J Street: The US should end tax deductions for pro-settlement groups

"This is an organization that supported the Iran nuclear deal that threatens Israel’s existence, and which has supported United Nations Security Council action against Israel."

September 11, 2016 21:24
1 minute read.
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A girl holds an Israeli flag on a hilltop near the Maaleh Adumim settlement. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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J Street called on the US Treasury to halt tax deductions to groups that support Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank, saying that it contradicts American foreign policy.

It mentioned specifically right-wing nongovernmental groups, such as Regavim, which monitors illegal Palestinian construction, the Hebron Fund, which works to expand the Jewish community in that city, and The Ir David Foundation (Elad), which supports the construction of new homes for Jews in Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.

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“A sophisticated private network has sprung up in the United States, funded by tax-deductible donations, that has channeled millions of dollars to strengthen the settlements and weaken the Palestinians’ presence in the West Bank,” J Street said in a statement posted on its website.

“Clearly, the United States has not effectively put real weight behind its opposition to Israeli settlements. It must do more to maintain the viability of a two-state solution. At the very least, it should not reward with a tax deduction those funding organizations whose activities could well be illegal, and whose goals and activities are in direct opposition to long-standing, bipartisan US policy,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said.

According to US Internal Revenue Service requirements, tax deductible status can only be given to those organizations whose activities are not illegal or contrary to “established public policy,” J Street said.

Regavim’s international director Josh Hasten said in reponse that his organization’s lawyers had opened an investigation into J-Street to “ascertain who is truly behind J-Street’s subversive anti-Israel positions.”

This is an organization that supported the Iran nuclear deal that threatens Israel’s existence, and which has supported United Nations Security Council action against Israel, Hasten said.

It helped with the publication of the UN’s Goldstone Report on 2009’s Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and supported the “terrorists” on the 2010 Gaza flotilla ship, the MV Mavi Marmara, Hasten said.

“We are proud that this repugnant anti-Israel group is coming after Regavim because it strengthens our image as a bastion of Zionist values,” Hasten said.

 “We call upon our supporters in Israel and around the world to show these anti-Israel bullies that Zionism is alive and well, by increasing their support for Regavim and ensuring that we continue to flourish,” Hasten said.

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