Friday, December 24, 2010

Z Street amends lawsuit


The hawkishly pro-Israel group Z Street, which alleges in a federal lawsuit that it has been discriminated against by the IRS, has added an ironic wrinkle to its claim.

Z Street has maintained that its request for a tax exemption has been delayed due to IRS concerns that the group's activities might conflict with White House policies on Israel. In an amended complaint filed Friday, Z Street said the IRS, using apparently circuitous logic, has sought to justify its actions by noting that "Z Street deals with Israel, and Israel is a country 'with' a heightened risk of terrorism."

Ironically, the complaint continued, "the government claims to be investigating intensively an organization whose charter opposes terrorism, and which is devoted exclusively to speaking in support of a country victimized by terrorism, on the theory that such intensive review is necessary to prevent terrorism, because such an organization might be funding terrorism."

Contacted Monday, Z Street founder Lori Lowenthal Marcus said she found the IRS' rationale to be "bizarre and offensive."

The government declined comment.

In court documents filed last month, Philadelphia-based Z Street introduced evidence reportedly demonstrating that another Jewish organization seeking a tax-exempt status had also been discriminated against by the IRS. That organization was not named.

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