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IRS urged to probe tax-exempt groups supporting anti-Israel protests

Several Republicans signed onto a letter calling for a number of groups to have their tax-exempt statuses investigated over their support for anti-Israel protests.

FIRST ON FOX: Senate Republicans demanded on Thursday evening an investigation into the tax-exempt status of several organizations that have supported various anti-Israel and antisemitic protests at universities across the country. 

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, called on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Danny Werfel in a letter to probe the Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation (AJP), the Tides Foundation and the Westchester Peace Action Committee Foundation (WESPAC) over their support for anti-Israel demonstrations at dozens of universities.

American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a 501(c)(3) that is fiscally sponsored by AJP, denied any “corporate relationship with any student groups. AMP does not direct the activities of any student groups. AMP is not the fiscal sponsor of any student groups.” However, a legal representative for AMP told Fox News Digital that it does “issue small dollar grants, averaging just under $500 apiece, for costs associated with already-planned events that will further AMP’s educational mission.”


“AMP has been scrutinized before and has every confidence that it will once again be able to show that it operates legally, for legal and constitutionally protected purposes, within the United States,” the representative said. 

“AMP also supports the rights of any Americans to exercise their First Amendment protection of freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of association with their peers,” they added. 

Neither the Tides Foundation nor WESPAC provided comment to Fox News Digital. 

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She cited a recently filed lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against AJP and National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP), brought by victims of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by Hamas in Israel. They alleged that AJP is effectively a “propaganda division in the United States” for Hamas and that the group established the NSJP in order “to control hundreds” of chapters at schools all over the U.S.

The letter was also signed by 15 other Republicans, including Senate Republican Whip John Thune, R-S.D., who is running to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as party leader in November. Additional signers were Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Mitt Romney, R-Utah, among others.

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Ernst pointed to the plaintiffs’ claim that AJP and NSJP “were prepared and responded to Hamas’s ‘call for mass mobilization’ by disseminating a manifesto and plan of attack” on Oct. 8, the day following the attack. According to the lawsuit, the manifesto included “materials that appear to have been created before the attack.”

“This basis provides ample grounds for you to initiate your own investigation of these entities’ tax-exempt status,” the letter reads. 

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The Republicans also noted that “you would not be alone in investigating AJP,” citing the fact that Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares last year began investigating whether AJP “used funds raised for impermissible purposes under state law, including [benefiting] or providing support to terrorist organizations.”

Fox News Digital reached out to the IRS and NSJP for comment.

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The letter comes after 2,200 people have been arrested or detained during protests on at least 49 college campuses in 26 different states between April 18 and May 3.

In several cases, anti-Israel protests included illegal activity, including the creation of encampments and the taking over of buildings. Some demonstrations have featured antisemitic language and intimidation as well.

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