups to additional scrutiny based solely on the organization’s name. But she said ideology played no part in the process.
“The selection of these cases where they used the names was not a partisan selection,” said Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations. She said progressive groups were also selected for greater scrutiny based on their names, but did not provide details. “I don’t have them off the top of my head,” she said.
The IRS did not respond to follow-up questions Tuesday.
Congressional critics say the IRS’s actions suggest a political motives: “This administration seems to have a culture of politics above all else,” said Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas. “A lot of the actions they take have a political side first, and put government second.”
Flores complained to the IRS last year after the Waco Tea Party’s tax-exempt application was mired in red tape. The IRS asked the group for information that was “overreaching and impossible to comply with,” Flores said: Transcripts of radio interviews, copies of social media posts and details on “close relationships” with political candidates.
When Flores complained last year — asking pointed questions about the IRS treatment of Tea Party groups — the IRS response didn’t acknowledge that it had treated conservative groups differently. “They did more than sidestep the issue,” he said. “They flipped me the finger.”
Before the IRS started separating out Tea Party applications, getting tax-exempt status was routine — even for conservative groups. The Champaign Tea Party’s treasurer, Karen Olsen, said the process was smooth, with no follow-up questions from the IRS.
Politico suggests that pro-Israel groups were also targeted.
The same Internal Revenue Service office that singled out Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny also challenged Israel-related organizations, at least one of which filed suit over the agency’s handling of its application for tax-exempt status.
The trouble for the Israel-focused groups seems to have had different origins than that experienced by conservative groups, but at times the effort seems to have been equally ham-handed.
Legal filings show that the problems for Z Street — and apparently for other Israel-related groups — stemmed from an obscure unit in the Cincinnati IRS office: the “Touch and Go Group.” One of the so-called TAG Group’s duties was to weed out applications that might be coming from organizations which might be used to fund terrorism.
In response to Z Street’s lawsuit, an IRS manager acknowledged that applications mentioning Israel were getting special attention.
“Israel is one of many Middle Eastern countries that have a ‘higher risk of terrorism,’” wrote Jon Waddell, manager of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Determinations Group. “A referral to TAG is appropriate whenever an application mentions providing resources to organizations in a country with a higher risk of terrorism.”
However, Z Street and other groups reported getting unusual inquiries from the IRS. A Z Street lawyer was contacted by a Jewish religious group, which detailed inquiries from the IRS that the group’s leaders thought had treaded too far.
“Does your organization support the existence of the land of Israel? Describe your organization’s religious belief system towards the land of Israel,” the IRS asked in a letter sent to the religious group, which asked not to be named.
“If they’re asking that of that group, what else are they asking?” Lowenthal Marcus asked.
She said basing the review for terrorism on where an organization did business was strange and ineffective.
“If their policy was to look at any organization that had anything to do with a country where terrorism exists, I don’t see how that limits anything,” Lowenthal Marcus said. “There’s been terrorism in the United States, in the United Kingdom, in Canada, in Malaysia….and in Boston. Is that now going to be on the list?”
In court filings in the Z Street case, the Obama administration has denied that the IRS is discriminating against groups that disagree with Obama administration policies.
In court papers, the IRS denied that its personnel ever told Z Street that there was a special review for groups that might be at odds with Obama administration policy. The tax agency contended that the issue was whether the groups might violate “public policy” — a legal term of art for the notion that the government shouldn’t bestow a benefit on an individual or organization engaged in illegal activity like terrorism, or in an officially disfavored activity such as racial discrimination.
“The application was not transferred to TAG because of an ‘Israel special policy’ or because Z Street’s views on Israel contradict the Obama administration’s views on Israel,” the Justice Department wrote in a brief seeking dismissal of Z Street’s lawsuit.
President Obama promises to put U.S. troops in the Sinai without asking Congress? you ready for a real f’n disaster? Welcome to a bloodbath of Americans.
