As discussed previously, the IRS not only targeted conservative groups, but also singled out a number of pro-Israel organizations.
White House-allied lobbying groups joined the media criticism by challenged the nonprofits’ tax-exempt status, arguing that they undercut President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies.
Why the special scrutiny for pro-Israel groups? A New York Times article in July 2010 provided a clue: Tax-exempt groups were donating to West Bank settlers, and State Department officials wanted the settlers out. ‘As the American government seeks to end the four-decade Jewish settlement enterprise and foster a Palestinian state in the West Bank,’ the Times wrote, ‘the American Treasury helps sustain the settlements through tax breaks on donations to support them.’
“Did the T-men take their political cues from such stories, or did Administration officials give them orders? Either explanation would be a violation of public trust.”
The chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority raised the issue two days later during a meeting with U.S. Consul General Daniel Rubenstein, according to a State Department cable revealed by Wikileaks.
One pro-Israel targets was HaYovel, which was featured prominently in the New York Times article. Six months after the article was published, the IRS audited the Nashville-based charity, which sends volunteers to work in vineyards across the Green Line.
“We bookend that [New York Times] story. We were the first [group mentioned]. They really kind of focused on us,” said HaYovel’s founder Tommy Waller. “Then six months later we had an audit.”
As mentioned above, the idea to have the IRS target pro-Israel groups appeared to have come to Obama Inc. by way of the terrorist Palestinian Authority.
Let me provide another possible clue, found in the June 16, 2009 minutes of the Palestinian negotiating unit headed by Saeb Erekat–part of the Palestine Papers published by Al Jazeera in 2011.
Erekat wanted to respond to the speech with a letter to the U.S. that would cite the number of individual housing units under construction. Dr. Mohammed Shtayyed made an additional suggestion to Erekat:
“We can’t stop a pregnant lady from having a baby, but look at what we can do. We should look at the 501(c)(3) organizations in the States that make donations to settlers. Let the US administration investigate this.”
So much for the dreaded Israeli lobby. It would appear that the Palestine Lobby is more powerful.