Legal team demands IRS revoke tax exempt status of MSF for supporting Hamas



Israel advocate and New York lawyer David Abrams has filed a petition with the IRS demanding that they revoke the tax-exempt status of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans Frontieres USA) for supporting terror.

His argument is compelling.

Here is the letter sent in, accompanied with lots of documentation, much of it from the MSF website itself:

Dear Sir / Madam:

I am respectfully submitting this memorandum in support of an application on behalf of myself and Mr. Sam Abrams of Rochester, New York, for cancellation of the tax-exempt status of the above-referenced organization. I also enclose a completed IRS Form 13909. As set forth in more detail below, my research indicates that the above-referenced organization provides material support to terrorist organizations in violation of American law.

By way of background, Medecins sans Frontieres USA Inc. ("Doctors without Borders") is an organization which provides medical services in poor and conflict-ridden areas around the world. Although there are numerous organizations which provide similar services, Doctors without Borders is among the most prominent.

As set forth in the attached documents, Doctors without Borders has admitted on its own web sites to collaboration with Hamas in terms of provision of medical services. More specifically, Doctors without Borders admits to “collaboration” with the Palestinian Ministry of Health. See Exhibit A. Since this collaboration took place within Gaza, it necessarily refers to Hamas. See Exhibit B.

Similarly, Doctors without Borders admits on its web site that in 2013, it “started supporting the Ministry of Health on intensive care, by implementing training programmes for medical and paramedical staff.” See Exhibit C. (The "Nasser Hospital" referred to by this statement is located in Gaza.) Indeed, Doctors without Borders admits on its web site that in 2011 in Gaza it implemented a series of assessments in “partnership” with the Ministry of Health in Gaza. See Exhibit D. Another story from the Doctors Without Borders web site indicates that "worked with" the Ministry of Health to provide training at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. See Exhibit E.

A lengthy article from a Doctors Without Borders-affiliated web site, attached hereto as Exhibit F, discusses the transition to Hamas rule in Gaza and how Doctors Without Borders ultimately decided to start collaborating with Hamas. (See page 3). Significantly the same article all but admits that the activities of Doctors Without Borders were in conflict with government policies against supporting terrorism:

The main institutional donors made funding for non-governmental organisations dependent on an undertaking not to enter into contact with Hamas, forcing some NGOs to limit or even suspend their activities. MSF, whose projects were financed from private funds, was not affected by these constraints . . . .

While it may be true that Doctors Without Borders is financed primarily from private funds, the fact is that as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization it in effect receives millions of dollars of subsidies every year from the United States government. In any event, the law is clear that a 501(c)(3) organization must be operated "exclusively" for charitable purposes. This obviously excludes providing material support to terrorist organizations in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 2339B.

Although Doctors Without Borders would no doubt argue that its activities are strictly humanitarian and therefore do not constitute unlawful material support for terrorism, this argument was decisively rejected by the Supreme Court in the case of Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 561 U.S. 1 (2010) which held that even humanitarian assistance to terrorist organizations violates the statute. Although the statute contains exceptions for food and medical supplies, there is no exception for medical training or medical services. This is entirely consistent with the holding of Holder, since by acting as Hamas' health service provider, Doctors Without Borders frees up resources which can be used for Hamas' direct and regular attacks on civilians in both Israel and Gaza.

As noted above, it is axiomatic that a 501(c)(3) organization’s activities must be exclusively for charitable purposes; openly supporting terrorist organizations cannot be reconciled with this requirement. And of course Hamas has been a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization since October 8, 1997.

Accordingly, we respectfully request that the Commissioner investigate Doctors without Borders and revoke its status as a charitable organization.
This is worth watching closely.





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