(RT) Israel and Palestine are momentarily at a ceasefire, but the potential reasoning behind the recess could have some real international implications. Israel’s Debka reports that the pause in fighting comes after the US promised to send troops to Sinai. According to Debka, US troops will soon be en route to the Sinai peninsula, Egyptian territory in North Africa that’s framed by the Suez Canal on the West and Israel on the East. In its northeast most point, Sinai is but a stone’s throw from Palestinian-controlled Gaza, and according to Debka, Hamas fighters there have been relying on Iranian arms smugglers to supply them with weaponry by way of Egypt. Debka reports this week that Sinai will soon be occupied by US troops, who were promised by President Barack Obama to Israel’s leaders as a condition that a ceasefire be called. Once deployed, the Americans will intervene with the rumored arms trade orchestrated by Iranians, ideally cutting off supplies for Hamas while at the same time serving as a thorn in the side of Iran. “Once the missile and arms consignments depart Iranian ports or Libyan arms bazaars, Tehran has no direct control of their transit from point to point through Egypt until they reach Sinai and their Gaza destination,” Debka reports. “All the same, a US special forces operation against the Sinai segment of the Iranian smuggling route would count as the first overt American military strike against an Iranian military interest.” The decision to send US troops to Sinai in exchange for a ceasefire was reportedly arranged early Wednesday morning after Pres. Obama made a deal over the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the days prior, Israel was relentless in targeting Gaza, killing more than 100 persons — including civilians — during a renewed assault on Hamas. A ceasefire has since been called after a week of fight, but more military action could soon occur, claims Israel, if the flow of weapons to Gaza is not stopped. Netanyahu has been adamant with his pleas for the United States to strike Iran in an effort to disrupt its nuclear enrichment facilities, a demand which up until now has been brushed aside by Pres. Obama. The White House has up until now insisted on diplomatic measures in order to make an impact on any Iranian output, but Debka’s sources suggest that US troops may now have to intervene in Sinai if any smugglers should attempt to move weapons into Gaza. “By opening the Sinai door to an American troop deployment for Israel’s defense, recognizes that the US force also insures Israel against Cairo revoking or failing to honor the peace treaty Egypt signed with Israel in 1979,” adds Debka. According to their sources, US troops are expected in Egypt early next week. Meanwhile, American forces have all but surrounded Iran and are stationed in countless bases across the Middle East.
Caroline Glick reminds everyone of the “disengagement”, how Ariel Sharon turned to committing sickening acts of anti-demoncratic behavior and how even the alleged supporters of Israel turned against them, leading to the very terrible fix we’re in now:
After both the Oslo process and the withdrawal from Lebanon left Israel strategically and diplomatically weakened, with its politicians, generals and its very existence brought before international tribunals and targeted by diplomatic pogroms, there was no basis for the empty claim that by withdrawing from Gaza, Israel would gain international legitimacy to defend itself.
By leaving Gaza, Israel was saying – as it had in Lebanon – that it had no right to be there. And if it had no right to be there, it had no right to return.
To force this mad initiative through, Sharon had to explicitly disavow the platform he was elected to implement. Sharon won the 2003 elections by pledging never to surrender Gaza.
After he betrayed his voters, Sharon demonized and, when possible, fired everyone in positions of power and influence who opposed him.
He called a referendum of Likud members to vote on his plan, and when his opponents won the vote overwhelmingly, he ignored it. He fired Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya’alon, then IDF chief of General Staff. He fired his cabinet ministers. He castigated as “rebels” his party members who opposed his plan.
Moreover, with the active collusion of the legal system, Sharon violently repressed his political opponents. Young girls were thrown into jail without trial for months for participating in anti-withdrawal demonstrations. Privately chartered buses en route to lawful demonstrations were interdicted by police and prevented from traveling.
Protest organizers were arrested in their homes at 3 a.m. And with the active collusion of the media, all debate on the merits of the withdrawal plan was stifled.
As bad as it was in Israel, the situation in the US was arguably even more devastating. Since Oslo, Israeli opponents of the Left’s strategic insanity were intellectually and politically buoyed by their conservative counterparts in America.
The latter helped legitimize political opposition and enabled the conceptualization and maintenance of alternative policies as viable options.
Despite government repression, some 45 percent of Israel’s Jewish population actively participated in anti-withdrawal protests. In the US, virtually no one supported them. The absence of opposition owed to the fact that in America withdrawal opponents were boycotted, demonized and blacklisted by the American Jewish community and the previously supportive conservative media.
During the years of the fake peace process, conservative US Jewish groups and conservative publications led by Commentary, The Weekly Standard and The Wall Street Journal forcefully opposed it. But when Sharon joined the radical Left by adopting its plan to withdraw from Gaza, these formidable outlets and institutions enthusiastically followed him.
Leading voices like former Jerusalem Post editor and Wall Street Journal editorial board member Bret Stephens, Commentary editors Norman Podhoretz and Neal Kozodoy, commentator Charles Krauthammer and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol not only lined up to support the dangerous planned withdrawal. They barred all voices of opposition from the pages of their publications.
To greater and lesser degrees, their shunning of voices that warned against the Gaza withdrawal continues to this day.
So, too, with the exception of the Zionist Organization of America, every major American Jewish organization supported the withdrawal.
Like the editors of Commentary, the Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal, they barred voices of opposition from speaking to their groups.
All commentators who warned of the strategic calamity that would befall Israel in the aftermath of a withdrawal from Gaza were marginalized and demonized as extremists.
In a notable gesture, this week, Stephens along with Commentary’s Max Boot, acknowledged their error in supporting the withdrawal from Gaza. Their recantations are noteworthy because most of their colleagues who joined them in pushing Israel down the garden path and cheered Sharon’s “democracy” as 8,500 Israelis were thrown out of their homes and off their land in order to free it up for a terrorist takeover, continue to deny that they were wrong to do so.
