By Lee Kaplan
|Rebuilding Terror Tax-Free
FrontPageMagazine.com | January 30, 2007
At first glance, Rebuilding Alliance may seem like another do-good organization. In the words of its mission statement, it “rebuilds homes” and otherwise helps to “rebuild shattered communities.” What could be more innocent?
Look past the innocuous-sounding description, however, and a more sinister picture emerges. The Rebuilding Alliance is yet another of the myriad groups making up the anti-Israel activist organization known as the International Solidarity Movement. It’s a fair assumption that you won’t find the RBA scrambling to rebuild Israeli homes destroyed by Kassem rockets.
The RBA was allegedly set up as an educational and charitable, tax-exempt nonprofit because of the death of Rachel Corrie, the ISM activist killed by an Israeli army bulldozer. Corrie blocked its path while it was destroying the entrance to a weapons smuggling tunnel. Corrie, who just prior to her death wrote letters home praising the bravery of suicide bombers, has since become a cult hero among the ranks of the anti-Israel Left, which claims that she died while defending the homes of Palestinian civilians. The house she was said to be protecting was not destroyed the day she died because it was not a target. It was demolished almost a year later under other circumstances. Nonetheless, the myth that Corrie was murdered by Israelis is one of the RBA's favorite methods of fundraising across the United States. Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother, is even on the RBA’s Board of Directors.
The RBA’s website reads like a lobbying organization for the Palestinian revolution and urges readers to go after AIPAC, the Israel lobby. Weekly lobbying activities to Congress are always listed as well as fundraising efforts. Like other ISM-linked nonprofits, the RBA has been lying to the IRS on its tax returns to mask its violations of tax codes that prohibit lobbying for specific legislation or candidates and engaging in propaganda. By exploiting its tax-free status, the RBA raises money for the Palestinian “revolution” under the guise of charity, since houses allegedly destroyed by the IDF are usually domiciles used by terrorist cells as bomb factories or are structures built on land owned by Israelis as a form of squatting.
A review of the tax returns of these “pro-Palestinian” groups like the RBA and its website consistently reveals blatant violations of IRS regulations that prohibit excessive lobbying for candidates or legislation, propaganda, or activities that are against US tax laws, violations that should cause the closure of a group like the RBA, if the IRS were on the ball. Below is what The Rebuilding Alliance told the Internal Revenue Service about its activities for July 2003 through June 2004, and July 2004 through June 2005 on its US tax returns. It began by claiming it spent no money on lobbying or legislation in 2004.
On its website the RBA posted specific instructions to stop legislation on House Concurrent Resolution 371, a bill to support Israel’s right to construct a security fence to keep out terrorists and suicide bombers, one of many such “action alerts.” The RBA instructed its members and anyone viewing the website to call and lobby Congress. A promotional campaign by the organization urged:
“We’re encouraging Americans to take in the personal stories of Palestinian families, to invest in their future by helping them rebuild homes and schools, and to defend their rights in court. And when bulldozers are coming, we know we can save those homes and schools when citizens call Congress to intervene. By building this home in Rachel’s name, and then the next, we are building momentum to prevent what Human Rights Watch called ‘the planned destruction of hundreds more homes’ in Gaza.”
According to NGO-Monitor, Human Rights Watch is well known for its anti-Israel bias. The RBA also included another templated letter to be sent to individual congressmen. But of even more importance is the RBA’s direct lobbying for legislation with policymakers through conference phone calls. Congresswomen Barbara Boxer and Anna Eshoo have routinely allowed the RBA to lobby directly by phone conference, on more than one occasion against specific legislation, including voting to oppose Congress’ legislation to stop funding the Palestinian Authority while Hamas is in charge.
In the above call, the RBA even permitted a non-US citizen, a Palestinian named Husam El Nounou, to lobby the Senator during the phone call. The PNGO association to which El Nounou belongs has refused to sign a declaration that any funds received from entities like the RBA won’t be used to fund terrorism. Yet the RBA assists one of the PNGO representatives to lobby Rep. Boxer. RBA is also not registered as an agent of a foreign entity as they should be.
Another troubling feature of the RBA’s tax returns reveals that this nonprofit only “rebuilds homes.” Besides their blatant propaganda and lobbying against Israel, their form 990 notes over $43,542 was given to The Gaza Community Mental Health Center in the Gaza Strip where Nounou works to “build a house,” not his own. What most people don’t realize is that mental health clinics such as that one were set up by, and run for Hamas. Since money is fungible once it gets to the Middle East, it’s difficult to know if any of it makes its way to purchasing weapons to aid the terror war against Israel. In addition, individual Americans are currently under advice from the US government not to do business in the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority. It’s a strange mental health clinic that “builds homes.”
In the end, Rebuilding Alliance is just another way to raise and send money to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority — tax-free. The IRS should take a hard look at this ISM nonprofit entity that not only costs every US taxpayer money, but roils the war in the Middle East indefinitely by working at every turn to strengthen terrorists seeking the Jewish state’s destruction.