Evidence mounting that US BDS groups are fronts for terror organizations

This evidence has surfaced in a recent court case in Arizona, where for the first time a U.S. government body has formally acknowledged that the BDS movement aids actors engaged in terror.

In a brief filed by Arizona's Attorney General Mark Brnovich as part of a case before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concerning his state's anti-BDS law, Brnovich noted that the BDS campaign was not only motivated by anti-Semitism, but that it aids Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas, as well as the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the latter of which provides payments and stipends to convicted terrorists or their families.

"That is particularly true as the effect, and often goal, of BDS boycotts is to strengthen the hand of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which pays cash stipends to the families of terrorists, and its governmental coalition partner and terrorist organization, Hamas," said Brnovich.

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan called Brnovich's stance "a significant achievement in the fight against the boycott organizations. … This step strips the mask off the boycott organizations, most of which maintain deep ties with terrorist groups while seeking to enjoy immunity as human-rights groups."

Marc Greendorfer, founder of the Zachor Legal Institute, said the ties between BDS and terror organizations are "extensive."

"The ties are extensive and quite serious," he told JNS. "Some of the BDS groups, like Dream Defenders, send members to the Middle East to meet directly with terror groups like the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine], and there has been testimony before Congress that financial backers of Hamas are also providing support to BDS groups. Further reports to Congress showed that the PLO has a ‘war room' in Europe from which they coordinate and fund BDS groups in the U.S.," he explained.

This, of course, should surprise no one. This is from a fairly lengthy article, but it's worth reading. You might be asking what can be done?

As such, Greendorfer said that his organization has resubmitted its letter to investigate BDS groups to Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and will also urge nominee William Barr to do the same once confirmed.

"We have been able to obtain copious evidence of the ties between BDS and terror, but we don't have the power to actually investigate BDS groups to find how deep the terror ties are," he said. "Only government has that power and we have provided the DOJ with more than enough evidence to start an investigation."

In this related article Leonard Getz and Cliff Rieders explain how the IRS can use its mandate and regulations to investigate and hamper campus anti-Israel activity as much if it is funded by Saudi money.

Educational facilities such as Tufts and all other universities are required to adhere to specific tax-exempt status clauses embedded in the Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) and Treasury Regulations 1.501(c)(3)-1(d)(3). Under the regulation, an organization may be educational even if it advocates a particular position or viewpoint, so long as it presents a sufficiently full and fair exposition of the pertinent facts as to permit an individual or the public to form an independent opinion or conclusion.

In 1986, the IRS developed the “methodology test” to supplement the regulation’s “full and fair exposition” standard -- Revenue Procedure 86-43. The test assists in determining whether the method used by an educational organization to communicate a particular viewpoint or position is educational. Under the test, a method is not educational if it fails to provide a “factual foundation” for the position or viewpoint or “a development from the relevant facts that would materially aid a listener or reader in a learning process.”

The IRS identified four factors that would lead to the conclusion the method of instruction is not educational:

  • a significant portion of the group’s communications consists of the presentation of viewpoints or positions that are unsupported by facts;

  • facts that purport to support the viewpoints or positions are distorted;

  • the group’s presentations make substantial use of inflammatory and disparaging terms and express conclusions based more on strong emotional feelings rather than objective evaluation; and

  • the presentation’s approach is not aimed at developing the audience’s understanding of the subject matter because it does not consider their background or training.

The presence of any one of these factors indicates the organization’s method of communicating its views does not meet the criteria to be “educational” and therefore subject to having their tax-exempt status revoked.

So far, two cases applying the methodology test have gone to court. In Nationalist Movement v. Comm’r, 102 T.C. 558, *4 (April 11, 1994) the Tax Court held for the government, finding that this group did not qualify as educational when its newsletters were filled with inflammatory language and unsupported conclusions. The court also rejected the argument that the methodology test was overly vague. Further, the court did not find the test’s purpose or effect to be the suppression of “disfavored ideas.”

In National Association for the Legal Support of Alternative Schools v. Comm’r, 71 T.C. 118 (1978) the court held that a group that advocated for the use of alternative schools met the “full and fair exposition” test when it (1) made publicly available copies of all the briefs, including those of the opposing parties in relevant legal actions; (2) encouraged those with different viewpoints to submit articles to its newsletter; and (3) provided information on a subject that was useful and beneficial to the public.

A review of several universities’ approach to Israel and Middle East studies indicate a failure to meet the IRS criteria of being an educational facility.

The IRS, of course, due to a number or reasons, some good, some pretty lame, has not acted, even though there has been encouragement to act from some congressional representatives. We must not forget that there is a wealthy, powerful Saudi lobby, and lots of Saudi oil money has been dumped into American universities in order to buy and enforce certain points of view. Money also buys access to congressional power.

To make things worse, there are new congressional representatives who, judging from past actions, seem to support terrorism.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) called for a more lenient sentence for nine Somalian men in Minnesota who were convicted of attempting to join ISIS in November 2016.

Omar, then a Minnesota assemblymember-elect, wrote in a letter to the judge presiding the case, Michael Davis, about “the ramifications of sentencing young men who made a consequential mistake to decades in federal prison.”

“Incarcerating 20-year-old men for 30 or 40 years is essentially a life sentence. Society will have no expectations of the to be 50 or 60-year-old released prisoners; it will view them with distrust and revulsion,” Omar wrote. “Such punitive measures not only lack efficacy, they inevitably create an environment in which extremism can flourish, aligning with the presupposition of terrorist recruitment: ‘Americans do not accept you and continue to trivialize your value. Instead of being a nobody, be a martyr.’”

Omar advocated for “a system of compassion” as a response to “fanaticism.”

“If we truly want to affect change, we should refocus our efforts on inclusion and rehabilitation,” Omar said. “A long-term prison sentence for one who chose violence to combat direct marginalization is a statement that our justice system misunderstands the guilty. A restorative approach to justice assesses the lure of criminality and addresses it.”

Omar added that such violent fanaticism stems from “systematic alienation” resulting from being barred from the instruments needed to induce change.

She is an admitted BDS proponent, and has been caught being less than truthful about some of her political stances. Is she pro-terrorist? I'm sure she would deny it, but I'm also sure she would work to stymie the IRS and any congressional investigation into the ties between BDS and terrorist organizations.