But Stephens’s and Boot’s belated intellectual integrity on Gaza is not enough to make a difference for Israel today.
Of course not. For now, that these so-called defenders of democracy refused in any way, shape or form to speak out against a disgusting man who committed undemocratic behavior in his last days of living is shameful, and puts their support for democracy under a question mark. How are we really supposed to believe that they even want China to become a democracy if they’re going to even remotely support totalitarian movements like the PLO, which has more or less run their own enclaves with sharia tactics? And supposing Sharon made racist statements against blacks? Would they have suppressed that info as well because this is Sharon who might’ve uttered blasphemy? If they did that, they’d be stooping to dark paganism.
If there’s anybody Stephens, Podhoretz, Boot, Kozodoy, Kristol, Krauthammer and even Jonathan Tobin owe an apology to, it’s the Jews once living in Gaza at whose expense they supported this whole sham, and contradicted their alleged belief in democracy as a result. How can they say they support freedom and then fully throw their weight behind the notion of turning Gaza over to an entity that’s more than 99 percent the opposite of that? I’d say they have a lot of explaining to do, and one could reasonably argue that this is exactly why the GOP failed to win the election this year too. Just how do they expect to be truly successful if they cannot take a clear stand on what they believe in? Glick was absolutely correct to take them to task for their own shameful behavior, which is as disrespectful to Americans as it is to Israelis. They shouldn’t even be working as columnists for major papers if they cannot or will not comprehend the real enemies and are willing to sacrifice their beliefs for the sake of dhimmitude. What they did is exactly what Benjamin Franklin considered abhorrent:
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
That’s exactly what the so-called conservatives supporting the “disengagement” did, and in doing so betrayed even Arabs in Gaza with common sense.
Ken Roth Flip-Flop: HRW Promised ICC Wouldn’t Target Israel, Yet Now Lobbies for It at View from GenevaNovember 6, 2012
Will the International Criminal Court be used as a political weapon against Israel? Should it?
In 2001, when trying to convince Americans to buy into the ICC, Human Rights Watch promised one thing; now it actively lobbies for the opposite.
Today, Human Rights Watch director Ken Roth criticized a New York Times editorial that he says “ignores key effect of Palestine observer state: possibility of joining [the] ICC and deterring both sides’ war crimes.”
This is hardly the first time that Human Rights Watch has justified and supported the Palestinian attempt to use the International Criminal Court in The Hague to pursue politically motivated cases against Israel:
- On September 16, 2009, miraculously within less than 24 hours after Judge Richard Goldstone released his notorious U.N. report accusing Israel of war crimes (which he retracted some 18 months later), Human Rights Watch published a detailed press release that “supported the fact-finding mission’s call for the Security Council to refer the Gaza conflict to the ICC”; argued that the ICC was “the obvious international tribunal for war crimes committed during the Gaza conflict”; and documented all of the possible ways that Israeli political and military leaders could be hauled before the ICC, including “if the ICC prosecutor acts positively on a declaration by the Palestinian National Authority requesting the court’s authority over crimes committed in Gaza.”
- While HRW was sometimes cagey on expressing outright support for the formal ICC request submitted by the PA (or rather the PNA, the Palestinian National Authority, as per HRW) there was no mistaking where they stood: “Human Rights Watch called on the ICC prosecutor to make a prompt legal determination on the Palestinian National Authority request, consistent with the ICC’s mandate to end impunity.” Hard to see how that last bit (emphasis added) could be read as anything but outright support.
- In a September 2010 speech to the UN Human Rights Council, HRW called on the 47-nation body to “urge the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to determine in a prompt manner whether he believes the court has jurisdiction over the Gaza conflict. Such a determination will clarify the avenues of international justice available.” Again, HRW made it clear how they wanted the jurisdiction question to be decided: “the parties to varying degrees have thus far not shown a willingness to conduct investigations up to international standards, so international prosecutions may be required.” Indeed, peace talks “in no way lessen the need for accountability. On the contrary, justice for serious violations should be part of the discussion.”
What is so interesting about all of this is that back in 2001, when Americans were debating whether or not to join and support the ICC, Ken Roth’s Human Rights Watch published “Myths and Facts About the International Criminal Court,” and assured the public that the ICC would never “be used to pursue politically motivated cases against Israel.” This concern was nothing but a “myth,” said Human Rights Watch.
And one of the reasons it wouldn’t happen was because of these “Facts”: “Future actions on Israeli or Palestinian territory will be covered only if the ICC treaty is ratified by Israel or by a broadly recognized Palestinian state.”
And as HRW’s Tom Malinowski assured us all in a Washington Post op-ed, “That will not happen until after a peace agreement, in which case the likelihood of Israeli military action against Palestinians greatly diminishes.”
