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The Daily TIP: Justice Department Announces Settlement with Pro-Israel Group Unfairly Targeted by IRS

Posted by Tip Staff - February 02, 2018

Justice Department Announces Settlement with Pro-Israel Group Unfairly Targeted by IRS
State Department Warns of Damage to Poland’s Ties with U.S., Israel over Holocaust Law
Iranian Authorities Announce 29 Arrests in Hijab Protests
Israeli Company Provides Data Analysis Services to St. Louis Hospital

Justice Department Announces Settlement with Pro-Israel Group Unfairly Targeted by IRS

The Department of Justice announced that it had reached a settlement, including an apology, in a case where a pro-Israel group was unfairly denied its tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in a statement released Thursday.

Z Street, a pro-Israel organization, applied for tax-exempt status in 2009, and was consistently put off by the IRS. Z Street claimed, according to the Justice Department, that the IRS had "applied heightened scrutiny to applications for tax-exempt status received from organizations connected in any way to Israel."

The Justice Department noted that this wasn't an isolated incident but one in "a series of cases brought by groups alleging that their tax-exempt status was delayed by the IRS based on inappropriate criteria, including names and policy positions."

“Tax exemption eligibility should be based on whether an organization’s activities fulfill requirements of the law, not a group’s policy positions or the name chosen to reflect those views,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard Zuckerman said.

In an op-ed published Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, Lori Lowenthal Marcus, who co-founded Z Street along with her husband, wrote that initially they had been told that the exemption was due to terror concerns. But when she investigated, she learned that "within weeks of President Obama’s inauguration, IRS and State Department officials began considering whether they could deny or revoke tax-exempt status for organizations that provided material support to Jews living across the Green Line.”

Z Street was granted its tax exemption in 2016.

State Department Warns of Damage to Poland’s Ties with U.S., Israel over Holocaust Law

The U.S. Department of State on Wednesday urged the Polish government to reconsider legislation that criminalizes references to the complicity of Poles in the Holocaust, a bill that sparked outrage among Israeli and Jewish organizations worldwide, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“The history of the Holocaust is painful and complex. We understand that phrases such as ‘Polish death camps’ are inaccurate, misleading, and hurtful,” said spokesperson Heather Nauert. “We are concerned, however, that if enacted this draft legislation could undermine free speech and academic discourse,” she added.

Nauert observed that “Open debate, scholarship, and education are the best means of countering inaccurate and hurtful speech.” She continued: “We are also concerned about the repercussions this draft legislation, if enacted, could have on Poland’s strategic interests and relationships– including with the United States and Israel. The resulting divisions that may arise among our allies benefit only our rivals.”

The bill recently passed both houses of the Polish parliament. The president must sign the measure for it to become law, which prescribes up to three years in prison for “whoever claims, publicly and contrary to the facts that the Polish Nation is responsible” for Nazi crimes or “grossly diminishes the responsibility of the true perpetrators.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed Israel’s ambassador in Warsaw to protest the legislation with the country’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Separately on Wednesday, a group of prominent Jews and non-Jews of Polish descent, published an open letter condemning the bill.

Iranian Authorities Announce 29 Arrests in Hijab Protests

Iranian authorities have announced 29 arrests as women protesting the forced wearing of head coverings have continued across the country, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported Friday.

According to the RFE/FL the Tasnim News Agency, which is affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), announced the arrests and charged that the women removing their headcoverings were "tricked" into doing so by propaganda broadcast by Iranians living in foreign countries.

The latest flare-up in the hijab protests comes just days after a 31-year-old woman, later identified as Vida Movahed, was released from jail. Movahed, known as the "Girl of Enghelab Street,” stood on a container, removed her hijab and waved it on a stick at the end of January. She was arrested and her whereabouts were unknown for several days.

The punishment for a woman walking in public without her hair covered could be as long as several weeks.

Protests had broken out in Iran in December due to economic conditions and official corruption. At least 22 people were killed by authorities and 1,000 more had been reported arrested.

Israeli Company Provides Data Analysis Services to St. Louis Hospital

Israel-based MDClone, which automatically mines insights for patient care and hospital operations from vast amounts of data, has signed a strategic partnership with the Institute for Informatics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The partnership will introduce a new approach to healthcare data access, privacy, analytics and research.

MDClone’s solution dramatically enhances the utility of data and offers the first solution on the market to eliminate the risk of releasing identifiable patient information when conducting healthcare analysis and research.

The agreement represents the first expansion for MDClone outside of Israel, where in less than two years it has already captured more than 80 percent of the market.

MDClone will install its Healthcare Data Platform at the institute, enabling Washington University clinicians and researchers to extract data and insights in real-time with either original or unidentifiable synthetic data for even the most complex healthcare questions.

“The synthetic data can be analyzed as if it were original data but is 100 percent unidentified, non-human subject data,” said Ziv Ofek, MDClone founder and CEO.

“Our partnership with MDClone allows the Institute for Informatics to pursue the co-development of innovative approaches to clinical data re-use and sharing,” Dr. Philip R.O. Payne, director of the Institute for Informatics, said.

The partnership was facilitated through the GlobalSTL initiative, started in 2014 St. Louis nonprofit organization BioSTL to connect Missouri and the world’s leading innovation hubs, beginning with Israel.

(via Israel21c)

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