On Commentary's Contentions blog, John Podhoretz does a wonderful job of demolishing the New York Times's ridiculous front-page attack on charitable tax deductions for groups that help Jews settle in the land of Israel. Mr. Podhoretz takes issue with both "the open and explicit suggestion that tax-deductible dollars should only support policies with which the sitting administration agrees or wishes to foster" and "the notion that tax-exempt dollars belong to the U.S. Treasury and are, in effect, given as a gift by the government to whomever receives them. The general proposition behind it is that any private-sector dollar not confiscated by the government is in essence a gift from the government."
One other assumption of the Times article that Mr. Podhoretz doesn't mention: The Times's reference to "many groups in the United States using tax-exempt donations to help Jews establish permanence in the Israeli-occupied territories — effectively obstructing the creation of a Palestinian state, widely seen as a necessary condition for Middle East peace." By this amazingly candid definition, "peace" or "a Palestinian state" can only come when no Jews live in places where they have lived for thousands of years and which the Bible says God gave them. The "widely seen" construction is a classic of journalistic buck-passing. The reporters and editors don't want to admit it's their opinion or assumption or even to be forced to defend the opinion or assumption, so they describe it as "widely seen."
Again, places that the Times and the State Department (though not American law in the case of Jerusalem) considers "Israeli-occupied territories" include both Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob's tomb in Hebron and the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. Jews have lived near and prayed at these sites for thousands of years. The idea that Jewish "permanence" in these places is what obstructs Middle East peace, or that it depends on a tax deduction issued by the American government, is astonishing. How much more permanent can you get than the Western Wall or the tomb of the patriarchs?