That may seem an outlandish headline but let me finish: I’ve written here several times about Israel’s most popular Chabad rabbi, Dov Wolpe. The man is one of the most despicable representatives of the rabbinic class I’ve come across. He offers money to IDF soldiers to disobey orders to evacuate settlements. Wolpe’s Israeli organization is SOS-Israel. Akiva Eldar reports in Haaretz that the American Jewish group, Machanaim, funnels money to Wolpe from donors here in the States:
The Task Force to Save the Nation and the Land [aka SOS Israel]…offered every soldier refusing to evacuate a settlement, and the Kfir Brigade soldiers who publicly demonstrated their opposition to evacuation, NIS 1,000 for every day they spend in military prison…
The group receives donations from a U.S. based group that are tax exempt…
Among the rewards it has given was NIS 20,000 to each soldier who lifted a sign of “The Shimshon Battalion does not evict from Homesh” at the Western Wall a month ago, and gave NIS 1,800 to the soldier Tzach Kortz, who shot a terrorist in Kiryat Arba last week.
As Machanaim is a 501c3 group that means that you and I are subsidizing insurrection in the IDF. And that 20,000 shekel payoff to Shimshon Brigade members to unfurl that despicable banner before the Kotel–well, that’s your and my tax dollars at work.
It cannot be that the IRS and federal government intend American Jews and U.S. taxpayers to support policies in direct contravention to both Israeli and U.S. policies concerning the settlements and receive a tax benefit in doing so. Further, I’ve examined Machanaim’s IRS reporting and they don’t even file the required 990 forms, claiming that they are exempt as a “church.” Now, it may be that churches do not have to file (I’m not an expert on non-profit tax law), but I would dispute any claim that this group is a church. If they’re contributing to Wolpe they have to be filing 990s.
If anyone among my readers knows of an attorney who is an expert on non-profit and IRS regulations governing them, I really could use a legal expert to help pursue cases like this. I find that the IRS either does not investigate citizen complaints or doesn’t inform a complainant about the adjudication of a complaint, which leaves you in the dark about whether you have had any success in your efforts.
The inestimable Didi Remez notes that the execrable NGO Monitor is sponsoring a Knesset conference meant to bash Israeli human rights NGOs for their alleged lack of transparency. Prof. Gerald Steinberg is ‘shocked, I say shocked’–because groups like B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence actually do work judged important enough that it is supported by the EU and its member states. This somehow is a grievous violation of Israeli sovereignty in much the same way that the ayatollahs and Putins of the world rail against George Soros and the Open Society Institute because it supports democracy and other such values presumably alien to such countries. Why Steinberg’s rhetoric should so closely resemble that of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Vladimir Putin is a question worth pondering.
At any rate, the Hebrew version of the Haaretz article questions whether NGO Monitor will also be examining the funding of SOS Israel to determine why foreign organizations like Machanaim are supporting it. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right? Apparently not in this case. NGO Monitor actually only cares about poking a stick at progressive Israeli NGOs. Right-wing NGOs are kosher and need no hashgacha (kashrut supervision).