The Fight to Strip Pro-Israel Charities of Tax-Exempt Status

In recent years, T’ruah, a progressive rabbinic advocacy group, has pushed the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of charities that, among many other things, offer aid to Israelis living in Jerusalem and the West Bank. As Morton Klein and Elizabeth Burney report, T’ruah seems to have prompted seven members of Congress’s left-wing “squad” to join their efforts.

In July 2021, seven Democratic congressional members—Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, André Carson, Mark Pocan, Ayanna Pressley, and Betty McCollum—wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen demanding revocation of the tax-exempt status of pro-Israel Jewish charities that provide humanitarian aid if some of it helps Jews in . . . Judea and Samaria, as well as parts of Jerusalem.

The Central Fund of Israel (CFI), named specifically in the letter, focuses overwhelmingly on helping the needy and vulnerable: supporting shelters for battered women, medical research, assistance to the poor, and so forth. As for the representatives’ specific accusations, they rest on very shaky ground:

The letter’s primary claims are that CFI funds a group called Ḥemla; that Ḥemla funnels money to a group called Lehava; and that “every year on Jerusalem Day, Lehava and partners organize the Flag March that “terrorizes Palestinians in East Jerusalem.” CFI has never given a penny to Lehava. During the past six years, the only grant CFI made to Ḥemla was for a mere $650, back in 2017. . . . CFI gave nothing to Ḥemla the year before (2016) or since (2018-2022).

Incidentally, contrary to the rabbis’ ridiculous claim that Jerusalem Flag Marches are violent onslaughts of Lehava activists running through the streets “terrorizing Arabs,” the Jerusalem Flag Marches are primarily peaceful occasions, organized by other groups.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Zionism, Congress, Ilhan Omar, US-Israel relations

 

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy