||The Brecht Forum: Funneling tax-exempt money to the International Solidarity Movement
This looks like a scheme to transfer 501(c)(3) tax-exempt funds from the Brecht Forum to the non-exempt International Solidarity Movement for illegal purposes.
· "Are you thinking of travelling to Palestine? We provide grants to assist activists in covering the costs. …We also provide information, training and support for those travelling to Palestine. Please contact us so we can assist you in making your trip as safe and effective as possible. One of the organizations we work with in sending people to Palestine is the International Solidarity Movement. For more information about them, visit www.palsolidarity.org."
· It looks like the money comes from the Brecht Forum, which does not report this activity to the IRS— at least not on its 2003 Form 990.
· "DAP raises money to provide small grants to activists with limited means wishing to travel to Palestine to engage in non-violent resistance. A committee of experienced activists reviews all applications and awards grants. ISM-NYC has provided financial assistance to close to 100 activists so far."
· Noting that "non-violent resistance" includes actions like interfering with anti-terrorism security and law enforcement efforts that, if committed in the U.S., would be criminal offenses. This is in direct contravention of IRS Rev Rule 75-384, which says in part, "Violation of constitutionally valid laws is inconsistent with exemption under IRC 501(c)(3).As a matter of trust law, one of the main sources of the general law of charity, planned activities that violate laws are not in furtherance of a charitable purpose." A trust cannot be created for a purpose which is illegal. The purpose is illegal ...if the trust tends to induce the commission of crime or if the accomplishment of the purpose is otherwise against public policy...."
· "Direct Action Palestine (DAP) organizes to support activists in travel to Palestine to join with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), or other direct action-related organizations. The ISM is a Palestinian-led coalition of International and Palestinian activists who take direct action to confront the Israeli occupation."
· "Direct action" means unlawful activities like interfering with security checkpoints and wheat-pasting Israeli tanks.
· "We provide periodic training for activists to give them the tools they will need to participate in direct action in Palestine. Topics covered include: non-violent direct action techniques, cultural considerations, logistical issues related to traveling to Palestine, and more. We strongly urge activists to attend our training prior to traveling. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out when a training is taking place. …ISM-NYC raises money to provide small grants to activists with limited means wishing to travel to Palestine to engage in non-violent resistance.
· In other words, ISM-NYC is saying on its own Web site that it is conspiring to violate the laws of another country, and training activists to commit actions that, if done in the United States, would constitute criminal offenses. The money with which to do this is apparently being funneled through the Brecht Forum.
ISM-NYC is a nonprofit organization, and your contribution is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Our organization is run entirely by volunteers so the funds we raise can all be used to help send activists to Palestine.
To contribute, simply make a check payable to "Brecht Forum" and send it to:
ISM New York City
P.O. Box 6366
Astoria, NY 11106
This says to make the checks payable to the 501(c)(3) tax exempt Brecht Forum but to send them to ISM NYC. Note also that ISM-NYC says it is tax exempt but I can find no evidence of this through Guidestar.org. (I searched for ISM-NYC and "International Solidarity.")
The Brecht Forum, meanwhile, conceals this use of its funds from the IRS (assuming that it is reporting on its 2004 and 2005 Form 990s what it reported in 2003). I see nothing in this statement from the Brecht Forum's 2003 Form 990 about sending activists to the Middle East to engage in so-called "direct action" or anything else of that nature.
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