Left-Wing Groups and Islamic Organizations Lobby Against Anti-Terrorism Bill

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May 9, 2024

A cohort of left-wing activist groups and Islamic organizations are pressing senators to block a bipartisan proposal to strip tax-exempt status from nonprofits that provide material support to terrorist organizations.

In a letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, over 100 groups, including the pro-Hamas People’s Forum and the political arm of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, say the plan could "inflict economic harm, and legally burden a politically active nonprofit." The signatories urge Senate Finance Committee chairman Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R., Idaho) to block the bill from leaving committee.

Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), who introduced the bill alongside Sen. Angus King (I., Maine), says it is "common sense legislation."

"As tensions rise across the globe, terrorism must be rooted out at its source: money," Cornyn said in a statement last month.

The groups opposed to the legislation allege that it is motivated by "anti-Palestinian bias aimed at stifling voices advocating for Palestinian human rights." The organizations also say that, if enacted, the bill "would significantly undermine our nation’s democratic freedoms and principles."

The pushback comes as many left-wing groups face scrutiny for their roles in illegal protests and potential ties to international terrorist organizations. Earlier this month, Jewish victims of Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attacks sued two anti-Israel campus groups for their role "as collaborators and propagandists for Hamas."

One of the signatories of the letter, American Muslims for Palestine, is a party in that lawsuit. The plaintiffs in the case allege American Muslims for Palestine "knowingly provide continuous, systematic, and substantial assistance to Hamas and its affiliates’ acts of international terrorism."

Other signatories include groups behind the illegal blockading of bridges and occupation of college buildings. The People’s Forum encouraged attendees at an organizational meeting to re-create the violent protests of "the summer of 2020" just hours before demonstrators stormed a Columbia University building.

The People’s Forum receives most of its funding from Neville Singham, an American businessman who lives in China and works closely with the Chinese Communist Party to spread its propaganda worldwide. His wife, Jodie Evans, is the leader of the pro-China, anti-Israel activist group Code Pink

Federal law already states that designated terrorist organizations cannot receive tax-exempt status. Auxiliary or supportive organizations are not covered by that ban.

Rep. David Kustoff (R., Tenn.) introduced a version of the Cornyn-King legislation in the House. Both bills empower the Secretary of the Treasury to determine whether a domestic nonprofit has provided "material support or resources to a terrorist organization."

"Across the world, we are witnessing terrorist groups, fueled by intolerance and financial support, use violence and intimidation against civilians to sow chaos and disrupt the geopolitical order," King said in an April statement. "This bill will ensure that groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda are cut off from critical resources as organizations and individuals looking to support these extremist organizations will no longer receive tax-exempt status."

There is evidence that some international terrorist organizations operate in the United States and use their nonprofit status as a shield. Samidoun, an organization behind dozens of the anti-Israel protests staged since Oct. 7 and a subsidiary of the charity the Alliance for Global Justice, is allegedly a front for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Syria-based terrorist group.

Samidoun is banned from operating in Germany, and its leaders are barred from entering the European Union over their ties to terrorists. Online fundraising platforms PayPal and Stripe kicked Samidoun off their platforms in October amid congressional scrutiny.

As of this writing, Samidoun supporters can mail a tax-deductible donation to their offices in Tucson, Arizona.