ADC Releases Information Detailing Campaign Against Illegal Settlements

By the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) – 20 Oct 2009
www.adc.org/index.php?id=3513

Washington, D.C. | October 20, 2009 | www.adc.org | Today the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) released information detailing the on-going campaign against the funding of illegal settlement development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  Recently, ADC was represented by Legal Advisor Abed Ayoub and Legal Fellow Uri Strauss at the Annual National Lawyers Guild Conference in Seattle, Washington, where the campaign was, for the first time, publicly discussed.

ADC has filed multiple administrative complaints with the US Department of the Treasury, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), requesting investigations into the activities of organizations claiming tax-exempt status under section 501(c)3 of the US Tax Code yet allegedly raising funds for the development of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Among other allegations, the ADC complaints allege that these organizations are using assets and income in direct violation of their addressed purpose, and to support illegal and terrorist activities abroad.

Each year billions of dollars are being funneled through American-based and registered non-profit organizations, also known as 501(c)(3)’s.  Many of these organizations claim to be established for peaceful purposes, however through research conducted by ADC it was discovered that the resources are being used for programs, such as settlement development, that are outside of the organizations’ mission.  For example, some of these organizations are engaging in the purchase of military equipment.  This is a violation of the United States Internal Revenue Tax Code.  Further, activities, such as illegal settlement development, are contrary to public policy and disqualify a nonprofit from tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The ADC Legal Department began drafting and filing the complaints earlier this year (See here).  ADC is working with a number of coalition partners, both nationally and internationally, in conducting this ongoing campaign.  ADC has also drafted a comprehensive memorandum outlining the steps an individual can take in challenging the tax-exempt status of an organization supporting illegal settlement development.

ADC National Executive Director Kareem Shora said, “Israeli settlements in the occupied territories not only constitute violations of international law and the Geneva conventions but they also contravene the stated policies of every US President since the occupation began.  Today, illegal settlements continue to expand unabated. The number of settlers illegally residing in the Occupied West Bank at the beginning of the Oslo Peace Process was 250,000.  Today that number has more than doubled.  The United States should work to enforce its stated policy on illegal settlements and not provide tax incentives for organizations that jeopardize our national interests and peace and security in the Middle East.”

The ADC Legal Department will continue to file complaints against non-profit organizations violating the IRS tax code.  For more information about this campaign please email ADC Legal Advisor Abed Ayoub to aayoub@adc.org.

NOTE TO EDITORS: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is 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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Contact: Abed A. Ayoub, Esq.  aayoub@adc.org

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