Wednesday, July 07, 2010

ADC Supplements NY Times Report on Tax-Exempt Funds Aiding Illegal Settlements

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ADC Supplements NY Times Report on Tax-Exempt Funds Aiding Illegal Settlements

Washington, DC | | July 6, 2010 | ADC welcomes the NY Times article, which reemphasizes ADC's on-going campaign in addressing the role American NGO's play in funding illegal Israeli settlements. The article titled, "Tax-Exempt Funds Aid Settlements in West Bank," highlighted the issue of American non-profit organizations (NGO's) funding illegal settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The full article can be read here.

Although the article is fair and balanced, there are more components pertaining to the legality of the issue, which supplement the claims raised by the NY Times. Two key points not mentioned at length in the article are the engagement of the NGO's in discriminatory practices and deceptive fundraising. Research by ADC has uncovered that these NGO's are engaged in discriminatory practices by funding projects and activities which cannot be used by Palestinians. Such discriminatory practices are against American public policy, and NGO's are prohibited from engaging in such activity as described in the US Supreme Court Case of Bob Jones University v. The United States. In the case, the High Court agreed that the IRS can disqualify organizations that act contrary to public policy from receiving tax-exempt status from the federal government. The court upheld the IRS's disqualification of Bob Jones University as a tax-exempt organization, despite its educational mission, because its racially discriminatory practices were found to be contrary to public policy.

Further, many American NGO's are engaging in deceptive fundraising. These organizations solicit donations by claiming they are raising funds for things such as "educational purposes" or "community development" when in reality the funds are used in some cases for the purchase of weapons and paramilitary material. Deceptive fundraising can lead to an organization losing its 501(c)(3) status, as well as possible criminal actions against those perpetrating the fraud.

The article attempts to distinguish between "outposts" and "settlements;" however, it is ADC's position that there is no difference between the two, as both are illegal under international law and amount to a continuous and unjust occupation of the OPT. Any peace agreement must include the immediate freeze and dismantlement of all settlements.

ADC has been engaging with a broad range of coalition partners in addressing the issue of illegal funding of settlements. Over the past year, ADC has filed numerous complaints with the Department of Treasury against organizations believed to be in violation of their 501(c)(3) status.

Prior releases about ADC's work on this matter:
March 2009 release
August 2009 release
January 2010 release

ADC will continue looking into American NGO's funding of illegal settlement activity, and hopes to file more complaints in the very near future.

For more information about the campaign, please contact the ADC Legal Department by calling 202-244-2990 or via e-mail to



NOTE TO EDITORS: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non-profit, non-sectarian and non-partisan, is the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980 by former Senator James Abourezk to protect the civil rights of people of Arab descent in the United States and to promote the cultural heritage of the Arabs. ADC has 38 chapters nationwide, including chapters in every major city in the country, and members in all 50 states.

The ADC Research Institute (ADC-RI), which was founded in 1981, is a Section 501(c)(3) educational organization that sponsors a wide range of programs on behalf of Arab Americans and of importance to all Americans. ADC-RI programs include research studies, seminars, conferences and publications that document and analyze the discrimination faced by Arab Americans in the workplace, schools, media, and governmental agencies and institutions. ADC-RI also celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Arabs.

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