The Jewish Press is reporting that a strongly pro-Israel group was singled out by the IRS for intrusive and inappropriate questions when it applied for tax exempt status.
The organization known as "Z Street" was told that there was a "a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization's activities contradict the Administration's public policies." . . .
While they are at it, the committee might want to ask the IRS whether their list of targets extended beyond political party discrimination. There is evidence the IRS also targeted pro-Israel groups whose positions were potentially inconsistent with the administration's.
For example, in 2010, the passionately pro-Israel organization Z STREET filed a lawsuit against the IRS, claiming it had been told by an IRS agent that because the organization was "connected to Israel," its application for tax-exempt status would receive additional scrutiny. This admission was made in response to a query about the lengthy reveiw of Z STREET's tax exempt status application.
In addition, the IRS agent told a Z STREET representative that the applications of some of those Israel-related organizations have been assigned to "a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization's activities contradict the Administration's public policies."
Z STREET's lawsuit claims the IRS activity constitutes viewpoint discrimination and a violation of its constitutionally protected right of free speech. The organization is seeking, among other things, complete disclosure to the public regarding the origin, development, approval, substance and application of the IRS policy to treat pro-Israel organizations differently than it does other organizations.
And at least one purely religious Jewish organization, one not focused on Israel, was the recipient of bizarre and highly inappropriate questions about Israel. Those questions also came from the same non-profit division of the IRS at issue for inappropriately targeting politically conservative groups. The IRS required that Jewish organization to state "whether [it] supports the existence of the land of Israel," and also demanded the organization "[d]escribe [its] religious belief system toward the land of Israel."
More bizarre behavior that might be expected in a banana republic or Putin's Russia, but the United States of America? What the hell business is it of any government agency - much less the IRS - what the "religious belief system" of an organization might be?
We appear to be scratching the surface on this story. How far through the looking glass does this story reach? Stay tuned.