It's the same in any lingo

בַּת-בָּבֶל, הַשְּׁדוּדָה: אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיְשַׁלֶּם-לָךְ-- אֶת-גְּמוּלֵךְ, שֶׁגָּמַלְתּ לָנוּ
אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיֹּאחֵז וְנִפֵּץ אֶת-עֹלָלַיִךְ-- אֶל-הַסָּלַע

How can one be compelled to accept slavery? I simply refuse to do the master's bidding. He may torture me, break my bones to atoms and even kill me. He will then have my dead body, not my obedience. Ultimately, therefore, it is I who am the victor and not he, for he has failed in getting me to do what he wanted done. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? If not now, when? ~ Rav Hillel, Pirke Avot

This Red Sea Pedestrian Stands against Judeophobes

This Red Sea Pedestrian Stands against Judeophobes
Wear It With Pride

23 November 2010

The Latest On Z Street vs IRS...

Nearly three months ago I blogged on Z Street's suit against the IRS for delaying their application for 501 (c)(3) status. The IRS agent with whom Z Street made contact admitted that their application had been referred to a special unit within the IRS that handles their "Israel Special Policy," in which Jewish organizations are examined to determine if their views on Israel contradict that of the current White House administration.

The United States responded to the Z Street complaint by filing a motion to dismiss with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The United States is claiming that Z Street failed to cite a statute issued by Congress waiving sovereign immunity, and that their suit should be filed in a tax court designed to give organizations a redress of grievances regarding the 501 applications and other such actions.

Interestingly, after reading the government response from top to bottom, I find no language to indicate that the federal government was denying the charges brought against the IRS, namely that they are engaging in viewpoint discrimination against Jewish organizations that contradict administration policy and that this is an infringement on their First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

The Z Street press release summarizes the mess this way:
The government’s position is that (1) it can violate the Constitution whenever it wants and the only way to stop it is if the government agrees to be stopped, and (2) Z STREET should go to a different court to get something it should already have - tax exempt status - were it not for the constitutional violation the government has inflicted upon it.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus, the founder of Z Street made the following statement regarding the motion to dismiss:
As every American knows, the US government is bound by the Constitution, and it can be hailed into court and ordered to cease unconstitutional action whether it consents or not. This evasive measure simply compounds the unconstitutional process by which our effort to achieve tax-exempt status has been, and is being, reviewed.

"We have provided evidence that another applicant for charitable exemption was asked by the IRS, in writing, in connection with its application, whether it supports the existence of Israel, and what that organization’s religious beliefs are about Israel. The other organization is a Jewish one with a religious focus and has nothing to do with Israel at all. There is something very serious, and very wrong, in the process the IRS is using to allocate tax exempt determinations, and Z STREET is committed to exposing and righting that wrong.”

The IRS picked on the wrong Jew.

As I said when I first blogged on this story, the ramifications of this case are far reaching and effect every American, be they Jewish or not. Still not sure why? Here's a portion of Z Street's Opposition to Dismissal (emphasis mine):
Notwithstanding the clear illegality of the policy at issue in this case, the United States takes the position that the Complaint fails to state a claim. The government’s motion is a compound of two elements: an insistence that the United States cannot be compelled in court to abide by the Constitution unless the government voluntarily declares its willingness to submit, through waiving its sovereign immunity; and a refusal to acknowledge that this case seeks a constitutional decision-making process, and not a tax exemption or a refund of tax improperly collected.
Neither defense can possibly succeed. The law is clear – indeed, the Constitution itself is clear – that the United States government need not consent to have the strictures of the Bill of Rights enforced against it. That’s the whole point of having a Bill of Rights: it applies all the time, and constrains government action all the time, not only when the government wants it to. The cases recognize as much, and indeed no case cited by the government says otherwise – for the simple reason that none of the government’s cases on sovereign immunity involve a claim for injunctive relief to compel a federal official to obey the Constitution.
What we are talking about is not only an abrogation of first amendment speech protections by the federal government, but also their flagrant attempt to undo the right of Americans to petition the government for a redress of grievances (also protected by the first amendment) by falsely hiding behind the cloak of sovereign immunity.

So what's the thrust here? The government believes it can tell you what to think, and thinks that if you don't like it there is nothing you can do about it. How's that hope and change workin' out so far America?

I urge you to closely monitor this case, and will bring updates as they are available. I doubt that the founders of Z Street thought that, in addition to advocating and educating the public about Israel, they would be on the front line in the fight to stop the encroaching tyranny that the current administration represents.

The entire federal motion to dismiss can be read here. Z Street's brilliant response here.

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