August 26, 2010, - 1:35 pm
**** UPDATE: Thanks to you readers, Z Street’s Paypal Account is back up. Please donate to the Z St. v. IRS suit @ Z Street’s website, linked below. ****
I am proud to personally know Lori Lowenthal Marcus, the smart, Harvard-educated lawyer who heads up Z Street, a pro-Israel, pro-America charity. She is a warrior, whose courage and energy to fight for what’s right knows no bounds.
With her latest battle for justice, it’s simply an outrage that she must fight at all. Thanks to reader Shy Guy, Israeli blogger Batya Medad/Shiloh Musings, and Lori, herself, for the tips on this absurdity in 2010 United States of America–that a charity’s request for tax-exempt status is delayed because it is pro-Israel and “differs” with Barack Obama’s view on the country. It’s incredible. The U.S. has several tax-exempt Muslim charities which raise money for HAMAS, Hezbollah, and Al-Qaeda, including for attacks on American soldiers. Those charities had no problem getting the exemption. But, with Z Street, well, it’s another story, and the group has been forced to file suit. It’s blatant discrimination and a clear double standard.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 25, 2010
IRS SUED FOR DISCRIMINATION
THAT DON’T SHARE ADMINISTRATION’S POSITIONS ON ISRAEL
Z STREET, a pro-Israel non-profit corporation, filed a lawsuit in federal court charging that the IRS violated the organization’s First Amendment rights. The suit was filed after 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.
“Not only is it patently un-American but it is also 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,” said Z STREET president Lori Lowenthal Marcus, a former First Amendment lawyer. “This situation is the same as if the government denied a driver’s license to people because they were Republicans or Democrats. It goes against everything for which our country stands.”
Z STREET filed for tax-exempt status in January of this year and, despite having met all of the requirements for grant of this status, 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.
Z STREET is a Zionist organization that proudly supports Israel’s right to refuse to negotiate with, make concessions to, or appease terrorists. Z STREET’s positions on Israel and, in particular, on the Middle East “peace process” 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 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 today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Read the lawsuit here. It’s interesting: as I noted above, the IRS has granted tax-exempt status to many charities, which don’t share the US view–the official Obama view–on HAMAS, Hezbollah, and Al-Qaeda.
Why is that, and why is Z Street held to a different standard, when it supports America and its ally Israel, not America’s sworn enemies?
If Barack Obama doesn’t want Americans to believe he’s a Muslim, he’s sure doing a heckuva job at convincing them.
**** UPDATE: Several readers and commenters noticed that Z Street’s Paypal donation account isn’t working. Lori Lowenthal Marcus responds:
Unbelievable! Our account status was fine as of a month ago (we spent months sending Paypal the same documentation over and over again) and now, as your reader discovered – the account has been yanked! Any connection to the lawsuit? I don’t know, but it sure smells funny. The only way to donate now is by sending a check snail mail to: Z STREET, P.O. Box 182, Merion Station, PA 19066. And now we REALLY need help! Thanks Debbie and your fans.
Thank YOU, Lori.
**** UPDATE #2: Thanks, readers, for notifying Lori and me. Thanks to you, the Z Street Paypal donation button is back up and running, if you want to donate to the suit against the IRS.
Tags: Barack Obama, Charity, discrimination, First Amendment, IRS, Israel, lawsuit, Lori Lowenthal Marcus, tax exempt status, Z Street