Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Fox News, Tax-Exempt Academic Group's Boycott of Israel Draws Fire:
A venerable American academic group's planned boycott of Israeli educational and cultural institutions over that nation's conflict with Palestinians has prompted a backlash from Jewish groups and at least one critic who plans to challenge the organization's tax exempt status.
The 5,000-member American Studies Association, which bills itself as the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to American culture and history, voted Sunday to boycott Israeli academic institutions. More than 1,200 members voted and 66 percent endorsed the resolution, which was unanimously supported earlier this month by the group's national council. ...
At least one critic told FoxNews.com he’ll be taking his issues with Monday’s announcement to federal officials at the Internal Revenue Service. William Jacobson, a professor of law at Cornell Law School who runs LegalInsurrection.com, said he believes the boycott violates the group’s 501(c)(3) tax exemption status pertaining to its educational classification.
“They can hold any view they want on the Middle East, but now that, as an organization, they have joined a boycott of Israel, they’re now a boycott organization and no longer a charitable one,” Jacobson said. “Our intention is to file a whistleblower claim with the IRS, asking the IRS to look into whether this conduct negates their 501(c)(3) status. I expect that to be done by year-end, if not sooner.”
Jacobson has retained Washington-based attorney Alan Dye to file that challenge, he said. And since the code pertaining those organizations indicates they must be “organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable … or educational purposes,” Jacobson said the case is likely a winning one. To me, this is not a pro-Israel or pro-Palestine issue,” Jacobson told FoxNews.com. “You don’t engage in academic boycott. An academic boycott, particularly by an academic organization, is really self-contradictory.”