Fast forward 11 years. HRW’s Ken Roth is now lobbying for the Palestinian bid to become a U.N. state and ICC member before a peace agreement — and indeed while the PA (or PNA, per HRW) has refused to even sit at the negotiating table with Israel. What happened to their “that will not happen” promise?
Muslim leader who speculated on Israeli involvement in 9/11 chosen to speak at OSCE human rights conference | Washington Free BeaconOctober 3, 2012
(Adam Kredo) A Muslim leader who said that Israel should have been added to the”suspect list” for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was recently selected to represent the United States government at a human rights conference sponsored by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
(Salam al-Marayati / mpac.org)
Salam al-Marayati, founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), was chosen by the Obama administration to deliver remarks in Warsaw, Poland—home to one of the largest Jewish ghettos during the Holocaust—during the OSCE’s Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM), a 10-day gathering meant to foster the “promotion of tolerance,” according to the group’s website.
Al-Marayati was selected to participate in the confab by the U.S. delegation, which was led by Ambassador Avis Bohlen, a Georgetown University professor and former Clinton administration official, according to MPAC’s website.
The selection of al-Marayati, who has drawn criticism for defending terrorist acts and blaming Israel for 9/11, raised concerns among some observers, who deemed his presence at the human rights meetings offensive.
“It is inexplicable that a person who blamed Israel for the 9/11 attacks and advocated for terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Hezbollah—which has killed more Americans than any terrorist group in the world except al Qaeda—was chosen to represent the United States,” said Josh Block, a former Clinton administration official who now serves as CEO of The Israel Project, a pro-Israel educational group.
Al-Marayati drew widespread criticism from Jewish leaders and others when he said that the U.S. “should put the state of Israel on the suspect list,” according to the New York Times.
“If we’re going to look at suspects, we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list because I think this diverts attention from what’s happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies,” al-Marayati told a radio host, according to the Times.
Al-Marayati has also defined attacks by the terrorist group Hezbollah as “legitimate resistance,” according to a report by the Investigate Project on Terrorism.
He was invited to participate in the conference as a “public member of the U.S. delegation,” according to MPAC.
“Al-Marayati was invited as a public member of the U.S. delegation to HDIM along with Professor Ethel Brooks of Rutgers University and Nida Gelazis of the Woodrow Wilson Institute,” MPAC said in a statement.
During his remarks before OSCE participants, al-Marayati said that “hate speech that intends to degrade, intimidate, or incite violence against someone based on religion is harmful,” according to a portion of his speech posted on MPAC’s website.
MPAC, the pro-Muslim advocacy group that al-Marayati helped found, has urged that the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas be removed from the list of U.S.-designated terrorist organizations, according to the Investigative Project’s report.
Among other topics, participants in the Warsaw conference discussed “freedom of religion and belief,” according to MPAC’s website.
“Al-Marayati, who has a long history of civic engagement and service to the U.S. and the Muslim community, was the only American Muslim invited to speak at the HDIM,” the statement said. “This honor and privilege of addressing the OSCE could not have been bestowed upon a better person who epitomizes working toward religious freedom and human rights protection.”
The U.S. Embassy in Poland also praised al-Marayati’s presence.
“The United States is proud to have Mr. Salam al-Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Professor Ethel Brooks of Rutgers University, and Ms. Nida Gelazis of the Woodrow Wilson Institute serving as public members in the USG delegation to HDIM,” the embassy said in a statement. “Their expertise will be invaluable in addressing these topics at the meeting.”
One official with a Jewish organization said the embassy’s statement was tone deaf, and demanded the Obama administration explain itself to the Jewish community.
“That he was chosen to address human rights and religious tolerance, and that our embassy in Poland said in a statement that it is ‘proud’ to have him provide his ‘expertise,’ compounds the concern,” said the official, who requested anonymity. “Whoever made this decision owes the American people and the Jewish community an explanation for this error in judgment.”
Also in attendance at the meetings was Ambassador Ian Kelly, the U.S. Representative to the OSCE, as well as Ambassador Michael Kozak, a senior adviser on human rights who is serving as the acting special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.
Stacy Bernard Davis, a senior adviser to the special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal, told the Free Beacon that “while Amb. Kozak is indeed in Warsaw on the delegation, I do not know anything about the individual you named.”
Ambassador Bohlen, the U.S. delegation’s leader, served in the government for nearly 30 years, including in the State Department. She also served as the ambassador to Bulgaria during the Clinton administration.
Bohlen currently serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies.
She did not respond to a request for comment about al-Marayati’s presence on the trip.
This entry was posted in Middle East and tagged Israel, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Salam al-Marayati, September 11. Bookmark the permalink.
Israel, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Salam al-Marayati,