IRS Under Pressure To Pull Tax-Exempt Status for Pro-Hamas Groups Fomenting Unrest

Network of groups that encouraged BLM riots now bankrolling anti-Israel violence, Jim Banks says

Rep. Jim Banks speaks to media with Republican Study Committee members. (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)
July 2, 2024

The IRS is under renewed congressional pressure to pull the tax-exempt status for several key U.S.-based nonprofits that are fomenting pro-Hamas protests across the country just years after they played a leading role in the anti-police riots that erupted as part of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement.

Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.) alerted the IRS to "a network of donors, activists and media outlets that had helped organize many of the violent anti-police riots during the summer of 2020, and that, more recently, have organized many of the ongoing anti-Israel protests and encampments on college campuses," according to a letter sent last week and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Banks names the Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ) and the Westchester People’s Action Coalition (WESPAC) as two of the main groups bankrolling a vast network of anti-Israel activists and campus organizations with alleged ties to Palestinian terror groups, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Banks is asking the IRS "to immediately begin an audit of these organizations'' and determine if they should have their tax-exempt status revoked as a result of their "ties to foreign terrorist groups."

The letter is a sign of mounting frustration with the Biden administration’s failure to stem an explosion of anti-Semitic violence across the country that has endangered Jewish students on college campuses and seen pro-Hamas mobs target American Jews in major cities. Groups like AFGJ and WESPAC are providing millions in funding to many of Hamas’s top supporters, including National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) and its parent group, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), both of which are at the heart of the campus anti-Israel movement.

NSJP and AMP are being sued by Israeli terrorism victims for serving "as collaborators and propagandists for Hamas." That lawsuit, the Free Beacon reported in May, names WESPAC as NSJP’s "official ‘fiscal sponsor.’"

Similarly, AFGJ funds "Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, a cutout for the designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)," according to information provided to the IRS by Banks.

Samidoun, Banks notes, "held a ‘Resistance 101’ virtual training at Columbia University in March 2024 and then helped set up an encampment on its campus," which became the site for several violent clashes with Jewish students and university leadership.

Though lawmakers have been raising concerns about these groups for months—with several GOP-controlled House committees probing 20 nonprofits for potential money laundering and terrorism financing violations—the Biden administration will not publicly disclose if these funding networks are being investigated for violating their tax-exempt status.

"This administration is happy to let NGOs break the law, as long as their lawbreaking advances the far-left Biden agenda," Banks told the Free Beacon. "We’ve seen Joe Biden refuse to prosecute violent, anti-police rioters, then partner with the activists facilitating the invasion at our southern border, and now we’re seeing the IRS let anti-Israel fanatics send material support to foreign terrorist groups. It’s shocking."

While the IRS remains mum on the issue, financial portals like PayPal have banned AFGJ from using their services over suspected ties to the PFLP, a designated terror group.

WESPAC has "sponsored far-left anti-Zionist organization Within Our Lifetime," which "openly supports Hamas, PFLP, Hezbollah, and the Houthis, and has organized disruptive protests that shut down the Brooklyn Bridge, in violation of local ordinances," according to Banks’s letter.

WESPAC also "sponsors Grassroots Global Justice, an alliance of over 60 U.S. groups including the Palestinian Youth Movement, which sent a delegation to Cuba in violation of U.S. sanctions," according to Banks. Grassroots Global Justice has additionally "organized anti-Israel protests, including an illegal protest at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in December 2023 resulting in 50 arrests."

Support for violent protests, as well as alleged ties to terror groups, constitutes a clear violation of the IRS’s tax code for nonprofits, Banks says.

The lawmaker is asking the IRS to inform him by the end of the month if it is actively investigating any of the groups mentioned. This includes information about whether these organizations are "meeting the requirements for maintaining their tax-exempt status, including adherence to regulations prohibiting support for terrorist activities and involvement in illegal acts." Banks also wants to know if there is "communication and coordination between the IRS and law enforcement agencies regarding these organizations."

A portion of Banks’s information is based on a recent report by the Heritage Foundation revealing how "the infrastructure of organizations sustaining the anti-Israel protests today is virtually identical to the one that has supported the Black Lives Matter organizations since their birth in the middle 2010s."

"This ecosystem—which consists of activist organizations, fiscal sponsors, donors, and radical media groups—is being tapped by the anti-Israel protesters, but they aim to do much more than destroy Israel," the report says. "Their goal is to dismantle Western democracies, values, and culture, and their primary target is the United States."

Mike Gonzalez, one of the report’s lead authors, said these funding networks are the central force driving anti-Israel and anti-Semitic fervor in America.

"It is frightening that the same revolutionary ecosystem of activists, funders, sponsors, and media outlets that is sustaining the pro-Hamas protesters is the same that has sustained Black Lives Matter since its birth in 2013 and 2014," Gonzalez said. "BLM was able to profoundly change our lives, very much for the worse, by manipulating crises. This time the crisis is Israel's fight for survival."